by Roger Zotti
The author contends that “Baseball is a miniature version of the American culture. The exposure of mass fraud in baseball is simply a small slice of the overall corrupt nature of corporate America.” He continues: “I feel as if I have lost a good friend, baseball, to the spirit of secularism and am writing about it, speaking truth.”
“Baseball Is America” is the first book in a trilogy. Victor’s next is Origins and History: The Good Bad and the Ugly, which will will be followed by Reclaiming the Strike Zone. That book, he says, will “boldly [offer] solutions to changing baseball and laterally America back to where it once belonged… identifying the trade-off between a noble America… and a toxic baseball culture too big to punish or fail.”
Jim Bouton (Ball Four), Howard Bryant (Juicing the Game), Viktor Frankl (Man’s Search for Meaning), Steve Courson (False Glory) and Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life) are authors who have influenced Victor, an outstanding amateur ballplayer years ago. As for Bouton’s book in particular, Victor writes that it caused “outrage and betrayal [from] the baseball community…the good, bad, and the ugly were revealed in print. The players couldn’t handle the truth about themselves being a bunch of party pill-poppers…”
While Joe DiMaggio is Victor’s all-time favorite player, he believes Curt Flood, one-time St. Louis Cardinals Centerfielder, is “the bravest man ever to wear a big league uniform.” Victor tells us that Flood informed then-Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, in a 1969 letter, that he “was not a high-paid slave; he asked Kuhn to allow the American free enterprise system to operate within the baseball structure, thus allowing him to shop his services to the most interested party instead of being shipped to the City of Brotherly Love… at the time very harsh toward blacks.” It took several years for Flood’s words to become reality, but “Free agency would follow in the mid-1970s.”
Though Victor’s Oklahoma State baseball coach, the unforgettable Chet, runs a close second, the book’s most compelling individual is the author’s grandfather, George J. Minges, a man of principle and courage. An ardent Cincinnati Reds fan, he was appalled with the team’s “fix in the  World Series.” From then on the “Reds were a tainted team” – and Mr. Minges protested by making “a conscious choice to never spend a red cent to see [the Reds] in person…”
Yes, some self-editing would’ve streamlined the book, but if you like a writer who isn’t shy about being politically forthright, or timid about expressing his Judeo-Christian beliefs – “I grew up seeing America through the lens of the Catholic Church” – read Baseball Is America. Victor Alexander Baltov Jr. is a knowledgeable, insightful, and forceful writer.
Victor Alexander Baltov, Jr. has hit a homerun with his first book, Baseball Is America: A Child of Baseball (AuthorHouse). An informative, passionate, humorous, and scrupulously researched autobiography, it’s concerned with the good and bad aspects of baseball, along with the sport’s link with religion, history, politics, music, movies (especially “Field of Dreams”), and Victor’s family and friends.