TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME: Baseball Fiction at Waterford Township Library

The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. -- Robert Coover   1 Fiction Coover
Baseball in this story is all fantasy. J. Henry Waugh retreats into a fantasy world of baseball as an escape from his real life as an accountant. In reality he does not even like watching baseball, but he does like the game's statistics and symmetry. This book tells the history of the 56 seasons of Waugh's Universal Baseball Association complete with detailed player histories on and off the field. The novel itself frequently blurs the line between fantasy and reality. The baseball players and other characters that are created in the game are written as three-dimensional characters. When the action shifts to the real world of the accounting firm, the characters seem flat and lifeless. As Waugh becomes more immersed in his imaginary game the play takes a decidedly darker turn

 

Underworld -- Don DeLillo    1 Fiction Delillo
This is a vast, masterpiece of a novel that spans five decades and chronicles the American experience, all of which is started by a baseball from the final game of the Giants-Dodgers pennant race in 1951.

 

Play for a Kingdom -- Thomas Dyja    1 Fiction Dyja
In May of 1864, a Union company from Brooklyn encounters an Alabama company while on picket duty and proceeds to challenge them to a series of baseball games. The games, which continue between skirmishes and over several days, turn serious as betrayals and dishonor become part of the game.

 

 

New York "Yanquis" -- Bill Granger  1 Fiction Granger
Irritated with the demands of his players and the poor performance of his team, New York Yankees owner George Bremenhaven decides to make a deal with Castro and acquire the best from the Cuban baseball teams. Tensions mount as this team looks very likely to win the pennant playing "the great American game" in this humorous but pointed baseball novel.

 

Snow in August -- Pete Hamill    1 Fiction Hamill
While not necessarily a "baseball novel," baseball does play a major role in advancing the story and developing the characters of this novel. This is the story of a remarkable friendship between eleven-year-old Michael Devlin and Rabbi Judah Hirsch. In their working class Brooklyn neighborhood these two unlikely friends are both outsiders. They are both threatened by the neighborhood, but for Michael and Rabbi Hirsch baseball provides a common bond. Michael helps Rabbi Hirsch learn English by using baseball terms and metaphors. They closely follow the career of Jackie Robinson, who, as the first Black player in the majors, symbolizes for them the possibilities of America. Hamill is a sportswriter and the scenes at the ballpark resonate

 

 

Bang the Drum Slowly -- Mark Harris   1 Fiction Harris
In this novel, Henry Wiggen is the star pitcher for the New York Mammoths. His roommate Bruce Pearson is a third string catcher. Henry is a talented player, charming, bright, and well liked by his teammates. Bruce is not very bright and tries too hard to belong. Bruce also has a secret. He is dying from Hodgkin's Disease. He asks Henry to keep the illness a secret. The characters' lack of sophistication is engaging, and even with the threat of Bruce's death the story manages to be amusing. This is a deceptively simple book that manages to tackle some big issues

 

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon -- Stephen King    2 Fiction King    1 YAPB King
Yes, even Steven King recognizes the heroic role of baseball in this novel of a young girl lost on the Appalachian Trail. Trisha attempts to keep her terror at bay by listening to her favorite team -- the Red Sox -- and following her favorite player -- Tom Gordon -- on her Walkman.

 

Shoeless Joe -- W.P. Kinsella.   1  Fiction – Kinsella     1 YA Fiction Kinsella
This is the novel that became the basis for the film Field of Dreams when Hollywood got their hands on the story. This novel, like The Natural, uses the supernatural and the mythic to tell the story of Ray, a farmer who is trying to keep his land from being taken by a farming conglomerate. Ray loves his family, his land, and baseball. In answer to a mysterious voice, Ray builds a baseball diamond where dreams will really come true. Kinsella also wrote The Iowa Baseball Confederacy

 

 

The Last Days of Summer -- Steve Kluger    1 YA Fiction Kluger
This is the story of an unforgettable friendship between Joey, a nine year old searching for a hero, and Charlie Banks, a rookie sensation with the New York Giants. Set in the 1940's, their story is told through letters, news clippings, notes on matchbooks, report cards, and even a telegram from FDR. Funny, poignant and not to be missed.

 

 

The Natural -- Bernard Malamud    1 YAPB Malamud     1 YA Fiction Malamud
This novel is considered the archetypal baseball story. Here the game provides not only the setting but also the metaphors for a story of individual achievement. Arthurian legends and the Grail quest also are evoked. Roy Hobbs, a player of exceptional ability, and his bat, "Wonderboy " achieve mythic dimensions in the novel. Hobbs comes from the Midwest with "Wonderboy", which was fashioned out of the wood from a lightning struck tree. Years later, after being injured, Roy returns to baseball. He brings the team to an extraordinary season but tragically falters at the end. Much analysis of this book has been written about what Malamud is saying about heroism and the American dream in the modern age

 

 

Hunting a Detroit Tiger -- Troy Soos    1 Mystery Soos
Mickey Rawlings, utility infielder for the Detroit Tigers, thought his most pressing problem was insuring himself a permanent spot on the roster, until he was charged with the murder of a union organizer. Filled with 1920's atmosphere, great characters, baseball lore, and a touch of history, this mystery is part of the Mickey Rawlings Baseball Mysteries series

 

Castro's Curveball -- Tim Wendel  1 Fiction Wendel
 It is a heady time as rumors of revolution are in the air and the legendary Havana nightlife In 1947, Bryan is playing for the Havana Lions in his last ditch attempt to make it to the majors. beckons. But Bryan notices a remarkable pitcher named Fidel and tries to recruit him for the Washington Senators. This is a wonderful book with an ironic dimension as we watch America's favorite pastime played in country that will soon fall to Communism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                       

Summaries courtesy of NoveList                                                  DK                                                                                                                                         4-14-05