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Blue Sox 6. Ex-bat-boy, Buster Stookey, has a chance to play 1st base for the Blue Sox. He's replacing Marty Blake and it won't be easy even if Blake has become a human sieve. Blake can still hit the long ball and the fans still love him--so does the front office.
Pete Gibbs showed promis when he first came to the Blue Sox, but time and World War II have taken their toll. His confidence has been shaken and he doesn't know whether he has what it takes. Excellent baseball action and characterization.
At last Second Baseman Bud Walker was back again with the Blue Sox-this time, he profoundly hoped, to stay. He was not a spectacular player, just a reliable one. But he could make that double play. He had figured out to a split second just how to make the pivot and get off the throw in the absolute minimum of time. His teammates liked him, particularly the pitchers, for whom he saved game after game by his expert handling of the double play. But the fans insisted on flashy young Devlin, their choice for the second-base spot. From their hot partisanship sprang an almost unbearable situation for Bud. The manager rightly refused to take him out of the line-up while the Sox were still winning, and the incredible result was that the fans rooted violently for the defeat of their own team-and the banishment of Bud for good. In this, his finest book, Mr. Decker has built up the suspense, from the first page to the last, with a craftsmanship only matched by the skill of his expert baseball reporting.
The first in the Blue Sox series. Johnny Madigan has been in the farm system a long time. Now, the veteran Sox infielder is washed-up and he has a chance at a starting position. So does Mike Marnie, a classic power-hitter who outhits Johnny by 100 points. Does Johnny stand a chance? Which one is more valuable to the team? What personal qualities does a pro need?
Blue Sox 13. Fame came to Bucky O'Brian with a pinch-hit home run during his first game with the Blue Sox. Suddenly his chance of replacing fading catcher Pete Gibbs became excellent, for Manager Jug Slavin needed a catcher who could hit. There was nothing to warn any of them that he would be batting .209 the following season and getting boos from the fans. Bucky hated to bunt and never more so than the day his roommate Oklahoma had a no-hitter going. Coming toward Bucky was a pitch too high to bunt, but easy to hit out of the lot. Here was an opportunity to get the Sox in the scoring column, to save the day for Oklahoma, and to redeem himself. What happened then, surprised every player on the field. It also brought Bucky to his senses so that his education as a complete ballplayer could begin in earnest. This warm-hearted installment of the Blue Sox saga is sure to be a favorite with the team's many fans.
Chip Fiske was a nimble, place-hitting specialist, but his short stature haunted him all the way up from the bush leagues. Now that he was big-time, he still threw his Sunday punch at the first wisecrack . . . and there were plenty of them, because this crowd liked big fellows and long-ball clouts. Then Kennie Willard came along-even more of a lone wolf than Chip. For Kennie was a Negro, the first in the League, and slated strictly for the benches. These two youngsters help each other to become really "big league"-in spirit and in action. You'll call HIT AND RUN one of the best baseball stories Duane Decker has ever written.
Blue Sox 9. The Blue Sox had a problem. After nearly ten years in left field, the famous Kennie Willard had retired, and someone was needed to take his place and bat in the clean-up slot. They had Mike Jaffe, a bonus boy, who had proved during his two years with the Sox that he could do just what was wanted: hit that long ball to left. But Mike didn't want to be an outfielder; he was convinced that he should be a pitcher, as his father had been. Feeling like this, Mike just naturally was sympathetic toward pitchers, even when they weren't on his own team. Since this proved to be an unsatisfactory state of mind for a potential slugger, Mike began to spend more and more time on a Sox farm club instead of with the Sox themselves. Because Mr. Decker is a strictly major-league baseball writer, he resolves this situation in a true-to-life way. Boys will enjoy this sports novel both for its excitement and its authenticity.
Blue Sox 8. Andy Pearson had come up through the Blue Sox chain, but when he was ready for the big league, the Blue Sox had no place for him; their regular shortstop was at his dazzling best. Andy was too valuable to ride the bench and too good to be handed over to a serious competitor. So he was sold to a seventh-place club and, as he failed to shine in that depressing atmosphere, shifted from one second-division club to another. Then, just as he had decided to give up baseball, he found that the Blue Sox had purchased him, to replace their once brilliant shortstop for the last month of the season. Next year, when their newest star came up from the farm, Andy was back on the bench. To win the job of shortstop took even more than ability and determination. Andy had to discover the Blue Sox' secret-the intangible something which, against all likelihood, kept them winning World Series year after year.
Blue Sox 12. The ball shot on a sinking line over second base into right field, and Danny Redd watched it as he charged. It was a treacherous line drive, and it was his or nobody's. Danny saw that he should dive for it; instead he stretched his glove to his shoe tops. He felt the ball hit the glove, but he knew it had hit the turf a fraction of a second before. The umpire didn't see Danny trap the ball and called the play an out. Danny had apparently saved the inning, and he couldn't understand why manager Jug Slavin was angry about it. Danny Redd was the new right fielder for the Blue Sox, and he was on his way. He did everything right, but he wouldn't take a dive or crash into a fence for anyone. His older brother had finished his baseball career before it began by always getting hurt, and Danny wasn't going to make the same mistake. Great ballplayers aren't made that way, however, and how Danny slowly arrived at this painful conclusion is the climax of one of. Mr. Decker's finest baseball stories.
Blue Sox 11. Sam Sloat was a nineteen-year-old pitcher, and for a left-hander he had good control. He had a good curve, too, but he seldom used it. He figured he didn't need it, not when he could just blow his fast ball past the hitters. The Blue Sox called him up from Triple-A at the end of the season and when he got a chance to pitch, with the game still wide open in the last inning, he shook off his catcher until he got the signal for the fast ball. Then he blew three batters in succession back to the bench, and that was the game. His next performance was even more startling-a complete game using nothing but the fast ball. But back home, in the fall, a frightening thing happened. Showboat Sloat felt the first ominous twinge in his left arm. How he dealt with the situation makes a wonderfully satisfying story, which provides not only plenty of baseball action, but also the picture of a man in the making.
Bluesox 2. Ed Lasky used to be aan all-star shortstop. He has a good arm and control, and he doesn't want to go back to the minors. Can he be convinced and make the change to becoming a starting pitcher?
Rookie Russ Woodward was going to be one of the greatest baseball players. He knew he was potentially worth a million dollars--all you had to do was ask him. He was fast, a natural and great fielder, could bat equally well right or left handed, and his biggest enemy was himself. He disobeyed orders, ignored instructions in his first season in the major league, and created dissension within the team by being a lone wolf. His patient manager tried everything from fining him, sending him back to the farm team to banishing him, but he couldn't succeed in knocking off that big chip Russ had on his shoulder. He finally learned what "team" meant, but it was a long time before he could work it out for himself. An excellent sport story.
Blue Sox 10. At last the years had taken their toll of Johnny Madigan, the Blue Sox' pint-sized third baseman. The originally derisive label, good-field-no-hit, had long ago become his badge of honor; but now his never too robust batting average had dropped to .243 and he was a full step slower going to his left. The front office had acquired the best third-base prospect in the league to take his place, giving up a fine veteran pitcher to get the prize rookie. But Madigan was not the man to accept his sentence without protest, and when he discovered that the new boy was Vic Scalzi, from his own home town, he found himself suddenly in possession of a secret weapon. Scalzi had served a jail term for robbery, although his older brother was the guilty man. The core of this story is the vivid baseball action. The human interest is young Scalzi's emotional problem, which Mr. Decker presents with great skill and insight.