An overwritten but still lively account of Bosco's summer of 1988, spent barnstorming the small cities and towns of the...

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THE BOYS WHO WOULD BE CUBS: A Year in the Heart of Baseball's Minor Leagues

An overwritten but still lively account of Bosco's summer of 1988, spent barnstorming the small cities and towns of the Midwest with the Peoria Chiefs, a Single A team in the Chicago Cubs farm system. As Bosco discovered, the problem that year for Chiefs manager Jim Tracy and his ""mule,"" pitching coach Rick Kranitz, was the same as for minor-league teams always and at all levels: to strike a balance between the desire to win and the more important need to serve as a training ground for the parent major league team. ""In the major leagues,"" Bosco notes, ""they play the game. In the minor leagues they teach the game."" When the Chiefs began the 1988 season with a 1-7 won-lost record, Tracy and Kranitz cussed, drank, spit, and ruminated over the Chiefs' ill fortune even as they watched the team's hottest prospect, 20-year-old star catcher Rick Wilkins, straggle with his attitude and developing talent. As the season progressed, the Chiefs played in places like Appleton and Madison, Wisconsin, and Burlington and Waterloo, Iowa. Through energetic, conversational, often clichÉd language (""It was all enough to make your head spin, your heart break, your eyes pop, and your belly chuckle for joy all the way down to your toes. . .""), Bosco captures the scrappy, on-a-shoestring nature of minor-league life--even if he fails to provide the sort of solid insight that Roger Angell or George Will can into the players' psychology. At season's end, the Chiefs, with decent pitching but little hitting, limped to a .500 finish--about as respectable a record as Bosco achieves here.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 1990

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Morrow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1990