Rookie of the Year, by John R. Tunis
Five out of five stars
This book is one in the series about a fictional Brooklyn Dodgers team authored by Tunis. Most of the recurring characters appear in this one, yet the emphasis is on shortstop and playing manager Spike Russell along with rookie pitcher Hathaway.
When the story opens, the Dodgers are in fourth place and it is the last half of the season, but they have begun to gel as a team and are now winning. Although it will be difficult, there is a glimmer of hope that they will be able to challenge for the pennant.
The main plot revolves around the stress and challenges of keeping the team focused on their drive for the title. Things will occasionally go wrong and people will make errors, but it is Spike’s job to always look forward to the next game and increasing their chances of winning it.
A sub-plot revolves around the nefarious machinations of a member of the Dodgers organization that is determined to create problems for the team, even if it costs them the pennant. While this adds some human interest to the story, it detracts from the focus on the events on the field and the plans that Spike makes as the manager.
Tunis demonstrates once again that he is a master at writing adolescent sports fiction. While modern readers may not understand some of the references, specifically to the amounts of money involved, those that understand the history of baseball will have no difficulty.