76. A Day in the Bleachers by Arnold Hano, with illustrations by Mark Ulriksen
A Day in the Bleachers by Arnold Hano is a baseball book. It is about the first game of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians, in which Willie Mays made his legendary over-the-shoulder catch deep in center field, known ever after as “The Catch”. The Giants won in ten innings and went on to win four-straight games and thus the best-of-seven-games series.
Arnold Hano was a thirty-two year-old author and editor in September 1954, when he decided, on the night before the opening game, to try to get into the bleachers. His wife scoffed at his chances. Despite our knowing that Hano did get a ticket, the reader is held in suspense until he has found a seat. And, despite our knowing the results of the game and of its effect on the series, we are held in suspense as to its outcome until the final chapter.
A Day in the Bleachers was written with seeming ease in a few short weeks after the game and was published in 1955 by Thomas Y. Crowell. This account of one of the most famous games in the history of the sport, told from the perspective of a fan in the stands, soon came to be recognized as a classic of the genre. It has been in print almost continuously over the past fifty years. The book is full of humor, wisdom, and information for those who know a little or a lot about ballparks, plays, players, and statistics. It is welcoming to first-time readers and rewarding to re-readers.
This is a baseball book, but more than that it is a marvelous piece of literature, worthy of a fine edition. The Arion Press offers an entirely new presentation of the book, honoring the words typographically, adding graphic devices (line and box scores) that document the course of the contest, and recreating key incidents of the “Day” in paintings by a leading artist of the present. Hano tells his own life story in a self-conducted interview. He has updated the afterword, where he tells us what has happened to the men on the field and how baseball has changed in the intervening fifty-plus years. The publisher Andrew Hoyem, a season ticket-holder at the San Francisco Giants stadium, has written the foreword.
Arnold Hano is one of the most distinguished sports writers of our times. As the author of twenty-six books, including biographies of Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, and Roberto Clemente, and hundreds of articles, Hano followed the careers of the great figures in American baseball.
Over the last decade, San Francisco artist and illustrator Mark Ulriksen has won an enthusiastic following with his images of the American scene. He is the creator of twenty-five witty covers for the New Yorker, where he is a contributing artist.
For the Arion Press edition of A Day in the Bleachers, Mark Ulriksen has created fourteen paintings in egg tempera on board illustrating incidents in the book. All but one were painted in shades of white to blue-grey to black, and that one is in full color. There are eight single pages, four double spreads, one triple spread, and one quadruple spread, which is the crescendo in color of “The Catch.” View gallery of images.
THE BOOK AND PRINT
The book is large octavo in format, 11 by 7-1/2 inches, 172 pages plus fourteen sewn-in leaves of varying widths for the illustrations. The types are Cushing Old Style and Stationers Gothic Bold, printed by letterpress. The paper for the text is Zerkall Book Laid, a German mouldmade paper. The illustrations were printed by offset lithography on Lustro Dull paper. The running heads carry the page numbers and line score of the game, Indians on the left and Giants on the right, updating runs, hits, and errors as the game progresses. The endpapers show the complete box score. The books are hand-sewn with red linen thread (recalling baseball stitching) over linen tapes and bound in blue-grey cloth with an inset reproduction at smaller scale of Seventh-inning stretch on the front cover.
The print of “The Catch” accompanying a portion of the edition is at ninety-five percent of the size of the original painting, the image measuring 13-1/8 by 33-3/4 inches. It has been printed in continuous tone on an Epson 4000 inkjet printer on archival paper measuring 17 by 37-3/8 inches.
THE EDITIONS AND PRICES
The book edition is limited to four hundred numbered copies for sale and twenty-six lettered copies for complimentary distribution. All copies are signed by the author and the artist. The price is $700.
The edition of the print of “The Catch” is limited to forty copies for sale, numbered 1/40 through 40/40, five artist’s proofs numbered AP 1/5 through AP 5/5, and five publisher’s proofs numbered PP 1/5 through PP 5/5. All prints are titled, numbered, and signed by the artist. The price of the print is $500. It can be delivered framed for an additional charge. The print must be purchased with the book, making the combined price $1,200.
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Editions: Book with 14 illustrations, edition limited to four hundred numbered copies for sale, signed by the author and the artist. Price: $700 .
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Extra print of “The Catch”, edition limited to forty copies for sale, titled, numbered, and signed by the artist. Price of extra print with book: $1,200.
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Also Available: Original paintings by Mark Ulriksen are also available. Prices range from $2,000 to $2,500. More information.
In the Media
Let's Be Frank
"Back to the Bleachers", by Chris Epting, West Magazine, Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2006.
"Play Ball", by Pamela Feinsliber, San Francisco Magazine, June 2006.