The Heart of the Game: The Education of a Minor League Ballplayer

Paul Hemphill, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-81172-7

In 1994, the year major league baseball tried to survive the battle between ""Billionaire owners and millionaire players,"" Hemphill (Too Old to Cry) followed a young second baseman with the minor league Durham Bulls. His subject was Marty Malloy, raised in rural Florida and lucky to have a father who was a high-school coach. Malloy was fortunate to be in the Atlanta Braves farm system, where excellent coaching is provided to athletes who are prospects for the Braves, and he took advantage of that opportunity by working hard at fielding (at which he was already superb) and hitting (at which he was good). Readers follow him through his hitting streaks and his one long slump, as the Bulls win the second half of the split season. Hemphill, himself a former minor leaguer, picked an ideal subject, a young man with drive and heart. (Apr.)