Guide to Baseball Short Stories: B
- Babitz, Eve. "Dodger Stadium." In Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh and L.A. New York: Knopf, 1977. 43-55. Repr. Nauen. The narrator attends a ballgame with her lover, an older married man; as she becomes enthralled by watching the Dodgers try to beat the Giants, she surrenders to the experience, not without some guilt.
Nicely done fiction about spectator experience.
- Baer, Arthur. "The Crambury Tiger." Collier's (1942). Repr. Lewis, Staudohar. Elaborate yarn, in the most florid kind of wisecracking prose, loosely based on the 1912 incident when a suspension of Ty Cobb led to the Detroit Tigers fielding a team of amateur and semi-pro players for a single game.
Brisk and bearable despite its deliberately insufferable style.
- Bahr, Jerome. "The Ball Game." All Good Americans. New York: Scribner's, 1937. 95-116. A game between rival town teams in rural Wisconsin features a crooked umpire and a satirical pre-game parody of the Gettysburg Address.
This Depression-era story veers between local color and allegory and doesn't know quite what to make of either.
- Barrett, Elizabeth. "The Magic of the Yankees." Slow Trains 7.2 (2007). Granddaughter bonds with grandfather over the Bombers.
- Basile, Al. "The Play of the Game." In Final Fenway Fiction. Son cares for terminally-ill, slightly-demented father by replaying great Red Sox games as if they were new.
Depends for its effect on how well you know the 2004 ALCS, but it's an interesting and well-executed story idea with considerable resonance.
- Baumbach, Jonathan. "The Fields of Obscurity." The Iowa Review 6.3-4 (Summer-Fall 1975): 1-10. Repr. The Return of Service (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979). A struggling big-leaguer sees his identity merge with that of his roommate and rival.
A weird magical-realist story.
- Beaumont, Gerald. Hearts and the Diamond. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1921. A collection of 11 baseball stories.
These stories are way beyond melodrama, reaching near-insufferable heights of corniness. They are adult stories, but notable for their contrast to the mannered, underplayed adult fiction of Beaumont's contemporary Ring Lardner. One story, "The Crab," is reprinted in Staudohar and Silverman. Another, "His Honor, the Umps," has the exact same plot device as "The Crab": an overbearing baseball man alienates a devoted wife, then wins her back when their child is born. Probably the most interesting of Beaumont's stories for present-day readers is "Tin Can Tommy" (repr. Strecker), in which a ballplayer spooked by an unconscious aversion to tin cans works out his problem therapeutically.
- Beer, Robert H. "The Winning Spirit." Eternity Online (1998). Repr. Kinsella. Manager of the floundering 2019 Mariners takes advantage of advances in time travel to make a great trade.
Time travel is never that easy, though, is it?
- Belfar, Edward. "Errors." Aethlon 26.1 (Fall 2008/Winter 2009): 217-226. Writer tracks down Buckneresque Red Sox veteran.
- Bergman, Steven. "The Textbook Approach." In Final Fenway Fiction. Divorced dad connects with academic-minded daughter over Red Sox statistics.
- Bertram, Jack. "Sombees." Aethlon 26.2 (Spring/Summer 2009): 129-139. Two old baseball pals reconnect; complicating matters is the stepdaughter of one of them.
- Bieler, Steven Bryan. "Tinker to Evers to Chance." In Full Spectrum. Eds. Lou Aronica and Shawna McCarthy. New York: Bantam, 1988. 139-156. A researcher meets an old ballplayer at Fenway Park: an old ballplayer who's been dead since the 1940s.
Atmospheric and well-written story of the supernatural.
- Biggle, Lloyd, Jr. "Who's on First." In A Galaxy of Strangers (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976). Repr. Staudohar. The 1998 baseball season becomes a fiasco when five telepathic aliens join the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Overlong and somewhat labored comedy SF story. Compare Effinger for a more solemn take on mind control and baseball.
- Bird, Sereana D. "No Girls Allowed." Slow Trains 3.4 (Spring 2004). In the 1920s, a young woman shows that she can pitch more than adequately for her local mill team.
- Blakely, Larry. "Our Breakfast With Dorrel." Aethlon 12.1 (Fall 1994): 125-128. A man remembers his father, his brother, and a whirlwind trip all three made to New York to watch baseball--including a chance encounter with Whitey Herzog (hence the title reference).
- Bledsoe, Lucy Jane. "State of Grace." Women on Women 2. Eds. Naomi Holoch and Joan Nestle. New York: Plume, 1993. 232-254. A girl falls in love with a softball teammate, in the context of her mother's troubled relationship with a boyfriend.
