Guide to Baseball Novels: G
- German, Norman. Switch-Pitchers. Saint Augustine, FL: BluewaterPress, 2010. Cuban twins break into the 1950s low minors with an assist from Ernest Hemingway.
- Gethers, Peter. Getting Blue. New York: Delacorte, 1987. A pro ballplayer comes of age in the 1950s, lives his disillusionment in the 1960s, has a crowning moment of glory in the 1970s, and realizes in the 1980s, at last, that life goes on.
Sex, jazz, and violent death round out this very male saga.
- Gervais, Marty. Reno. Oakville, ON: Mosaic, 2005. Housebound boy watches the world go by and writes to celebrities, especially Tiger infielder Reno Bertoia.
Compact, resonant fiction where a child learns about adults – their foibles and their courage – in subtle ways. Read Adam Swimmer's review.
- Goldberg, Philip. This Is Next Year. New York: Ballantine, 1992. Dodger fan Roger Stone grows up with the Bums and finally experiences the promised "Next Year" of 1955.
The plain vanilla center of the Dodger-novel genre.
- Golenbock, Peter. 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel. Guilford, CT: Lyons, 2007. In Heaven, Mickey Mantle tells the story of his life to writer Leonard Shecter.
Neither as scandalous as it tries to be nor as thoughtful as it might have been. Read my review at lection.
- Goodman, Eric. In Days of Awe. New York: Knopf, 1991. A Jewish pitcher, in exile after he's thrown a ballgame, falls in love with the daughter of an axe murderer.
Well, that's one way of describing the plot of this quirky novel, which has intriguing characters. The plot degenerates into a mess of gory gunfight scenes--oddly enough, because the overall impulse of the story is comic; it's a tale of redemption.
- Gordon, Alison. The Dead Pull Hitter. New York: St. Martin's, 1988. A sportswriter becomes involved with not one but two sudden murders on a playoff-bound ballclub; she also becomes involved with the investigating detective.
Amiable mystery that is much more interested in the personalities and ambiance of a ballclub than in murder or detection. By a former Toronto Blue Jays' beat writer.
- Graham, John Alexander. Babe Ruth Caught in a Snowstorm. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973. A wealthy man starts a ballclub not for profit but for love of the game; when the team becomes successful, profit becomes its only motivation, and morale collapses.
An odd, appealing magical-realist fantasy, told in counterpoint by the team owner and the team's star catcher. It becomes positively a parable of the loss of innocence in the face of money, but doesn't lose its ability to unsettle and surprise the reader.
- Granger, Bill. Drover and the Designated Hitter: The Third Drover Novel. New York: Morrow, 1994. An ex-journalist turned oddsmaker's tout becomes embroiled in a web of murder that spins out from a disagreeable Chicago Cub.
Drover is sort of a AAA version of Robert Parker's Spenser; he certainly has a mouth on him, and the edgy dialogue carries this hard-boiled crime story.
- Granger, Bill. The New York Yanquis. New York: Arcade, 1995. Megalomaniac owner of the Yankees replaces his overpaid lineup with Cuban stars provided by Fidel Castro.
Castro must appear in more baseball novels than any other historical personage.
- Grant, Robert J. The December Rose. Carmel, IN: Island's End, 1995. Medical advance allows comeback by long-retired star.
- Greenberg, Eric Rolfe. The Celebrant. New York: Everest House, 1983. A Jewish immigrant jeweler becomes the "celebrant" of the beautiful baseball exploits of Giants' pitcher Christy Mathewson.
Meticulous novel, perfectly resonant; one of the finest recreations of its era in American historical fiction, and often cited as the best baseball novel of all time; certainly a leading candidate for the honor, as it combines research, realism, and poetry in unique proportion.
- Gregorich, Barbara. She's on First. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1987. Repr. CreateSpace, 2010. Available on Kindle. The first woman to play in the big leagues battles discrimination and family secrets to establish herself.
Despite the magical potential of the premise, She's on First is written in a straightforward realistic idiom. It's well-done, but predictable, and tends to become a family romance rather than the story of a woman professional making her mark. However, since most baseball novels by and about men are family romances posing as sport stories, that isn't remarkable. She's on First is a far better book than Can't Miss, which shares its main idea, and far better too than The Sensuous Southpaw, which beat it to its main plot by a decade.
- Grey, Zane. The Short-stop. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1909. A young ballplayer throws up his regular job that has been the sole support of his family, and seeks (and finds) his fortune on the diamonds of the Midwest.
Not much plot interest here; baseball forms a convenient backdrop for a number of young-hero-makes good motifs.
- Grimes, Tom. Season's End. Boston: Little, Brown, 1992. A star major-league ballplayer lives through the upheavals of the 1970s and 80s in the sport.
- Grimes, Tom. A Stone of the Heart. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1990. In the fall of 1961, a 14-year-old boy watches his father's life disintegrate.
Against the rhythm of Roger Maris's drive toward 61 home runs, of course . . . sharply written and keenly observed, this is one of the better coming-of-age novels to make extensive use of baseball as a motif.
- Grisham, John. Calico Joe. New York: Doubleday [Random House], 2012. Son of a retired pitcher knows that his dying dad has unfinished business with the legendary title character, a slugger he'd once had a fateful encounter with.
The level of glurge is excessive, and the baseball detail, despite a thicket of real-seeming stats and allusions, is unconvincing.
- Grote, JoAnn A. Hope That Sings. Urichsville, OH: Heartsong Presents, 1996. Christian lass woos and witnesses to an unbelieving member of the 1892 St. Louis Browns.
Historical Christian baseball romance, a heady confluence of genres. Like many romance novels, built on a fair amount of research, here about a legendary and colorful era in baseball history.
- Guthrie, A.B., Jr. Wild Pitch. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973. Montana amateur pitcher doubles as sheriff's flunky and helps solve a double murder.
Arch, almost precious in tone, this novel nonetheless delivers what its flap copy promises: "a lighthearted western mystery."