From Backyards to Big Leagues: The Decade Italian Americans Hit the Show

Italian immigrants, knowing only bocce ball and soccer, hated the idea of their sons playing ball.

The following article, written by Mitch Teich, appears on National Public Radio (NPR). 

Sharing the Remarkable Stories of Italian-American Ballplayers

Lawrence Baldassaro had been interviewing baseball players of Italian-American heritage for a while when a realization hit him.  “Here I am,” he recalled thinking, “the grandson of four Italian immigrants, I teach Italian, I love baseball – why don’t I write about Italians in baseball?

“It turned out that virtually nothing had been written about that subject,” Baldassaro says.

He filled that void nicely with his 2011 book, Beyond DiMaggio: Italian Americans in Baseball.  But with dozens of interviews and hundreds of stories at his disposal, Baldassaro – a professor emeritus of Italian at UW-Milwaukee – had only scratched the surface.

His latest book, Baseball Italian Style, presents stories told by baseball players, managers, umpires, and front office executives – in their own words.  The interviews span a remarkably long period in baseball history, starting with Frank Crosetti, who broke into the big leagues on a 1932 New York Yankees team that also included Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

He later played with the most famous of all Italian-American ballplayers, Joe DiMaggio, when DiMaggio broke into the majors in 1936. Continue reading at National Public Radio (NPR). 

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