Good-bye to baseball--with regrets (and no recriminations). Danielle Gagnon was a teenage Montreal celebrity/model when she...

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HIGH INSIDE: Memoirs of a Baseball Wife

Good-bye to baseball--with regrets (and no recriminations). Danielle Gagnon was a teenage Montreal celebrity/model when she met Expo pitcher Mike Torrez, a big, bashful Clark Kent in polyester and double-knits--for whom, however, her baseball-fan father doused himself with cologne. Just as Mike had pulled himself up from a Mexican neighborhood in Topeka by his pitching arm, Danielle had ""learned early in life that my looks might be the key to something better."" In 1973, they were married; within weeks, Mike was traded to the Baltimore Orioles (""For the first rime since we'd met, he was crying""); and Danielle, who'd just learned to fear Hank Aaron and Willie Stargell at bat, now had to start over--in a new league. It's that identification, with Mike and with baseball, that makes her story worth reading--and that, apart from its lower-keyed feminism, distinguishes it from Bouton and Marshall's self-involved Home Games (above). She talks about the cardinal rules of baseball wife-dom: ""never react"" to abusive fans; respect the superstitions; don't talk to the other wives about--playing errors, salaries, groupies. But, foremost: ""You always came out to cheer."" You attended every home game, followed every road game on radio or TV. Danielle took to the excitement; adjusted to ""living in limbo"" when the team was on the road; only balked a little at Mike's objections to her working. (In Danielle's experience, it was the black wives--and the white wives of black players--who broke the acquiescing, non-competitive mold.) Meanwhile, Mike was traded upward--to Oakland and the Yankees. Jubilantly, she saw him pitch the winning game--""my husband, Mike Torrez""--in the 1977 World Series. But that ""changed everything."" Mike signed with Boston for big money (""Money creates dilemmas"") and, like other Red Sox ""playboys,"" ran around. ""He couldn't have [the best of both worlds] with me."" Candid, likable, unpretentiously insightful.

Pub Date: May 20, 1983

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1983