This CD is about a really nice man, Merl Eberly, who dedicated his life to baseball and baseball players who needed another chance. He took young men who had been under served, and perhaps who had underachieved, those who had been rejected by baseball, and in some cases life, and he gave them another chance if he believed that they still had what it took to be a successful baseball player and a responsible man. He demanded obedience to his rules; and he helped to get them jobs and housing so they could train. He made many a champion by giving them a second and even third chance, because he knew what it was like to make it and lose it, to love baseball above all else and fail to secure a future in the game. He deserves his status as a hero to baseball and those he helped.
He and his wife Pat gave these men a strong foundation by teaching them and demanding from them, good values and respect for rules. Merl maintained a strong standard of discipline and if the young men didn’t, there was often zero tolerance. They would be asked to leave if they were found wanting. Together, Merl and Pat did wonderful things for young men who might have wound up in dire trouble, absent their special effort, interest and concern for their well-being. They gave them hope for a better future, including a model to emulate and a guide to live by as men.
I found the book to be geared to men and women who had a great love and understanding of baseball. My husband enjoyed listening to it far more than I did, because he is a man of a certain age who could identify with some of the men mentioned, and he understood that era of baseball with its different code of behavior. It is about a time when the love of the game was first and foremost; today it is more about the love of money. We both enjoy minor league baseball, as a family, and we often attend the games in Cape Cod that the book highlights. We have all the paraphernalia, shirts, hats and balls. Long live the Cotuit Kettleers, and long live the summer college leagues and people like Merl Eberly who possess a clearer vision of possibilities and provide opportunities for others. Long live the Clarinda A’s, of Iowa with their strong ethics and sense of morality!
I would recommend the print book over the audio, although it is read clearly and well by the narrator, because the material is a little dry and a little repetitive. If you aren’t completely immersed in the book, you might zone out as I did. It is not as easy to go back to a particular place on a CD as it is in a book in order to clarify something you miss.
***I received this CD as part of the Early Reviewer’s Program on librarything.com