Pete's Baseball Quotes

Descriptions of the Game

Mark Twain
Baseball is the very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive and push and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century. (ho 251)

W.P. Kinsella
It is the same game that Moonlight Graham played in 1905. It is a living part of history, like calico dresses, stone crockery, and threshing crews eating at outdoor tables. It continually reminds us of what was, like an Indian-head penny in a handful of new coins.

Bernard Malamud:
The whole history of baseball has the quality of mythology.

John Cheever
The poet or storyteller who feels that he is competing with a superb double play in the World Series is a lost man. One would not want as a reader a man who did not appreciate the finesse of a double play.

Roger Angell, "Agincourt and After," Five Seasons:
It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look -- I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring -- caring deeply and passionately, really caring -- which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete -- the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball -- seems a small price to pay for such a gift.

8 year-old Jewish boy, quoted in "The Children's God", (Psychology Today Dec. 1985)
I don't know if this is what you're asking. But I feel closest to God, like after I'm rounding second base after I hit a double.

James Thurber
The majority of American males put themselves to sleep by striking out the batting order of the New York Yankees.

Norman Cousins
At a Dodger baseball game in Los Angeles, I asked Will Durant if he was ninety-four or ninety-five. "Ninety-four," he said. "You don't think I'd be doing anything as foolish as this if I were ninety-five, do you?"

Reggie Jackson
When you take a pitch and line it somewhere, it's like you've thought of something and put it with beautiful clarity.

Earl Weaver
You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all.

Bart Giamatti, from "Take Time for Paradise"):
All play aspires to the condition of paradise...through play in all its forms...we hope to achieve a state that our larger Greco-Roman, Judeo- Christian culture has always known was lost. Where it exists, we do not know, although we always have envisioned it as a garden...always as removed, as an enclosed green place...Paradise is an ancient dream...It is a dream of ourselves as better than we are, back to what we were. (sabr90 108)

David Hinckley
The whole reason little boys always bring gloves to baseball games and old boys never do: Because through baseball, they have learned what they can reasonably expect from life. (sr90 90)

Walt Whitman, American poet:
I see great things in baseball. It's our game -- the American game. It will take our people out of doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair those losses, and be a blessing to us. (sb p13)

Mario Cuomo, Governor of NY:
It's a Little Leaguers game that major leaguers play extraordinarily well, a game that excites us throughout adulthood. The crack of the bat and the scent of the horsehide on leather bring back our own memories that have been washed away with the sweat and tears of summers long gone...even as the setting sun pushes the shadows past home plate. (sb p20)

Paul Richards, Orioles manager (1955-61):
Baseball is made up of very few big and dramatic moments, but rather it's a beautifully put together pattern of countless little subtleties that finally add up to the big moment, and you have to be well-versed in the game to truly appreciate them.

Stanley Cohen
Baseball, almost alone among our sports, traffics unashamedly and gloriously in nostalgia, for only baseball understands time and treats it with respect. The history of other sports seems to begin anew with each generation, but baseball, that wondrous myth of twentieth century America, gets passed on like an inheritance.

Dan Shaughnessy:
When you ten, you know more about your team than you ever will know again. (sr90 91)

Carl Sandburg, "Hits and Runs":
I remember the Chillicothe ballplayers grappling the Long Island ball players in a sixteen-inning game ended by darkness.
And the shoulders of the Chillicothe players were a red smoke against the sundown and the shoulders of the Rock Island players were a yellow smoke against the sundown.
And the umpire's voice was hoarse calling balls and strikes and outs and the umpire's throat fought in the dust for a song.

Kenneth Turan:
Baseball endures at least in part because it is a contemplative sport that delights in nuances. Not a brazen game, eager to sell its thrills cheaply, but rather an understated affair that must be courted if its to be loved.

Donald Hall, American poet, in "Fathers Playing Catch with Son,"
I start to walk to the car, slogging through the instant mud. Then Luke runs up. One more thing! If he does make it, sometime, would we please write him for tickets? He sure would be pleased to see us again. And I him, and my father and my son, and my mother's father when the married men played the single men in Wilmot, New Hampshire, and my father's father's father who hit a ball with a stick while he was camped outside of Vicksburg in June of 1863, and maybe my son's son's son for baseball is continuous, like nothing else among American things, an endless game of repeated summers, joining the long generations of all fathers and all sons. (dar p80)

Roger Angell
I felt what I almost always feel when I am watching a ballgame: Just for those two or three hours, there is really no place I would rather be.

