cover image THE ROAD TO COOPERSTOWN: A Father, Two Sons, and the Journey of a Lifetime

THE ROAD TO COOPERSTOWN: A Father, Two Sons, and the Journey of a Lifetime

Tom Stanton, . . St. Martin's/Dunne, $24.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-312-30350-1

In this heartfelt effort, journalist and author Stanton examines family, fatherhood, life and, of course, baseball while on a road trip that was a lifetime in the making. As a boy, the baseball-obsessed Stanton dreamed of visiting the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.—a dream that was continually deferred while his mother suffered through a series of brain surgeries. Nearly 30 years later, the dream is realized when Stanton (The Final Season) is invited to speak at the Hall of Fame. Sensing the magnitude of the invitation, the 40-year-old author gathers his 81-year-old father and 47-year-old brother, and the three embark upon a sentimental journey to baseball mecca. Unfortunately, Stanton's road to Cooperstown is littered with so many reverential, saccharine moments that it becomes nearly impassable at times. Alongside the voluminous backdrop of baseball history in Cooperstown, from Ty Cobb's diaries to Doubleday Stadium, flows an unending deluge of personal recollections, all tied to key baseball memories. Stanton does succeed in rendering a loving homage to his father for a childhood "empty of horrors," even comparing his father to one of his favorite Detroit Tigers, Mickey Lolich: "dependable, consistent, capable, seldom flashy, successful more often than not." But such touching observations sometimes drown amid the ceaseless baseball-as-life theme. Nevertheless, given the millions of fathers and sons who've bonded over baseball and visit the Baseball Hall of Fame (and its gift shop) every year, this book should find an eager audience. (June)