Story

I was born on the day Don Larsen pitched his  no hitter, perfect game in the World Series, one of the most important days in baseball history. Baseball was in my blood and has been my whole life. The first Haiku in the book has some of the details. Baseball was my destiny, I didn’t have a choice.

“Crumbs in the Outfield” is one of the haikus  in this collection. It’s also a funny title for a book  on baseball and I suspect you’re asking why. It was 1969. “The Glory of Their Times” had been published a few years earlier. It was the first time retired ballplayers told and recorded their stories which could be done with a “quasi-portable” tape recorder, invented a few years earlier. 

Baseball and creativity was also inevitable. My Father is a writer and my Mother is an artist. Words and pictures were my bread and butter. I grew up in a “baseball home” and to combine words, pictures and baseball was my “normal”.

When you come from a literary and visual home, you realize stories and pictures are everywhere and baseball was no exception. After that season and following in the tradition of “Glory of Their Times” my father interviewed me about my little league baseball career and my mother took the pictures to match. “Crumbs in the Outfield” was that story.                                                                                                                                       
I’ve loved and have read “baseball writings” my whole life. As a photographer I have taken more than my share of baseball pictures. I’m also blessed to have many “baseball friends” who share my passion and who also can recall as if were yesterday certain moments, plays, statistics which are permanently enshrined in our collective baseball consciousness.

One such friend is unique. A Scotsman by birth, Duncan has never been to a game. We discovered we shared a unique passion for baseball Haikus and when he shared with me a book from his collection, “Baseball Haiku; The Best Haiku Ever Written about the Game”, it quickly went into the “Hall of Fame” of my own baseball library.

In parallel, and quite coincidentally, while reading the book I was introducing a friend of mine to the game who knew nothing about the sport. I found myself using certain phrases with consistency; “game within a game”, “shifting pressures”, “dynamics off the field”, “tradition and history”. I was explaining all those dramas, stories and subplots; all those “crumbs” which make up the total experience of baseball and became fodder for this collection.

One of my favorite quotes on writing is from Gwendolyn Brooks. She said (and I paraphrase): “The best way to write is to keep the distance as short as possible from your heart to the end of the pencil”. Something strange happened after reading the book. Like a line drive exploding from a bat, I began to write baseball Haikus. Or, like a batter in “the zone”, I channeled them.  When a picture helped tell the story better I included it. When it detracted, I let the words take the lead.

Roger Frank

Roger FrankRoger Frank is a baseball haiku writer and photographer. His   photographs are in the permanent collection of The Bibliothèque Nationale de France. He has exhibited at The Delaware Art Museum, Provincetown  Art Museums and Kazakhstan Museum of Art, Pavlodar, Russia. He has been published, reviewed and quoted in The Stamford Social Innovation Review, Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Art News, Modern Photography, American Photographer and Historic Preservation. He was a founding member of “The Art Squad”, now the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts.

He has a BFA, Photography, cum laude, from the University of Delaware and an MBA in Finance and International Business from NYU Stern School of Business. And if you are wondering, he really was born on the day Don Larsen pitched his perfect game.