Appealing first-love story, realistic in its look at 15-year-old sexuality.
- Block, Lawrence. "Keller's Designated Hitter." (2001). In Penzler. A hit-man gets a contract to rub out an aging, overpaid slugger -- but who can bear to whack a guy short of his 3000th hit?
- Boedy, Matthew. "Colorado." Slow Trains 7.4 (2008). Young ballplayer comes to terms with the breakdown of a relationship.
- Bowen, Robert Sidney. "Carbon Copy." Ten Story Sports 6.3 (October 1952): 67-84. Promising rookie ballplayer, son of a diamond immortal, anguishes over his inability to emerge from the old man's shadow.
- Bowering, George. "October 1, 1961." In Bowering. SF time-travel story about a 21st-century attempt to interfere with Roger Maris's home-run record.
- Boyle, T. Coraghessan. "The Hector Quesadilla Story." Greasy Lake and Other Stories. New York: Viking, 1985. Repr. Bowering, Staudohar, Wilber. The title character, an aging, impossibly decrepit pinch-hitter for the Dodgers, finally feels good on the morning of his birthday, and takes the field ready to be the hero of the game.
Well-done story that plays with Mexican stereotypes in a sympathetic and parodic way.
- Boyle, William. "Most Precious Blood." Aethlon 23.1 (Fall 2005): 133-140. Kid in Brooklyn, 1986, shares baseball fandom with his dad, mom, and grandfather.
- Bradbury, Ray. "The Big Black and White Game." The American Mercury 61.260 (August 1945): 227-235. A boy recalls an annual Wisconsin ritual – a summer game between white players and black – in this instance, marred when a white player, frustrated by losing, spikes the black first baseman.
An interesting picture of racial tensions in a supposedly idyllic Middle America, this story makes effective use of a child observer.
- Braithwaite, Kent. "Kill the Ump!" Aethlon 13.1 (Fall 1995): 29-43. When an umpire ends up dead in the clubhouse, the manager of a class-A California League club has to find his killer.
Brisk and well-focused baseball mystery, ordinary for its genre.
- Braithwaite, Kent. "Managing Murder." Aethlon 12.2 (Spring 1995): 11-26. The manager of a class-A California League club has a puzzle on his hands when a corpse shows up in his locker room.
Ordinary baseball mystery, indicative of some strike-era attitudes toward big-money free agency, which enters the plot at several points.
- Breen, Kevin. "Another Game of Catch." Aethlon 16.2 (Spring 1999): 63-66. Father and son play; their play is laden with meaningul undertones.
The title and some of the dialogue recall Richard Wilbur's "Game of Catch."
- Brewer, James. "Ecstasy in Comiskey Park." Aethlon 10.1 (Fall 1992): 145-167. Repr. in Aethlon Sport Literature Anthology. A garrulous ex-con writes a steadily more drunken letter to his mother, describing an equally drunken night he's spent with his father at Comiskey Park.
Inventive use of language and wry masculine self-deprecation characterize this above-average short story.
- Broun, Heywood. "In the Heart." Illustrated by Earl Oliver Hurst. Collier's 98.8 (22 August 1936): 24. A crafty manager takes a seminary-bound ballplayer and shows him that the game, not the ministry, is really in his heart.
A Collier's "short short," complete with illustration on a single page.
- Broun, Heywood. "The Last Signal." Illustrated by Carl Mueller. Collier's 98.5 (1 August 1936): 19, 26. Repr. Lewis. A Harvard man pitches in the majors, with the help of a craggy old catcher.
One gets the feeling with Broun, here as in The Sun Field, that he was interested in baseball mainly as a backdrop for arch observations on American notions of social class.
- Bryan, Robert N. "Rookie Reliefer." Sport Story Magazine 57.3 (November 1937): 12-29. Brash rookie provides the kick that galvanizes staff ace into becoming an all-round team player.
Part of the kick is provided by the rookie working on the ace's girlfriend, a society dame who is determined to get the ace to give up baseball and live on her dough. The rookie hero of the story is compared at one point to "Flint Rhem in his palmier days" (27); perhaps Rhem was more of a household name in the 1930s than one might think.
- Buck, Ashley. "A Pitcher Grows Tired." Esquire (1934). Repr. Staudohar. An aging major-league pitcher, working mostly on guile now, gets a rubdown after a victory and thinks about old-time ballplayers.
Serviceable faux-Hemingway prose characterizes this masculine meditation.
- Burton, Greg. "Mrs Palladino." Aethlon 26.2 (Spring/Summer 2009): 143-156. Can a "small town soccer mom" bring new life to a pro baseball franchise?