Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Review of "Bullpen Bargain," by C. Paul Jackson

Review of
Bullpen Bargain, by C. Paul Jackson

Four out of five stars
 This book was published in 1961, before the sports memoir and fiction books took on the more modern tactic of “telling it like it is.” Bob Thomas is a very good baseball pitcher that is fresh out of high school and his maturity is not as professional grade as his arm and delivery. When he makes the Panther team in the major leagues after an excellent performance in spring training, he quickly discovers that it is much harder when the games count in the standings.
 At first, Thomas thinks others such as teammates, fans and sportswriters are against him and that his difficulties are not his fault. While this is not the way to a successful career in baseball, it is typical of a person suddenly thrust into a situation of great stress and responsibility. At times, it appears that Thomas is developing into a mature player, but time after time he slips backward to acting like a teenager.
 As could be anticipated early in the book, Thomas finally learns his lesson after literally and figuratively being knocked around. He pitches his team to a critical victory in a game that ends with one of the most unlikely plays that could be conceived of to end the game.
 Like nearly all books of adolescent sports fiction, there is a moral to this story, it takes maturity and perseverance to succeed at the highest levels. That is always a good lesson, but modern readers used to players with human flaws will find the context a bit artificial.

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