Milwaukee’s Larry Baldassaro is the author and/or editor of a number of great books about baseball history, including "Beyond DiMaggio: Italian Americans in Baseball," "Ted Williams: Reflections on a Splendid Life" and co-editor of "he American Game: Baseball and Ethnicity."
You may also recognize Baldassaro’s name from his work for the Milwaukee Brewers’ Gameday magazine, to which he has contributed since 1990.
Now, he’s got a new one, called "Baseball Italian Style: Great Stories Told by Italian American Major Leaguers from Crosetti to Piazza," published by Skyhorse, and Baldassaro appears at Boswell Books, 2559 N. Downer Ave., at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26 to talk about and sign copies of it.
In his new book, Baldassaro traces Italian-Americans through nine decades of baseball, from the 1930s to today, via first-person accounts. There are stories of managers, coaches, umpires, front office bigwigs and, of course, players like Yogi Berra, Ron Santo, Craig Biggio, Joe Torre and Mike Piazza.
"Baseball Italian Style is a wonderfully written book and a tribute to the great game of baseball," said former commish Bud Selig. "From the legendary Joe D. to Joe Torre to Mike Piazza, it covers the important impact that Italian ballplayers have had on baseball and why the game will always be the National Pastime."
Baldassaro is professor emeritus of Italian and former director of the Honors College at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.