Guide to Baseball Short Stories: C
- Callaghan, Morley. "A Cap for Steve." In Morley Callaghan's Stories (1959). Repr. Bowering. A hard-up couple struggles over the value of baseball with their son.
- Campbell, Betsy. "Casey's Hat." In Final Fenway Fiction. Young Red Sox fan wonders what to get his aging Yankee-fan great-uncle for his birthday.
Very high ratio of exposition to plot, but a nicely-observed slice of life.
- Canin, Ethan. "Accountant." Esquire (May 1993). Repr. in The Palace Thief. New York: Random House, 1994. The title character narrates his long and dry life, culminating in a fantasy baseball camp where he for once acts impulsively – even criminally – and throws away business success in doing so.
The stilted narration recalls that of Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener": like "Bartleby," this is the story of a professional life gone stale, but there is more redemption offered in Canin's story--oddly enough, since the redemption comes through a petty theft.
- Canin, Ethan. "City of Broken Hearts." The Palace Thief. New York: Random House, 1994. A young man, attending a Red Sox game with his divorced father, sets the father up with a woman they meet there; later, the father realizes that this gesture means that his son really has left home for good.
Loneliness set in counterpoint with Boston fandom; the story is affecting but maybe strays just a degree or two in the direction of the maudlin.
- Cantú, Norma Elia. "Los Tecolotes." In Moreira. A woman remembers her aunt's fateful attraction to a ballplayer.
- Carlson, Ron. "My Last Season with the Owls." 108 1.1 (Summer 2006): 55-59. In the impossibly low minors, a third baseman muses on the idiosyncrasies of his teammates, including the Owls' vampire double-play combination.
Vampires have appeared before in baseball fiction (at this point, what hasn't?), but these are matter-of-fact vampires, whose bloodthirstiness is just another element of the team's diversity, much as if the young narrator were learning to live with gay teammates.
- Carlson, Ron. "Sunny Billy Day." Plan B for the Middle Class (1992). Repr. McNally, Kinsella. A ballplayer can charm umpires into reversing literally any call that goes against him.
Intriguing magical-realist idea. See Carlson's Young Adult fiction.
- Carlson, Ron. "Zanduce at Second." Harper's (May 1994). 71-80. Repr. Kinsella. A ballplayer who keeps killing fans inadvertently with line drives finds the way to avoid more fatalities: he starts trying to do what he's only done by accident before.
An original idea – not so much the killing of fans with line drives, which happens in several previous baseball fictions, but the inadvertent quality of the experience, evocative of the surreal plight of the hero.
- Carney, Gene. "The Accomplice." 108 1.1 (Summer 2006): 115-119. In the 1950s, a young Pittsburgh fan discovers that he can alter events on the ballfield by exerting his willpower, and thus becomes an "accomplice" to the two most famous games in Pirates history.
- Carpenter, Jacob M. "Top of the Ninth." Aethlon 22.2 (Spring 2005): 93-98. A Cub fan's long and hopeless fandom flashes before his eyes during a crucial postseason inning.
- Carter, Steve. "Old Times." Aethlon 15.2 (Spring 1998): 105-114. A divorced man returns to his parent's house and pitches for his old team; but nothing is the same as it used to be.
- Casteel, PD. "The Barons." Aethlon 23.2 (Spring 2006): 77-88. In 1961 Alabama, a white journeyman minor-leaguer considers trying to appear in blackface for a Negro club.
- Catlin, Don Robert. "Old Dogs and New Tricks." Sport Story Magazine 19.5 (8 May 1928): 111-116. Old Pop Harrison has nothing left in his right arm, but after five years out of the majors, he makes a spectacular comeback – as a southpaw.
- Cava, Pete. "The Noble Roman." In Moreira. Clemente-like star hits a memorable home run and then goes the way of Clemente himself.
- Cavallari, Daniel. "Ten Bucks if You Hit One." Slow Trains 7.4 (2008). Boy grows to young adulthood, bonding with his grandfather over baseball.
- Chabon, Michael. "Smoke." A Model World and Other Stories (New York: Morrow, 1991). Repr. Staudohar. A drunken, washed-up pitcher attends the funeral of his catcher, a great star who has died suddenly in a car crash at the height of his career.
