FEAR STRIKES OUT: THE JIM PIERSALL STORY by
Kirkus Star

FEAR STRIKES OUT: THE JIM PIERSALL STORY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Jim Piersall, whom many people may remember as the Boston Red Sox rookie of the 1952 season who carried on as a cut-up to the amusement of the fans and the aggravation of everyone else, tells his story of what went on up to this time when these fool capers were only the telltale symptoms of the crackup which was to follow. And this account, most of which takes place outside of the ballpark, is important as a reconciliation of mental illness everyday lives while the comeback he made has its incentive-inspiration value for others. A childhood, with a quick-tempered father and a mother who was away in a state hospital for a number of years, made a worried, wound-up youngster of Jim before he reached his teens; constant headaches patterned the pressures of a home with little money, a father who was ambitious for him to play professional baseball, and the battery of fears connected with making out and making good. Graduation from high school brought him many offers- and the Red Sox contract he particularly wanted; his first year with the minors introduced him to Mary, whom he married, and who knew that he was still moving too fast-but could not slow him down. A big season with the minors was followed by a bitter, brooding winter in which he did not work; the decision to use him as a shortstop (he's an outfielder) on the Red Sox only panicked him; and the whole period in which he joined the team from January to August when he was hospitalized-for shock treatment- was blanked out. Coming to, he also came back to accept what had happened and with a helping hand from everyone (columnists, umpires, his teammates) had a sensational year in 1953.... A story which has been written not only to help others in the fight against fear- but also against the stigma of mental illness,- this has sincere and strong human interest values- to which the S.E.P. serialization will attest.

Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.