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).