Crumbs in the Outfield

Poetry - General
300 Pages
Reviewed on 01/04/2021
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kenneth Salzmann for Readers' Favorite

In Crumbs in the Outfield, Roger Frank marries the fleeting moments that make a baseball game with the precise observation that characterizes a centuries-old Japanese poetry form to produce a delightful and insightful collection that is further enriched by the author’s photographs. In some 85 haiku, he illuminates not only the nuances of the game that will speak to baseball fans (as in a haiku sequence on how the pitcher grips the ball to produce curves, fastballs, and knuckleballs) but he also draws on the history and traditions of what’s often called America’s pastime to create universal images in words and pictures that will be meaningful to even those who don’t connect with baseball itself. Anyone who ever played catch with their father in childhood or felt the excitement of going to a big-league game for the first time should find that those poems resonate.

For me, Roger Frank and Crumbs in the Outfield are at their best in those most personal of pieces. In the introduction, Frank tells us he was born into a baseball-loving family (on the day in 1956 when Yankee pitcher Don Larsen threw the first perfect game in World Series history). In Birthdate, he recounts the day: “October five six /Top of ninth; No one to first/By the way…a boy.” The title of the book itself, and of one key haiku, comes from the practice of some youth baseball coaches to put the weakest players—the “crumbs”—in the outfield, where the ball seldom reaches. That was his fate in his first year on the diamond, before he gained some mastery of the sport. Throughout, we see the generations sharing and bonding over the game they love, with powerful images of fathers and sons joined in ways that transcend baseball, often masterfully as in Frank’s cross-generational poem Grandpa; Hospice: “Hey Gramps, Yankees won,/3 to 4 over the O’s;’/ eyes barely flicker.” In a moment like that baseball may be the bridge but human connection is the real story.