Fielder's Choice

Rick Norman, Author August House Publishers $17.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-87483-172-6
Norman's accomplished first novel is full of historical detail and rich with an understanding of baseball and the game's importance in pre-WW II America--prior to the proliferation of TV sports events, when baseball was truly the national sport and played a bigger role than it does now in tying communities together. We follow ``Gooseball'' Fielder, small-town Arkansas boy, as he makes his way to the major leagues as a pitcher for the 1941 St. Louis Browns. But the rookie pitcher's short career will eventually founder in humiliating failure: he ``chokes,'' balking in the winning run and losing the pennant on the last day of the season. He joins the Air Force as the war begins and, after a failed bombing raid, is imprisoned in a nightmarish Japanese POW camp. Near death, and half a world away from home, he is sustained by his memories of baseball. He's rescued and befriended by a U.S.-trained Japanese officer who recognizes him as a former major leaguer, a development that spurs charges of treason when Fielder returns to the U.S. Reminiscent of Mark Harris's wonderful fictional major leaguer, Henry Wiggen, Gooseball is in his own right an original and engaging addition to baseball literature. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Prebound-Other - 978-0-7857-2706-4
Paperback - 196 pages - 978-0-87483-204-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-12284-9
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