For Fay Vincent, being Baseball Commissioner meant a chance to see his favorite game from the perch of a field-level seat. Now he offers us the same view in The Last Commissioner, a wonderfully entertaining portrait of the sport he knows better than most.
On one glorious All-Star Game morning, Vincent hosted a private discussion of the game between the heroes of his youth, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. Such moments are rare in life but plentiful in these pages, and Vincent recounts them with warmth and affection. He met and talked baseball with the likes of Yogi Berra, Warren Spahn, and Whitey Ford, and he provides a candid portrait of his predecessor and friend, the late Bart Giamatti. But baseball is also a business, and the ugly disputes and machinations are recalled here with the candor of a commissioner who was more surprised than anyone else that he got the job in the first place. Whether it's the Pete Rose gambling scandal (the evidence against him was over-whelming, says the author) or a Roger Clemens suspension that turned on his use of the word "you, " Fay Vincent had the best seat in the house, and he shares it with readers in the best baseball memoir in many, many seasons.