Thomas Boswell:
A narrative voice with conviction is often hard to find. But not in baseball. The minors teach two lost American arts: how to chew tobacco and how to tell a story.

Thomas Boswell:
Conversation is the blood of baseball. It flows through the game, an invigorating system of anecdotes. Ballplayers are tale tellers who have polished their malarkey and winnowed their wisdom for years.

John Eskow:
More than any other games, baseball gives its players space -- both physical and emotional -- in which to define themselves.

Jimmy Cannon:
It is the best of all games for me. It frequently escapes from the pattern of sport and assumes the form of a virile ballet. It is purer than any dance because the actions of the players are not governed by music or crowded into a formula by a director. The movement is natural and unrehearsed and controlled only by the unexpected flight of the ball.

Gail Mazur, from "Spring Training in the Grapefruit League":
Baseball holds so much of the past, pulls me back to it each year, to the soothing unclocked unrolling of the innings, to the sound of an announcer through an open car in May, the sweet attenuations of late summer afternoons, my father bringing us Ted Williams's autograph, my brother, his ear to the radio, suffering a late-season loss. The sound of cleats on an asphalt drive, a bat cracking a ball, delirious cheers for the team that's held me in thrall all my life, the raw power of its line-up, the charisma of the Green Wall. Batting averages, home runs, earned run averages, absorbed unwittingly over the seasons, call out ot surprise me in easy conversation with strangers, in a southern city, in a stadium, in spring. (dar p62)

Louis Kaufman, on Moe Berg:
Berg often visited Boston Globe sports columnist Arthur Seigel, whose book-filled apartment as a haven for Boston newspapermen who shared Seigel's insomnia. Seigel onced asked: 'Moe, do I detect second thoughts in you? Was that damn ball game and all the mystery stuff worth it? Wasn't Mr. Chips a better bet?' 'Arthur,' replied Berg, 'I seek no other man's shoes. If I've misdirected my priorities, and I'm confident that this is not so, I've had a pretty fair time in lost country. There are no regrets. I loved every day on the ball field and the gentlemen who played it in my time. Even grandmothers should experience the pure excitement of covering home plate with an ape charging home, cleats flying high.' (mb)

Richard Gilman:
Baseball is a game dominated by vital ghosts; it's a fraternity, like no other we have of the active and the no longer so, the living and the dead.

Ray Miller: those special afternoons in summer when you go to Yankee Stadium at two o'clock in the afternoon for an eight o'clock game. It's so big, so empty and so silent that you can almost hear the sounds that aren't there.

Roger Angell:
Any baseball is beautiful. No other small package comes as close to the ideal design and utility. It is a perfect object for a man's hand. Pick it up and it instantly suggests its purpose; it is meant to be thown a considerable distance -- thrown hard and with precision.

Paul Dickson:
The human hand is made complete by the addition of a baseball.

Phillip Gerstle:
Football may be the "disco beat" of modern sports, but baseball is Chopin or the mystique of Mozart. Every baseball game is new with the pristine beauty of the notes of Beethoven's Ninth.

George Will:
Baseball, like Pericles' Athens (or any other good society), is simultaneously democratic and aristrocratic. Anyone can enjoy it, but the more you apply yourself, the more you enjoy it.

As the ripples in the sand (in the Kyoto garden) organize and formalize the dust which is dust, so the diamonds and rituals of baseball create an elegant, trivial, enchanted grid on which our suffering, shapeless, sinful day leans for the momentary grace of order.

Pete Hamill:
More than anything, it's a game of innocence. Politicians may come and go, but they always get booed at the ballpark.

Bill James:
I didn't care about the statistics in anything else. I didn't, and don't pay attention to statistics on the stock market, the weather, the crime rate, the gross national product, the circulation of magazines, the ebb and flow of literacy among football fans and how many people are going to starve to death before the year 2050 if I don't start adopting them for $3.69 a month, just baseball. Now why is that? It is because baseball statistics, unlike the statistics in any other area, have acquired the powers of language.

Pete's Baseball Quotes