Perfect Once Removed

Perfect, Once Removed:
When Baseball Was all the World to Me

By Phillip Hoose
Published by Walker Books


“Thank goodness Phillip Hoose didn’t listen to Casey Stengel’s advice to never become a writer. He has written a wonderful story about a marvelous moment from a memorable time in baseball history. It is perfect for all baseball fans, even those who can’t play.”
–Tim Kurkjian, ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight.”


Available in Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, E-Book
Order from Amazon | Indiebound

About the Book
Published on the 50th anniversary of Don Larsen’s stunning perfect game in the 1956 World Series, a wondrous, coming-of-age baseball story.

In the winter of 1956, nine-year-old Phil Hoose moved with his family to Speedway, Indiana, home of the Indianapolis 500. By his own admission “weak and mouthy,” he was the proverbial new kid on the block. Baseball was one ticket to acceptance, but Phil had never played before, and his awkward attempts only made life harder. Until, one day, his parents dropped a bombshell: his cousin, Don Larsen, was a pitcher on the New York Yankees.
Suddenly baseball became his passion; as his cousin helped the Yanks win the pennant, Phil immersed himself in the game, on and off the field. And then, on October 8, 1956, Larsen stunned the world by pitching a perfect game in the World Series—arguably the most unexpected moment in sports history. It also transformed Phil’s life.

In pitch-perfect prose, and with a gift for conveying the fears and dreams of a young boy’s life, Phil Hoose recalls this magical year, when the game of baseball helped him take root in a tough new town. Whether encountering the school bully or a kindly principal, bargaining with his parents, trying to stand in against a fastball, or triumphantly meeting the Yankees in a Chicago hotel, Hoose makes you smile, wince, and applaud.  Published on October 8, 2006, Perfect, Once Removed is a wondrous ode to the glory of baseball and to growing up.

Listen to NPR Weekend Edition “Cousin’s Memoir Recalls Don Larsen’s Impact”
Listen to an Interview & Reading conducted by Curious City

Awards & Accolades
“When I pitched a Perfect Game against the Dodgers in the 1956 World Series, I knew my life had changed. But I had no idea that, back in Indiana, the game had also turned things around for my 9-year-old cousin, Phil. Though Perfect, Once Removed is about the connection between Phil and me, I think what the book really shows is the huge pull that baseball has always had on kids. It’s a wonderful story and I’m glad Phil wrote it.” —Don Larsen

“This endearing memoir is like a large slice of delicious lemon meringue pie delivered at a small town Indiana church supper. I loved it because, like baseball, it is about failure and ultimate redemption.” —Fay Vincent, former Commissioner of Major League Baseball

“[A] charmer of a memoir…Hoose vividly captures not only a Leave It to Beaver world that is gone forever, but also the timeless romance between a boy and baseball And he does so in a sweet but clear-eyed way that never gets overly sentimental.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“Disguised as a nostalgic, coming-of-age baseball memoir, this is a sly, spare meditation on the perils of childhood, the power of celebrity, the vagaries of human kindness, and how even tenuous family bonds can have a surprisingly steely impact.”— Booksense

“There was something special about baseball in the fifties, and Hoose nails it as surely as Larsen mowed down those 27 Dodgers.”
Booklist, Starred review

Perfect, Once Removed is not so much about the magic of that golden afternoon in Yankee Stadium as it is the magic of baseball when the game wraps itself around a boy’s soul.” –Boston Globe

“[Hoose’s] endearingly self-deprecating tone and refusal to trade in clichés gives his story a welcome snap…A well-chiseled memento of one boy’s love of the American pastime.” —Publishers Weekly

“Wonderful…A warm and honest portrait…a gem of a memoir.” —Tallahassee Democrat


4 thoughts on “Perfect Once Removed

  1. Hi Phillip!

    I bought your great book, “The Race to Save the Lord God Bird’ back in 2005. I love your book. I had a similar experience when I was a kid like you. My family moved to Memphis, TN in the summer of 1956. I was 7 years old. My dad got me playing baseball in a church league there, and in a lot of ways it was My saving grace. I started out at third base, and was a fairly good hitter, but wound up pitching. I did pretty well, and threw several one-hitters. I was kind of an awkward kid, socially speaking, and had kind of a hard time, but baseball really gave me some confidence and I lived for that game for several years. It is really great to hear that you went through the same kind of experience and that you are related to the Great Don Larsen. I intend to get a copy of your “Perfect, Once Removed” and read it cover to cover.
    Thanks, Phil! Sure glad I met you down in AR in 2005.

    Bill Thurman

  2. Dear Bill Thurman,

    Thanks so much for your message. Anyone who succeeds at third base and
    throws several one-hitters must have a rocket for a throwing arm. I’m so
    glad you liked the book, and I’ll bet indeed we met in Arkansas.


  3. Hi,

    I logged on to say how much I have enjoyed reading The Race To Save the Lord God Bird. A very compelling book for promoting conservation. I’ve been trying to write a poem about The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker for years. Reading your book helped me with this one.

    Looking forward to reading your other books as well!

    Keep up the great work!

    All the best,

    Fran Lunney
    Cambridge, MA

  4. Pingback: World Series Fever « Phillip Hoose

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