Perfect Pitch - The National Anthem for the National Pastime

April 10, 2018

To celebrate baseball and sing the national anthem for more than 100 minor league baseball games during a single summer, Joe Price drove more than 25,000 miles through forty states. Accompanied on the zig-zagging, cross-continental trek in an RV by his wife who had not been a baseball fan, he often shared games and baseball stories with relatives and friends along the way. Serendipitously in multiple ballparks across the nation, Price met college alumni and former Whittier College residents whom he had not previously known. Throughout the journey he experienced how baseball brings people together.

Grounded in their respective communities, each ballpark reflected specific products, habits, and values associated with its location, and often evoked and formed distinct baseball memories and stories. Some provided high drama with walk-off home runs, others featured bungled plays on the diamond, and a few celebrated outlandish promotions for fans' entertainment, like the antics of BirdZerk in Fort Wayne, the flight of the first human home run in Lowell, and the crooked race by armadillos in Tulsa.

Blending baseball lore, travel narrative, and personal memoir, Perfect Pitch explores America through a lens of minor league baseball as it chronicles Price's anthem adventure. The book includes more than fifty photographs and maps.

"Joe Price is a professor at Whittier College. I launched a professional baseball career from the same Whittier College," says Jim Colborn, professional baseball player, coach, and scout—MLB, Japan, and Australia. "My career spanned through six decades. It took me to at least eighty of the stadiums where Joe sang the national anthem. In fact, I’ve heard him sing the song! Beyond the song, however, are the stories that go with his remarkable odyssey. They are stories I lived in part over my fifty years in major and minor league baseball. They are stories I never wrote about but stories my friends back home are always dying to hear over a round of beers. Perfect Pitch is a timeless piece of history and American culture, and it’s fun to read!"

Passionate about baseball and music, Joseph L. Price has sung the national anthem for games in more than twenty major league stadiums and 100 minor league ballparks. Professor of Religious Studies and cofounder of the Institute for Baseball Studies at Whittier College, he has frequently taught courses on baseball and religion.