NOONAN: A Novel About Baseball, ESP and Time Warps by Leonard Everett Fisher

NOONAN: A Novel About Baseball, ESP and Time Warps

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What Brooklyn needs, Mr. Mayor, is a first-class professional baseball club."" So--begins this complicated 1890s-1990s caper--Mayor Seth Low (who has his eye on the White House) enlists rich crackpot Hendrik Van Siclen (who counts on President Low to give New York back to the Dutch) to bankroll Charlie O'Brien's Brooklyn Dutchmen Baseball Club in its challenge to the pre-eminent Cincinnati Red Stockings. But it takes teenage pitching phenomenon Johnny Noonan to put Brooklyn on the map--and in his first big-league exhibition game, a beaning knocks him into the end of the next century. There, pitching for the Mets in an automated, energy-conserving world (all the oil wells went dry in 1983), he revives live baseball with his weird, suddenly-acquired ""angle"" pitch. But news that he's a psychokinetic (that blow on the head gave him control over the ball) outrages the fans, he's spirited into Johns Hopkins Hospital to hide--and awakens as his former self, the original 1890s Johnny N. who can how talk to the ball too. Still to come: the great, unrecorded, inglorious rout of the Reds, Johnny's disgrace (the ""miracle arm"" loses its magic), and the demise of the Brooklyn-saving Dutchmen. Segment by segment, it's an inventive burlesque but the mix of old-time politics and ersatz baseball history, time warps and parapsy-chology, computerized living and the loss of will is too much to expect kids to bear with or sort out. Even in Brooklyn, baseball was never as much of a production as this.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday