Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Richard Peterson  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1939 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Illinois Connection

Peterson is a professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Peterson is a professor emeritus and former chair of the English Department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is the founding editor of the SIU Press ''Writing Baseba''ll series and the ''Crab Orchard Review''. He is the current editor of the Kent State University Press Writing Sports series. His essays on baseball have appeared in the ''Chicago Tribune'' and the ''Pittsburgh Post-Gazette'', his home town newspaper. He is also the commentator for the "Reading Baseball" series on WSIU-FM and for other baseball features on the NPR Illini Network. His books include ''Extra Innings: Writing on Baseball'' and ''The Pirates Reader''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Extra Innings: WRITING ON BASEBALL (Sport and Society)
ISBN: 0252069609

University of Illinois Press. 2001

Where is the truth about baseball to be found? In nostalgic stories of the timeless bond woven between fathers and sons on the ball field. Or in stinging expos about manipulative owners, abusive coaches, and greedy players. Beginning with a mostly truthful essay about an exhausted university department chair who believes a visit to Cooperstown can save his soul and ending with the story of a delusional university professor who loses his mind because he takes baseball-and baseball writing-too seriously, Extra Innings tackles the question of how writing about baseball has shaped our understanding and misunderstanding of the national pastime. In a series of astute reflections on baseball histories, biographies, personal reminiscences, and fiction, Richard Peterson explores how baseball writers have generated and sometimes challenged the narrative myths of the sport and its players. He looks at the shifting balance of romance and fact in standard baseball histories, from the early (Albert G. Spaulding and Alfred H. Spink) to the more recent (David Quentin Voigt, Charles Alexander, and others). He offers a lively discussion of baseball fiction-from the tall tales of W. P.Kinsella and and the reluctance of baseball fiction to treat race issues realistically. He also surveys baseball's fleeting appearances in the literary canon (for example, a passing mention in The Great Gatsby of the 1919 world series fix) and suggests a top nine reading list for the baseball aficionado. Slicing away the myths and distortions of baseball's bizarre history, Extra Innings travels the course from the sport's rowdy early days to its contentious present. Somewhere between baseball as business and baseball as religion lies the truth of a game that remains, despite its tarnish, regenerative and redemptive.

Pirates Reader (The Library of Pittsburgh Sports History)
ISBN: 0822959704

University of Pittsburgh Press. 2007

Whether winning world championships or falling into last place, fielding teams with Hall of Fame players or trotting out bumbling boys of summer, the Pittsburgh Pirates have thrilled, frustrated, and fascinated generations of fans since 1876.

To date, the Pirates have won five World Series and have a total of thirty-six players and managers in the Hall of Fame-including Honus Wagner, Pie Traynor, Lloyd and Paul Waner, Ralph Kiner, Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente, and Bill Mazeroski.

The Pirates Reader is a tribute to the fans, players, and teams who have forged the franchise's rich history. Richard Peterson has collected the writing of baseball's greatest storytellers and brings to life the players, games, and magical moments for this classic and well-loved team.


Commentator: Reading Baseball Series(WSIU-FM)

Carbondale, Illinois

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)