Some play ball while others turn pages

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

March 27, 1994|By James H. Bready

Eight more days. Then the figures in Orioles uniforms assemble once more on the grass at Camden and Eutaw, amid the loud thousands. Baseball! The quiet thousands have their innings, too, their first look at a new season's new books on baseball. This is to start a wave for "We Played the Game: 65

Players Remember Baseball's Greatest Era, 1947-1964" (Hyperion, $35). In it, a film and TV critic, Danny Peary, sets Gene Antonelli and Gus Zernial (and, in between, 10 former Orioles) to recollecting.

In those years, organized baseball finally moved franchises, the color line finally broke and the World Series was still by daylight. Mr. Peary was too late for some key figures -- but Ralph Kiner, who knew Jackie Robinson in youth, observes that "baseball was his worst sport!"

As for Baltimore, an even 40 years after our return to the American League, here is good-humored testimony from or about Bullet Bob, Fearless Fridley, Don Larsen who couldn't get to sleep nights. . . .

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April 19, the day in 1861 when the mob attacked a Massachusetts infantry unit that was changing trains in Baltimore, is not on most city holiday calendars. The date is, however, appropriate for the publication of Johns Hopkins University Press' new book, "Maryland in the Civil War: A House Divided," by Robert I. Cottom Jr. and Mary Ellen Hayward ($39.95; paperback $24.95).

Its pictures (21 in color) and text follow up on a Maryland Historical Society exhibition. This is a you-are-there account. These fevered anti- and pro-slavery tracts, these sad let

ters from battlefield survivors, these daguerreotyped ancestors, this array of the state's Civil War monuments, Union and Confederate, will jolt many a 1994 Marylander out of here-and-now absorption.

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The American Academy of Arts and Letters, founded in 1898 on the model of the Academie Francaise, is by now divided into three parts: music composers (the smallest), artists and architects, authors -- more than 100 authors, including this month's new Baltimore inductees, poet Josephine Jacobsen and novelist Robert Stone (before he leaves Johns Hopkins University for Yale this fall). The academy's dozen founders (Daniel C. Gilman, president of Hopkins, among them) have since increased into 250 Americans.

The academy has yet to put on data base its membership, so it has no full list of the Marylanders crowned thus far. But they include Basil L. Gildersleeve (1906), Christopher D. Morley (1936), John Barth (1974), Hugo Weisgall (1975), Clyfford Still (1978) and Anne Tyler (1983). Mr. Weisgall, now living in Long Island, was last year's academy president. One nonmember: H. L. Mencken who, on being chosen, said thank you, but no.

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Prize time: Baltimore Writers' Alliance. Entries to Literary Contest, BWA, P.O. Box 410, Riderwood, Md. 21139. Reading fee: $5 per entry for nonmembers of BWA. Categories: fiction (2,500-word limit), nonfiction (2,500 words), poetry (30 lines), drama (one-act limit). Typed, double-spaced, one-inch margin; on entries, Social Security Number identification only (SSN, name, address, phone, entry title in separate, sealed envelope). Prizes, each category: $50, $30, $20. Deadline June 1.

Towson State University, Cooley Prize. Entries to: Cooley Contest, Dean Annette Chappell, TSU, Towson 21204. Book-length fiction, poetry, drama or "imaginative nonfiction." Published since 1990, or due out in 1994. By a current Marylander (three-year residence minimum), age 40 or under. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: May 15.

Maryland Poetry Review. Entries to: Maryland State Poetry anLiterary Society, Drawer H, Baltimore, Md. 21228. Poetry, fiction. Reading fee, $3 per poem, $10 for four poems, $5 per short story. Limits: poetry, none; fiction, 2,000 words. Prizes: $100 in each category, and publication in Maryland Poetry Review.

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Prize awards: Gettysburg College's $50,000 Lincoln prize for 1994 went mostly to Marylanders. The first-place ($40,000) winner: "Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom and the Civil War," edited by Ira Berlin, Steven Miller, Leslie Rowland and two others of the University of Maryland College Park; second place ($10,000), "The Vacant Chair," by Reid Mitchell of the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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Also: Mary Gordon, reading from a work-in-progress, "Reading My Father," Alumni House, Goucher College, at 7:30 p.m. March 30 . . . Annual Civil War and photography sale, Baltimore Book Co., Timonium Holiday Inn, at 6:30 p.m. April 18 . . . Margaret Blanchard, reading from "The Rest of the Deer," 31st Street Bookstore, at 3:30 p.m. today.

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