batter up! 3rd bass man pete nice trades rhymes for runs

By Evan Serpick
December 13, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

Thirteen years after 3rd Bass scored big-league sales with 1989’s Cactus Album and paved the way for whitey-come-latelys like Eminem, Prime Minister Pete Nice has slid into a different realm, moving from 3rd Bass to third base. Nice (a.k.a. Peter Nash), who formed the seminal hip-hop group in 1988 with MC Serch, has given up rap and now lives in Cooperstown, N.Y., where he’s become something of a baseball scholar. He curates the Chadwick Collection, a traveling exhibition of 19th-century baseball memorabilia. He’s also working on two books: a bio of early diamond scribe (and inventor of the batting average) Henry Chadwick, who gave Nash’s collection its name; and a history of the baseball — like, ya know, the actual ball. ”I’ve been interested in 19th-century baseball since I was a kid,” says Nash, 35, probably the only member of the Society for American Baseball Research to have given somebody the gas face. ”There’s a point where you gotta hang up the mike and let the kids run with it.” In non-baseball news, Nash is writing a screenplay called South Brooklyn Casket Company, which he describes as a mix of Dog Day Afternoon, Taxi Driver, and Wild Style. ”There’s a limited number of people who could play the lead,” he says. ”I’m probably getting too old. Maybe Eminem.”