THE 26TH MAN by Steve Fireovid


One Minor Leaguer's Pursuit of a Dream
Age Range: 10 - 12
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 A diary of the 1990 minor-league season, written by Fireovid, the minor's winningest pitcher in the 1980's, and edited by Winegardner (Prophet of the Sandlots, 1989; Elvis Presley Boulevard, 1987). Despite a good record, Fireovid has enjoyed only a few brief stints in the majors. As 1990 rolls around, the situation looks worse than ever: He is now 33, ``a fossil in my present environment.'' Much of the diary thus consists of laments over his lot as a minor-league pro rather than major-league prospect. But, in Fireovid's case at least, 13 years in pro ball bring with them impressive maturity and insight. His complaints are gentle, his envy muted by an appreciation of how lucky he is to be playing ball at all. This man loves his sport, and most of the pleasure here comes from his notes on the ups and downs of baseball life on and off the diamond--why no pitcher wants to be on the mound the day his teammates receive their new bat shipment (``they swing their toys at any pitch that comes within an area code of the strike zone'') or what it's like to hump around America on a minor-league budget (travel by bus, hotels without air conditioning, etc.). The season crawls along almost unnoticed; it's the sidebars--offers to coach in the Montreal organization or to play ball in Italy, efforts to keep an aging body fit--that sparkle. At season's end, Fireovid winds up with the second-best ERA in the league (2.63) and a losing record (10-12). What does 1991 portend? Another six months playing a young man's game--and some accolades for that rarity, a baseball book unblemished by egomania.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-02-538381-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1991


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