1939: Allie Brandon, young and brash and loaded, has bought the New York Lions, a baseball team so cellar-bound it can almost repair sump pumps. By 1942, though, the Lions go into September as pennant contenders. Brandon's own character, his creed of ""inspiration, ambition, desire, need, all wrapped up in a little bomb called a baseball"" has a great deal to do with the resurrection; also helpful are a fanatic, brawling manager--Billy Martin-ish Jack Storm--and an outfielder/slugger phenom, Buddy Lockridge. A naive cub sportswriter, Todd McNeill, is taken into Brandon's confidence, even made a protâ€šgâ€š; and his eyes are ours here as the 1942 season commences with nothing but bad news. The Lions' star pitcher is drafted, and, to make matters worse, star player Lockridge is badly beaned. When Brandon, desperate for the pennant that he feels will be the end of the ""last great season"" before the world is torn apart by war, goes ahead and plays the concussed kid-star anyway, against doctor's advice, sportswriter McNeill is appalled. He watches the rest of the season in horror, waiting for the inevitable disaster to strike (it does). And Brandon gets his, too, though baseball's abiding, impregnable myths--and Brandon's go-for-broke attitude ("". . . to hell with the night, because we'll have brought along our own sunlight with us, golden hot"")--do survive. Honig goes in for tinny speechifying and clichâ€šd psychology, but his first-rate press-box-style baseball descriptions (he authored the estimable non-fictional October Heroes) make this a fair bet for fans, especially at World Series time.