Big League Busher, by Joe Archibald
Four out of five stars
Right-handed pitcher Ernie Kimball was paid a big bonus to sign for the Longhorns fresh out of Austin University. At that time, the rules in the major leagues meant that he was immediately moved up to the parent club. Arrogant, Ernie believes that he is the next Bob Feller, young and armed with a fastball that will make him a star in the major leagues.
His initial success convinces him that he is on the way, even though his manager and teammates try to get him to tone down his belief in himself. It turns out that they are right and Ernie is wrong, for the second time around the league the hitters know what he throws and have adjusted to it. Eventually, Ernie is sent down to a club in the low minor leagues, an event that makes him consider quitting professional baseball.
However, Ernie quickly discovers that the love of the game flows through his blood vessels and he reports to the team. Once again, he is at first arrogant to the point where few on the team can tolerate him. Finally, when he discovers that a teammate has faced much greater adversity with a smile, Ernie rights his personal ship and begins to absorb the instruction. Over the course of the season in the minors, Ernie learns the art of pitching and with the fastball that he already had, he becomes a formidable presence on the mound and a valued teammate.
Archibald wrote many books of sports fiction and one of his trademarks is the inclusion of a moral for the reader. It is laid down very thick in this book, almost to the point of being overdone. There is a reference to the political situation in Cuba, specifically the Bay of Pigs invasion, something the normal young reader of the time may know, but the modern reader will not understand.