Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Posnanski, sports columnist for the Kansas City Star, spent a year on the road with the iconic Negro Leagues player and manager Buck O'Neil (1911 2006), recording the magnanimous 94-year-old's encounters with scores of fans and his vast repertoire of entertaining stories. O'Neil, the first African-American to coach in the Major Leagues, was a tireless spokesman for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. Posnanski is at his best when recounting O'Neil's baseball memories of the likes of legends Satchel Paige, Willie Mays and Josh Gibson. The author captures O'Neil's rhythmic voice and often relays it in italicized verse, while painting an uplifting portrait of a man who was without bitterness despite long experience with racial discrimination. Too often, however, Posnanski bogs down in mundane details that read like a travelogue of airports and tardy drivers. Many of the chapters have the feel of lengthy newspaper articles stitched together, lacking segues and narrative. Nevertheless, the final scenes are moving tales of the funeral of 103-year-old Ted 'Double Duty' Radcliffe and O'Neil's dignity when he was infamously passed over by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Posnanski masterfully conveys ONeils charisma and the rhythm of his words...A worthy paean to an American legend.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] loving, lyrical effort by Joe Posnanski. One of the most original and winning baseball books in recent years.” Harvey Frommer
“Imagine, a year spent with Buck ONeil...you dont have to imagine it, its all here.” Bob Costas
“This book is flat-out terrific...If Gandhi had played baseball, he would have been Buck ONeill.” Leigh Montville, author of Big Bam and Ted Williams
“[A] poignant, very funny, and ultimately inspiring book.” Dave Barry
An award-winning sports columnist and a baseball legend tour the country to recapture the joys and wonders of America's greatest pastime.
About the Author
Joe Posnanski has been a sports columnist at the Kansas City Starsince 1996 and is a contributing writer to Sports Illustrated. He has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. His previous book, The Soul of Baseball, was the winner of the prestigious 2007 Casey Award for the best baseball book of the year. He has also won the nation's top honors as a feature writer and project writer, and he has been nominated for awards by the Associated Press Sports Editors nineteen times. In 2004, he became the first sportswriter to be nominated in four separate categories. Posnanski and his wife live in Kansas City, Missouri, with their two daughters.