There are far, far more baseball books published every year than I can possibly read, considering my need for at least three hours of sleep per night and my part-time job making change for miscreants in the video arcade.
But last night I started reading this new one about "Trader Frank" Lane ...
... and it's real good so far. Right at the very beginning, we discover that in 1978 the Yankees tried to get Robin Yount, and offered Mickey Rivers to the Brewers. How different would history look if the Brewers had accepted that offer?
Vanderberg, our author, tosses off that one when relating a few hours he spent with Lane in '78. Then comes this:
Lane hung up the phone and resumed discussing his job. "I've had higher-paying jobs, some of them where, with attendance bonuses, I was making $100,000 to $125,000 a year. But now, at my age, I'd pay to do this job. Only thing is, I do over every bleepin' ballgame. Like last night...." The Angels had lost 8-6 to Baltimore with one of their aces on the mound. "This Nolan Ryan. Goddamn stupid son of a bitch. Million-dollar arm, 10-cent head. And I know without even having been there what he's trying to do. He's trying to throw a curveball. Well, they're tickled to death when he doesn't throw 'em that fastball."
It doesn't look like the whole book's going to be so lively, but it does have life. Which is too often in short supply in these sorts of affairs.