cover image She's on First

She's on First

Barbara Gregorich. McGraw-Hill/Contemporary, $15.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-8092-4959-6

Unliberated baseball fans may well be won over by this appealing novel of the first woman in the big leagues; all baseball fans will appreciate Gregorich's sure feel for the game. College World Series shortstop Linda Sunshine is drafted for the double-A farm club of the Chicago Eagles. Big Al Mowerinski, Eagle owner and ex-star player, is determined to get his team out of its perennial fourth place. Sunshine (good bat, great glove) will also sell tickets. She works her way through the minors coping with ""tradition'' (aka prejudice) and separate showers. When Sunshine comes up to ``the bigs,'' she finds out, mainly from a hidebound manager and a nastily spoiled pitching ace, how tough hardball is. The characters aren't very deep, we've read about rookie phenoms before, Big Al's ``secret'' reason for pushing women into baseball is a bit hokey and so is Linda's love interest in a sportswriter. But the baseball scenes are crackerjack, and readers should end up wondering, ``Why not?'' Or, ``Why not before now?'' And ``Linda Sunshine'' isn't any stranger than, say, ``Darryl Strawberry.'' (March)