For millions of Americans, hope springs eternal every April when baseball returns! In this craziest of years, fans of the national pastime are gearing up for the first-ever July opening in baseball history. We’re so excited to have baseball back that in this week’s episode our entire team is taking YOU “out to the ballgame” with our special guest, Lawrence Baldassaro, author of “Beyond DiMaggio: Italian Americans in Baseball,” and “Baseball Italian Style: Great Stories Told by Italian American Major Leaguers Crosetti to Piazza.”
Larry shares his knowledge of the sport’s Italian icons, from the playing field to the owner’s box. We also share in an exploration of how baseball serves as the great metaphor for the American experience, and why the first Italian American success stories meant so much to our fast growing community, and taught many newly-arrived immigrants what “Americanism” is all about.
Sharing stories of the sport’s greats, such as Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Mike Piazza, as well as lesser-known but no less important figures like Ed Abbaticchio, who was the first Major League Baseball player and first professional football player of Italian ancestry, Larry showcases the wide spectrum of Italian Americans who helped shape the game into what it is today.
We also talk about baseball in Italy, where it is growing in popularity, and how some Italian American ballplayers might just have a shot at a professional baseball career… in their ancestral Motherland.
Larry also talks about his forthcoming book on Tony Lazzeri, the first Italian-American superstar during the 1920s and 1930s, who was part of the Yankee’s famed “Murderers’ Row” lineup of the late 1920s, along with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Bob Meusel.
With all five of our co-hosts on hand, the bases are truly loaded for this week’s episode! Join us as we explore the Italian American big leagues with Lawrence Baldassaro!