Guide to Baseball Novels: R
- Raycraft, Donald. Old Hoss. See Bennett.
- Renino, Christopher. The Way Home is Longer. New York: St. Martin's, 1997. Batboy for the 1947 Dodgers thrills to the pennant chase and suffers through the anguish of his shell-shocked best friend.
Of course that's Jackie Robinson on the dust jacket, but interestingly, Robinson is a tangential character in the plot, though an important touchstone; Robinson interacts with narrator Vince Stigiano, but does not befriend him away from Ebbets Field. Al Gionfriddo, eventual World Series hero, is the more plausible pal for Stidge, and is a well-drawn character. The main plot, involving Stidge's complicated love for his friend Sam LaVista, Sam's sister Alma, and the game of baseball, manages to steer just clear of schmaltz, but not by much.
- Resnicow, Herb. Beanball. See Seaver.
- Rice, Damon. Seasons Past. New York: Praeger, 1976. New York baseball history through the eyes of fans and players.
Odd book, with many narrative devices one associates with novels, but catalogued as nonfiction. It's a pure chronicle for the most part: this happened, then that happened, then that happened, everything but Her McGraw cyning gefeaht uuiþ Conniemack.
- Ritz, David. The Man Who Brought the Dodgers Back to Brooklyn. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981. Millionaire ex-Brooklynite buys the Los Angeles Dodgers as a project for his childhood pal, an ex-ballplayer; the title sort of gives away the rest of the plot.
Good-hearted exercise in Dodger nostalgia, which also manages to work in some of the more persistent motifs in baseball fiction: the career-blighting accident, the first woman big-leaguer, and Fidel Castro.
- Robinson, Patrick. Slider. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. College pitcher makes good, makes bad, makes good again.
At 400 pages, man is this book long. On both front and back covers, though, former Expos reliever Jeff Reardon is quoted as saying "You won't read a better novel about baseball. Ever." Nunc et in saecula saeculorum, no doubt . . .
- Rosen, R. D. Dead Ball: A Harvey Blissberg Mystery. New York: Walker, 2001. Centerfielder-turned-private-eye Harvey Blissberg investigates a murderous web of circumstances that surrounds a batter closing in on Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak record.
- Rosen, R. D. Strike Three You're Dead. New York: Walker, 1984. Centerfielder Harvey Blissberg finds his roomie dead in the clubhouse whirlpool, any number of suspects with good motives, and a mystery in the dead man's pitching stats.
Agreeably soft-boiled caper.
- Roth, Philip. The Great American Novel. New York: Holt, 1973. A garrulous, profane, alliterating old sportswriter tells the suppressed story of the Patriot League, effaced from American memory after World War II, and of its most hapless and hopeless ballclub, the Ruppert Mundys.
If it does not live up to its title boast, this novel still has a claim to be the great satiric novel of baseball literature. Influential on Carkeet, Charyn, Donohue, Hays, Kinsella, Quarrington, Winegardner and many others, Roth's novel is funny and overdone by turns. Its language can be racist and misogynist, usually in the service of parody and often of self-parody.
- Rothweiler, Paul R. The Sensuous Southpaw. New York: Putnam's, 1976. The first woman to play major-league baseball finds her career imperiled by prejudice and scandal.
- Rowe, G.S. Best Bet in Beantown. Clifton, VA: Pocol Press, 2003. Foul play in the 1897 Beaneaters' clubhouse.
Very faithful imitation of Troy Soos's Mickey Rawlings series.
- Russell, Randy. Caught Looking: A Rooster Franklin Mystery. New York: Doubleday, 1992. A professional gambler gets caught up in a web of crime surrounding a major-league relief pitcher.
Sharply-written mystery that develops severe plot congestion about two-thirds of the way through.
- Rutkoff, Peter M. Shadow Ball: A Novel of Baseball and Chicago. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2001. In the summer of 1919, Charles Comiskey hatches a plot to get the great Negro shortstop John Henry Lloyd to play for the White Sox.
At times this novel seems like a dissertation on Chicago history of the 1910s, but it develops considerable plot momentum and mixes a generous handful of real and fictional people together pleasingly.
- Rychlik, Michael. Journeymen. Clifton, VA: Pocol, 2007. Aspiring journalist pals around with has-been ballplayers.
Read William Boyle's review for the Sport Literature Association.