One season in the life of the most tragic team in baseball, by a novelist (Conduct of the Game 1986) and baseball writer (A Dream Season, with Gary Carter, 1987). What is it about the Boston Red Sox? Have the gods placed a curse on these northern boys of summer, a jinx that began when they traded away Babe Ruth and culminated in the 1986 World Series debacle? How can the team with the best batter (Boggs) and best pitcher (Clemens) blow it year after year? Hough skims the surface of these and other questions in this gentle, friendly look at the season following the Waterloo at Shea. A life-time Sox fan, he avoids the fanatical opinionizing that characterizes most such creatures. Instead, he tenderly prods the players and notes their responses. Here comes future Hall-of-Famer Jim Rice, ""moody as a sullen sea""; Boggs, with a face ""startling in its intensity and dispassion""; rookie Sam Horn, batting like Babe Ruth on steroids; happy, baby-faced ""Rocket"" Roger Clemens; veteran Dewey Evans, somber and soft-spoken in the midst of an MVP-style season; John McNamara, the sour, distant manager of this crew of athletic legends--all revealing themselves in the enchanted realm of Fenway, with its Oz-like emerald walls, its ghosts of Ruth, Williams, and Yaz. In between innings, Hough spotlights memories from his own childhood, along with scenes of various Red Sox hangers-on, especially the crass, callous press corps. He also, almost in passing, covers the Red Sox 1987 season, highlighted by another Cy Young award for Clemens, another batting title for Boggs, another fifth-place finish for the team. An intelligent treat for those condemned to root for this noble, doomed team.