This vivid portrait of Bart Giamatti encompasses his entire eventful life but focuses especially on his years at Yale University (1966-1986) and his brief career as a major league baseball executive (1986-1989). As scholar, teacher, and then university president, Giamatti was an admired and respected figure on campus. He forged his academic career during turbulent decades, and his tenure in baseball was no less contentious, for as commissioner of baseball he oversaw the banishment of Cincinnati's Pete Rose from the game for gambling. The book draws on Giamatti's numerous writings and speeches to illuminate the character and complexities of the man and to understand the values that motivated his leadership.
Bart Giamatti was a cultural conservative and institutional moderate at a time when such values were out of favor and under attack. At Yale, as a baseball executive, and indeed in all things, Giamatti championed the related values of freedom and order. Robert P. Moncreiff places Giamatti in the context of major events at Yale, recounts in detail the legal context in which the Pete Rose affair unfolded, and arrives at a nuanced understanding of this memorable man's life.