Don DeLillo’s Pafko at the Wall—A Literary Performance - 92Y, New York

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Don DeLillo’s Pafko at the Wall—A Literary Performance

Billy Crudup, Zachary Levi and Tony Shalhoub
Don DeLillo’s Pafko at the Wall—A Literary Performance

There’s a long drive. It’s gonna be. I believe. The Giants win the pennant. The Giants win the pennant. The Giants win the pennant. The Giants win the pennant.

Billy Crudup, Zachary Levi and Tony Shalhoub present a dramatic reading of Don DeLillo’s classic baseball novella Pafko at the Wall—a transcendent account of one of the iconic events of the twentieth century and a masterpiece of American sportswriting.

This literary performance coincides with the date—October 3, 1951—on which DeLillo set Pafko. It reimagines an unforgettable moment in baseball history—Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ’Round the World”—and reassembles in fiction the larger-than-life characters gathered at the Polo Grounds that day to see the New York Giants beat the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the pennant: Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays down on the field; Frank Sinatra, Toots Shor and Jackie Gleason with J. Edgar Hoover in box seats; and announcer Russ Hodges calling the action in the broadcast booth.

DeLillo collaborated on the stage adaptation and will attend the performance.

“All I wanted to do was write a fictional account of this ballgame,” DeLillo told The New Yorker’s David Remnick. Pafko is “written with a sort of super-omniscience. There are sentences that may begin in one part of the ballpark and end in another. They travel from one person’s mind to another. I did it largely because it was pleasurable. It was baseball itself that provided a kind of freedom.”

Originally published in Harper’s magazine in October 1992, Pafko was published as the opening of DeLillo’s novel Underworld in 1997, then released as a stand-alone novella in 2001—the 50th anniversary of Thomson’s “Shot.”