Routine bitter-ballplayer story, curiously old-fashioned, as if it is a period piece in the style of a period piece.
- Chang Chi-Jiang. "The Vanishing Ball." Translated by Kathy Chang. The Chinese PEN 21.3 (1993): 38-68. A middle-aged functionary from an old Kuomintang family realizes that his patronizing superior is the ambitious "Taiwanese Kid" he opposed in a memorable baseball game many years earlier.
Generational and class conflict in Taiwan, played out in a baseball setting.
- Chapman, Arthur. "The Strange Case of South-Paw Skaggs: An Odd Story of the National Game." (1911) Repr. Strecker. Washed-up pitcher has proto-Tommy-John surgery; the donor is an ostrich.
- Chusid, Irwin. "The Glory of Their Haze." Repr. Bjarkman. An old-time ballplayer goes on and on about these good-for-nothing players today.
Moderately amusing parody of oral histories of the sport.
- Clark, Philip. "3 Strikes and Dead." Baseball Digest 9.1 (January 1950): 51-77. [Condensed from American Magazine.] Announcer gets drawn into the mysterious murder of a rookie pitcher.
- Clark, Philip. "Grandstand Player." Illustrated by Peter Stevens. American Magazine 150 (October 1950): 32-33, 127-132. A pitcher is tempted to throw a game by the man who wants to buy the club from the pitcher's rival for the hand of the manager's daughter.
But do you really think he will?
- Clifton, Merritt. "Exploding Curve." Pig Iron 9 (1982): 88-89. Repr. Bjarkman. An ex-semipro ballplayer muses on how hitting the curve is like sex with your best girl.
- Cobb, William. "The Night of the Yellow Butterflies." Aethlon Sport Literature Anthology. A semi-pro manager, recovering from alcoholism, discovers that his first baseman is the reincarnation of Luke Easter.
Finely detailed and restrained narrative.
- Cohen, Lawrence J. "Fifteen Great Seasons." Aethlon 28.2 (Spring/Summer 2011): 155-163. Veteran player, feeling obscurely doomed, resists a move from center field to first base; but what will happen, will happen.
- Collins, Max Allan. "Pinch-Hitter." (2001) In Penzler. At the behest of Bill Veeck, private eye Nate Heller investigates the death of Eddie Gaedel.
Downer of a crime story that mixes postmodern twistiness with father-son nostalgia.
- Constans, L. "My Baseball Début." Illustrated by Rollin George Kirby. McClure's Magazine 28.6 (April 1907). 677-684. A vacationing city man takes part in a game played by rural kids, and soon realizes his total inaptitude for baseball.
Interesting early fiction with clever illustrations; the tone is preciously arch.
- Coover, Robert. "McDuff on the Mound." The Iowa Review 2.4 (1971): 111-120. Repr. Bjarkman. "Casey at the Bat" retold from the pitcher's point of view, with considerable helpings of surreal slapstick.
Ordinary reworking of a classic. See also Deford, "Casey at the Bat."
- Cox, Ricky. "Game Situations." Aethlon 11.1 (Fall 1993): 15-19. The narrator recounts his three-at-bat long high school baseball career, which is full both of failure and of a rich sense of belonging to the game's traditions.
- Crewe, David. "Busher at Shortstop." Dime Sports Magazine 12.5 (October 1942): 38-51. Skinny rookie shortstop joins a team down on its morale, but proves that he can drink and fight with the veterans, sparking a general comeback.
Grittier than the pulp stories in Sport Story Magazine, even using mild profanity, this story exemplifies a harder-boiled sector of the sport-fiction world.
- Cross, Handley. "The Holdout." Sport Story Magazine 37.1 (10 October 1932): 2-25. Pitching prospect's ex-big-leaguer father insists on an unusual clause for his son's contract: young "Smoky" must be allowed to finish every game he starts.
"Baseball in those days was a game for hard and husky men. Specially pitchin'. A club didn't carry a squad of a dozen pitchers. It just played through the season with four or five, and depended on those old breadwinners and the battin' order. Now, by bingles, the pay roll carries almost as many pitchers as there used to be players on a ball club." (8)