Watching Baseball, Seeing Philosophy

The Great Thinkers at Play on the Diamond

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About the Book

There are uncanny connections between nine baseball greats and the great thinkers of the West. This book offers a very practical application of Western philosophy by examining these icons of American sport and culture. The intensity and single-mindedness of Ted Williams breathes life into Camus’ Sisyphus; Billy Martin’s maniacal competitiveness recalls Niccolò Machiavelli’s take on politics, which he characterized as a zero-sum game; the homespun philosophy of Satchel Paige echoes the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius; and the many facets of Joe DiMaggio’s personality cry out for the resolution that Nietzsche’s doctrine of perspectivism might have given. Also covered are the connections between Joe Torre and Aristotle; Jackie Robinson and Antonio Gramsci; Mickey Mantle and St. Thomas Aquinas; John Franco and William James; and Jose Canseco and Immanuel Kant.

About the Author(s)

Raymond Angelo Belliotti is a distinguished professor and chair of philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he received the chancellor’s award for excellence in teaching. He is also the author of seven other books.

Bibliographic Details

Raymond Angelo Belliotti

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 198
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3303-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0668-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1

FIRST INNING: Ted Williams and Albert Camus      3
SECOND INNING: Billy Martin and Niccolò Machiavelli      18
THIRD INNING: Satchel Paige and Marcus Aurelius      33
FOURTH INNING: Joe DiMaggio and Friedrich Nietzsche      50
FIFTH INNING: Joe Torre and Aristotle      70
SIXTH INNING: Jackie Robinson and Antonio Gramsci      95
SEVENTH INNING: Mickey Mantle and St. Thomas Aquinas      114
EIGHTH INNING: John Franco and William James      135
NINTH INNING: Jose Canseco and Immanuel Kant      149

Chapter Notes      173
Bibliography      179
Index      183

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “the most unexpected and unusual baseball book ever” —Sports Collectors Digest
  • “Belliotti…ably demonstrates his knowledge of both the playing field and the ivory tower”—Journal of Popular Culture
  • “entertaining”—Nine