THE FOREVER BOYS by Peter Golenbock


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The Boys of Winter might be a more appropriate title; none of the players in baseball's new Senior League will last forever--not with sagging guts and creaking limbs in this 35-years-plus crowd--but they do fill the diamonds from November to March, making America's greatest sport a year-round festival, as Golenbock (The Bronx Zoo, Bums, etc.) demonstrates in his report from the trenches. The Senior League is a year old; whether it lives to puberty depends on public tolerance for seeing Major League has-beens puff around the basepaths. Fortunately, the level of play can be first-rate, and Golenbock gets to report a legitimate pennant race; he also, by sheer good luck, latches on during fall training (sounds odd, doesn't it?) to the eventual champs, the St. Petersburg Pelicans. Mostly, it's baseball as usual with no surprises. The on-field pleasures derive from a strong sense of time-warp: What's "Spaceman" Bill Lee doing on the mound? Off-field, the kicks come from hearing the ballplayers--this is one angry crowd. Chief warrior is Doc Ellis, "a hulking presence with a skinhead," who scores a new first for baseball trivia by admitting that he pitched his 1970 no-hitter while tripping on LSD. Lenny Randle, Sammy Stewart, Ron LeFlore, and Pat Zachary are among other key players who flash their spikes. Some play for money, some for pride, some to re-enter the Majors--what seems to be lacking is playing for fun, but then that left the Majors a long time ago. Too much grumble but lots of dirt (was Earl Weaver or Billy Martin the bigger boozer?). Satisfactory work by Golenbock, who has no literary voice of his own but keeps things chugging along; tops for nostalgia buffs.

ISBN: 1-55972-034-4
Publisher: Birch Lane Press
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