The Rookie: The Incredible True Story of a Man Who Never Gave Up on His Dream

Jim Morris, Author, Joel Engel, Joint Author Warner Books $20.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-446-67837-7
Morris had an astounding fastball and seemed destined to pitch for a major league team, yet his career was doomed from the start. He was drafted by the Brewers, but went from their training camp back to the farm system. He developed injuries that prevented him from pitching and practicing. Morris wouldn't let go of his dream of the major leagues, however. He married, had children, and held odd jobs and continued to work at his pitching while his wife supported him. Morris eventually grew tired of the routine, went to night school and became a high school teacher and later a coach. After his formerly abysmal baseball team won the district championship, his fellow coaches and students urged him to give his dream one last chance. More than a decade after his first tryout, Morris was offered a contract by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. This lively autobiography, written with Engel (coauthor of By George, George Foreman's autobiography), will entertain baseball fans and others who yearn to fulfill a childhood ambition. While the writing is polished, Morris's voice remains genuine. He is honest and likable, not least because he recognizes his family's sacrifices for him. While not essential reading for sports fans, this triumphant underdog story is an appealing contrast to those of the players with multimillion-dollar salaries. (Apr. 3) Forecast: With publication around the start of baseball season, an 11-city author tour and radio interviews, this book should get off to a fast start.
Reviewed on: 03/01/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
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