The average major league player currently earns more than half a million dollars a season. But, only 25 players make the big team's roster. The 26th Man details the season-long journey of Steve Fireovid of the Triple A Indianapolis Indians, as he deals with the realities and the heartbreak of playing a kid's games well into his thirties.
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A diary of the 1990 minor-league season, written by Fireovid, the minor's winningest pitcher in the 1980's, and edited by Winegardner (Prophet of the Sandlots, 1989; Elvis Presley Boulevard, 1987). Despite a good record, Fireovid has enjoyed only a few brief stints in the majors. As 1990 rolls around, the situation looks worse than ever: He is now 33, ``a fossil in my present environment.'' Much of the diary thus consists of laments over his lot as a minor-league pro rather than major-league prospect. But, in Fireovid's case at least, 13 years in pro ball bring with them impressive maturity and insight. His complaints are gentle, his envy muted by an appreciation of how lucky he is to be playing ball at all. This man loves his sport, and most of the pleasure here comes from his notes on the ups and downs of baseball life on and off the diamond--why no pitcher wants to be on the mound the day his teammates receive their new bat shipment (``they swing their toys at any pitch that comes within an area code of the strike zone'') or what it's like to hump around America on a minor-league budget (travel by bus, hotels without air conditioning, etc.). The season crawls along almost unnoticed; it's the sidebars--offers to coach in the Montreal organization or to play ball in Italy, efforts to keep an aging body fit--that sparkle. At season's end, Fireovid winds up with the second-best ERA in the league (2.63) and a losing record (10-12). What does 1991 portend? Another six months playing a young man's game--and some accolades for that rarity, a baseball book unblemished by egomania. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
This small yet unique book is a diary kept by minor league ballplayer Fireovid during what he expected to be his last season. Free of the Bull Durham -esque shenanigans one has come to expect from books of this genre, the book is a testimonial to one man's love/hate relationship with baseball. Written during the spring and summer of 1990, the diary relates the day-to-day activities in Fireovid's life as his career winds down. He writes of his concerns for his "baseball widow" wife, his children, and his own future. Torn between family and career, Fireovid engages in a good deal of philosophical musings on the dichotomy between his passion for the game, and his aversion to its unfairness. This is not the usual list of I-could-have-been-a-contender complaints. His observations are accurate, honest, and rarely self-serving. The humdrum details make this book tedious at times, yet also add to its appeal. Recommended for most sports collections.
- John V. Turner , New York
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Macmillan Pub Co, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0025383817
Book Description Macmillan Pub Co, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0025383817
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800253838141.0