Lawrence Baldassaro, Tony Lazzeri, and Tom Shieber

University of Nebraska Press publishes Tony Lazzeri: Yankees Legend and Baseball Pioneer by author and former Team Italy interpreter Lawrence Baldassaro

Since serving as the official Team Italy interpreter during the 2006 World Baseball Classic, critically-acclaimed author Lawrence Baldassaro has written Beyond DiMaggio: Italian Americans in Baseball, Baseball Italian Style Great Stories Told by Italian American Major Leaguers from Crosetti to Piazza, and most recently Tony Lazzeri: Yankees Legend and Baseball Pioneer. The grandson of Italian immigrants, Lawrence Baldassaro grew up in Chicopee, Massachusetts, where he played high school, American Legion, and semi-pro baseball. He is a renowned expert on Italian Americans in baseball and has presented his research at the University of Minnesota Immigration History Research Center, the NINE Spring Training Conference, the International Conference on Baseball at Arizona State University, and the annual meetings of the Society for American Baseball Research and the American Italian Historical Association. In fact, Lawrence Baldassaro was an invited speaker at the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Celebration of Italian Americans in Baseball.

Major League Baseball official historian John Thorn offered his thoughts on Lawrence Baldassaro’s new biography Tony Lazzeri: Yankees Legend and Baseball Pioneer. He said, “In real life as in baseball, how one performs in a climactic moment may unfairly obscure a multitude of other feats; Larry Baldassaro’s book reveals its subject to have been not only a wonderful ballplayer but also a great pioneer on behalf of Italian Americans forevermore.” Author Lawrence Baldassaro shed light on his subject and said, "Before there was Joe DiMaggio, there was Tony Lazzeri. A decade before the Yankee Clipper began his legendary career in 1936, Lazzeri paved the way for the man who would become the patron saint of Italian American fans and players. He did so by forging his own Hall of Fame career as a key member of the Yankees’ legendary Murderers’ Row lineup between 1926 and 1937, in the process becoming the first major baseball star of Italian descent."

The record-setting achievements by Tony Lazzeri as the power-hitting second baseman for Yankees teams that won five World Series were ultimately overshadowed by those of his iconic teammates Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio. But his contemporaries, both in the press and on the field, lauded him as one of the greatest, smartest, and most respected players of his era. Join author Lawrence Baldassaro along with Tom Shieber, Senior Curator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, for the Boswell Book Company-sponsored virtual book launch on April 15, 2021 at 8 pm (ET). Register for the free online event by clicking HERE. To receive a 20% discount off a copy of Tony Lazzeri: Yankees Legend and Baseball Pioneer , click HERE. Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti

Former Team Italy interpreter Lawrence Baldassaro receives Ernest Spaights Award from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee