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A Drive into the Gap

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  368 ratings  ·  61 reviews
“A Drive Into the Gap” is a story about baseball. About fathers and sons. It’s about memory and identity, and an insidious illness that can rob a person of both.

It’s also a detective story, an investigation into the improbable journey of a baseball bat from one of the most iconic moments in baseball history to a 12-year-old boy’s bedroom.
ebook, 66 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by Field Notes Brand Books
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  368 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great story that hits the right notes for me. What a special man Clemente was, what a jerk Bonds is, and how devastating Alzheimer's is. A bunch of threads quite skillfully woven together into a solid read. ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Field Notes and a lovely short book on baseball and memory - a great combination. I've never been a Pirates fan [ go Braves! ], but I've always respected Roberto Clemente. The story about memory, about fathers and sons, and a mystery surrounding a bat that hit the 3000th hit, the last hit of Clemente's career is so well constructed. It's short, it's punchy, it's funny, it's melancholy, and regardless of the final truth of which bat was which, it's true. It rings true to emotion, to faith, to lov ...more
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, beautiful book. On a per word basis, best book I have read in years. The baseball storytelling is wonderful, but more than that, the use of language and the thematic development is unsurpassed. Read this book. Then buy four more copies - give two to friends and two to strangers. You have now made two more friends.
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up over two years ago and not knowing anything about the content I read it less than a month after traveling to Pittsburgh and visiting the Clemente Museum - I even met one of the men mentioned in this book. What fun! A really great little meditation on the nature of storytelling and writing and memory, fact vs. fiction, and of course, baseball. Not the most beautiful or near-perfect thing I have ever read, but thoroughly enjoyable. Furthermore, it's the perfect read for an ho ...more
Mark Jensen
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
This little gem is about baseball and the author's attempt to identify "the" bat used by Roberto Clemente to get his 3000th and last hit in the major leagues. The bat was given to the author's father by Clemente, specifically for the Hall of Fame (the elder Mr. Guilfoile being employed by said Hall, and also a former publicity person for the Pittsburgh Pirates). The trouble is, there is another bat out there that a reputable person swears is "the" bat. But the book isn't just about the bat and b ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not so much as book about baseball but an investigation into memories. Why they are important, why they can be selective, and the sadness of losing them. If someone has a different version of events does that mean one person is right and the other wrong? Perhaps each of us might remember a version that highlights what is important to us and the rest are just details that give our stories structure.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love baseball’s rich history and anything about Roberto Clemente just tugs at the heartstrings. Add to that an aging parent with Alzheimer’s and you have beautiful story about baseball and family.
It’s short...I read it in about an if you’re looking for a heartwarming read, check this out. Also, it’s a Field Notes book, which is a fun company that produces awesome notebooks.
Sara Underwood
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just a good read

Reads quick and has many warm points. The author is subtle in his remarks on Alzheimer’s and uses his fathers life story to provide a deeper picture into the disease.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable story about memory and Baseball–Guilfoile and his father sinking into Alzheimer's, the bat Roberto Clemente used for his 3000th hit, reminiscences of Clemente, ball players, pranking, more. Seems like everyone is mentioned with humor, everyone except Barrry Bonds. ...more
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
Short (‘tis the season!) book that has one of my very favorite themes—the way memory and stories can contradict one another but somehow still make sense—the one here is baseball-related (Clemente) and family-related. Two more of my favorites!
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
A good baseball yarn, intercutting contemplations of his father, a founder of the Baseball Hall of Fame now declining into dementia, with the story of Roberto Clemente's 3000th hit and the bat he used. Or was that the bat he used? Fact and memory blur, and it would be a shame to spoil the ending… ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An incredible short story about truth, a baseball bat, a father and son, and Alzheimer's ...more
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully told story, well worth anyone’s time, but especially anyone with even a passing interest in baseball.
Mike Niebrzydowski
Interesting short little read about the bat used for Clemente’s 3000th hit, but really about memories in general, as well as other fun little baseball stories.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A small story but large in quality. I will read anything about Clemente, and this heartwarming tale of his 3000th hit was wonderful.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun and fascinating little memoir.
William C
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun read, very touching story. Baseball and family, memory and loss.
Lexy Reiss
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Wonderful family story with baseball story intertwined to bring a father losing his memory and his sone together. Strongly recommend.
Matt Evans
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book, a short one about the duration of long-term memory, centers on the relationship between the author and his father, a one-time executive at the Baseball Hall of Fame museum, also a late-stage Alzheimer’s patient.

