When Legendary Negro League player Buck O'Neil asked sports columnist Joe Posnanski how he fell in love with baseball, Posnanski had to think about it. From that question was born the idea behind BASEBALL AND JAZZ. Posnanski and the 94 year old O'Neil decided to spend the 2005 baseball season touring the country in hopes of stirring up the love that first drew them to the game. This book is just as much the story of Buck O'Neil as it is the story of baseball. In a time when disillusioned, steroid–shooting, money hungry athletes define the sport, Buck O'Neil stands out as a man that truly played for the love of the game. Posnanski writes about that love and the one thing that O'Neil loved almost as much as baseball: jazz. BASEBALL AND JAZZ is an endearing step back in time to the days when the crack of a bat and the smoky notes of a midnight jam session were the sounds that brought the most joy to a man's heart.
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A senior writer at Sports Illustrated, Joe Posnanski has twice been named the Best Sports Columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work at the Kansas City Star. He is the author of The Good Stuff and The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America, which won the prestigious Casey Award for best baseball book of 2007. His work has also been anthologized in Best American Sports Writing, and he lives with his family in Kansas City, Missouri.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* After spending a few years trying to write a baseball book, sportswriter Posnanski lucked into a story that positively cried out to be told. Buck O'Neil, a Hall of Fame member and Negro League veteran who died last October, was a man who loved the game with a burning passion that never lessened in intensity. During the last year of his life, O'Neil joined Posnanski on a road trip to Kansas City (where Buck played for the Kansas City Monarchs), to New York, and to Minneapolis (for Buck O'Neil Day at the Metronome). Along the way, as O'Neil remembers names and faces from his life on and off the field, we are transported back to a time when baseball was, if not more innocent, at least more like a game and less like a business. There's also an important question lurking behind the anecdotes O'Neil tells and the joie de vivre he embodies: Does baseball today, with its drug abusers and profiteers and self-absorbed celebrities, still have the soul that it did when O'Neil fell in love with the game? For baseball fans, the book is a treasure trove of history, full of names that remind us of an older time--Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks--and stories that make us laugh, even as we wonder if baseball has changed too much ever to feel like it once did. Stirring, moving, and more than a little sad. David Pitt
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