There's a memorable story in chapter 5. It's a throw-away account of a practical joke that Jerry Ruess, who worked for the L.A. Dodgers, once played on Tommy Lasorda, the team’s general manager. Here’s what Ruess did. He took a game ball and wrote a message to Frank Pulli, the
Dave Rothacker
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Halfway through the book and couldn't resist coming here...

I bought this book because I love Field Notes. From what I've listened to and read of Aaron, the founder, I share the same connections to yesterday's land, place and people's propensity to both document stuff in memo books and learn stuff from memo books.

The second reason I got the book is its connection to baseball. The first books I remember reading outside of school were when I was eleven. They were about baseball legends Babe Ruth, T
Paul O'Rear
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book initially because of the Field Notes affiliation. I love Field Notes! But I also purchased it because I was intrigued by the book's description on the Field Notes website.

Guilfoile immediately sucked me in, and kept me spellbound with his masterful weaving of story with story, which in the end are all part of the same story, though in the moment they sometimes don't seem to be even remotely related. Well done, sir!

The book evoked laughter, as well as several out loud respon
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction

I am an absolute sucker for good baseball stories. Kevin Guilfoile's A Drive into the Gap is a great one. It's a short non-fiction piece that connects a mystery about which bat Roberto Clemente used for his 3,000th (and last) hit and Guilfoile's father, who worked for the Pirates but now has Alzheimer's. There is some beautiful writing about baseball mingled with the difficulty of watching a father in decline. A father who no longer always recognizes
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Most if not all of the people who follow me on here are going to mock me for reading a book about fathers, memory, and baseball. But dammit, I love the stories of fathers, memory, and baseball.

It's a very short book - I read it in one plane ride - and it's the basic story of a man trying to reconnect with his father over a particular day and a particular bit of baseball memorabilia. So it's not exactly earth-shaking stuff. But it is pleasant, and it is fun to read. And I found it exactly that.
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: alzheimers
While I know next to nothing about baseball, I really enjoyed reading Kevin's new mini book. It is a love story to the sport and the mythology surrounding sports artifacts, but more importantly to his father, who is suffering from Alzheimer's and can't remember the wonderful Hall of Fame stories Kevin grew up with. ...more
Richard Mulholland
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sport, non-fiction
I feel like I shouldn't have enjoyed the book as much as I did. It was written by an author I don't know, around a player/event* I'd never heard of, in a sport I don't watch. Yet it sucked me right in.

I guess that's the power of good writing.

Fan's of this book should check out the Hockey father/son story; Ice Time.

*And here's the event in question:
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This did such a great job of showing the important of baseball to fans. How it permeates your life. It's about other things, too. Memory and stories. The passage of time. But I think what's going to stick with me is that feeling that sports ARE important to those of us who love them. ...more
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a quick, 1 hour read that will stay with me for a long time. It's ostensibly the story of the bat with which Roberto Clemente notched his 3,000th hit, but it's really a story about the bond between father and son. It's beautiful. ...more
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of baseball, Field Notes, and Kevin Guilfoile's writing ... this little book did not let me down! It was a perfect distraction for the night I'm spending in the ER with my ill husband. I liked how the themes of memory and identity are told through baseball anecdotes. ...more
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
A sweet and engaging little book about stories and memory and baseball. And about the bat Roberto Clemente used to get his 3,000th major league hit. Though undeniably nostalgic, A Drive into the Gap is also clear-eyed and pragmatic, with no wasted words. A delight.
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those stories that glimpses the inner world of baseball, allows a man to reflect on his father, and helps one understand that so often there is much grey, even in the black-and-white world we want. Great book - I highly recommend it.
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Born in Teaneck, New Jersey, Guilfoile was raised in Cooperstown, New York, where his father was an executive at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Guilfoile graduated from The University of Notre Dame in 1990, and worked briefly in media relations for the Houston Astros baseball club. He was a founding partner of the Chicago design firm Coudal Partners, and a creative director at that company fo ...more

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