Guide to Baseball Short Stories: S
- Saks, Andy. "My Night at Fenway." In Pachter. Fan stumbles on "all-access" pass that lets him experience every aspect of a Red Sox game.
- Salisbury, Luke. "Jack Wolf's Try-Out." Orig. publ. Bjarkman. The title character has a try-out with the Dodgers, but gets drunk on the way there and hurts his hand too badly to try out.
Kernels of poignance show here and there in a story that could use more character development.
- Sanchez, Reuben. "The Catcher's Mitt." Aethlon 28.2 (Spring/Summer 2011): 49-59. The title totem turns out not to have much of a family history or heritage after all.
The kind of story where the characters speak in such elaborate expository detail that you can't imagine they hadn't sorted out these details long ago.
- Sanchez, Reuben. "In the Cottonwood Shade." Aethlon 21.2 (Spring 2004): 15-23. Newly-released minor-league veteran drives home from California to New Mexico, re-entering family and community, assessing his failed marriage.
A lot goes on here in 14 pages: an entire career in retrospect, and its backstory as well.
- Sandner, David, & Jacob Weisman. "Lost October." Pulp Eternity (1999). Repr. Kinsella, Wilber. The 1989 Bay Area earthquake gives an old ballplayer another look at his youth.
Well-handled magical tale that avoids maudlin possibilities.
- Saraceno, Stephen. "Ah, Did You Once See Baseball Plain?" Aethlon 16.1 (Fall 1998): 171-173. A terse short-short story featuring the old hidden-ball trick.
- Sayers, Valerie. "Brooklyn, Bewitched." Commonweal 14 August 2009: 20-27. The 1941 World Series leads to internecine tensions among the families and neighbors of Brooklyn – especially for one transplanted Yankee fan.
- Sayers, Valerie. "How To Read a Man." Zoetrope 6.2 (Summer 2002). Repr. Wilber. A woman struggles with various unsatisfactory relationships in real life, but relates perfectly to the men of the 1999 baseball playoffs on TV.
- Scarsella, V.L. "The Cards of Unknown Players." Aethlon 18.1 (Fall 2000): 73-87. A man and his wheelchair-user son find a baseball card of a nonexistent player.
- Schramm, Wilbur. "My Kingdom for Jones." (1945) Repr. Holtzman, Lewis, Wilber. The straight dope on how, long ago, a horse played third base for Brooklyn.
One of an odd group of stories involving animals entering the major leagues; see also McIlroy and Smith's Rhubarb, and a juvenile by Higdon. Schramm's story, by contrast to the others, is more deliberately a coded satire of controversies over integration of the majors.
- Schoenholz, Dan. "Guys Like Felix." Aethlon 16.2 (Spring 1999): 97-104. An uneasy triangular friendship at a summer camp for high-school journalists reaches a climax at Wrigley Field.
If you ever had a highly-strung summer friendship as a teenager, you'll see yourself in this one.
- Schuster, Joseph M. "July Fourth 1976." 108 1.2 (Winter 2007): 113-119. Career minor-leaguer muses on his one insignificant, significant plate appearance in the majors.
- Semmel, K.E. "The Throw." Aethlon 27.2 (Spring-Summer 2010): 155-168. Holdout Dizzy Dean is approached by golfing entrepreneurs for his endorsement; Diz turns the negotiations into a challenge that melds golf and baseball.
- Serling, Rod. "The Mighty Casey." (1960) In Stories from the Twilight Zone. Repr. Wilber. Robot pitcher becomes self-aware.
Prose adaptation of Serling's script for the TV episode of the same title.
- Sevilla, Ed. "The Return of the Kid: A Parody in Nine Innings." In Final Fenway Fiction. Third-grader channels Teddy Ballgame.
- Schwartz, Rick. "'Play Ball.'" Aethlon 10.1 (Fall 1992): 125-132. Yankee shortstop Bucky Dent dies, goes to Heaven, and learns that baseball is the driving force behind all human history.
- Shannon, Mike. The Day Satchel Paige and the Pittsburgh Crawfords Came to Hertford, N.C.: Baseball Stories and Poems. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1992. Seven stories and three sequences of short poems.
Shannon writes notably good stories about texts about baseball, including "Cubs Win! Cubs Win!" where a man falls in love with the marginalia a woman has written in a baseball book, and "The Charlie Pepper Letters," in which an old-time sportswriter answers letters from a younger writer; soon it becomes clear that the younger man is mainly interested in scandal surrounding the 1940 suicide of Reds' catcher Willard Hershberger.
- Shaw, Irwin. "No Jury Would Convict." The New Yorker (1937). Repr. Lewis. Fans bellyache at a Brooklyn ballgame.
- Sheehan, Tom. "The Final Summer." Slow Trains 1.2 (Fall 2001). Ancient rookie takes a long-deferred, magical at-bat.
- Sheehan, Tom. "Sacrifice Fly." Aethlon 23.1 (Fall 2005): 39-46. A baseball game on the margins of a Civil War campaign in Virginia brings together a Yankee ballplayer, a Southern woman spectator, and a Confederate sniper.
- Shepard, Jim. "Batting Against Castro." Paris Review 35 (1993): 16-33. Repr. in Tobias Wolff and Katrina Kenison, eds., The Best American Short Stories 1994. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994. 277-292. Repr. McNally. Two inept ex-Phillies become symbols for the whole United States during the fall of the Batista regime in Cuba.
Sharp language, weaker sense of baseball, and comic-opera Cuban revolution stuff blend uneasily here. For other stories of world leaders playing the game, see Parsons, Williamson. To see Castro pitching in other game situations, see Apple, Kessel, and Wendel.
- Shepherd, Jerry. "Curveballs." Aethlon 14.2 (Spring 1997): 53-61. A mysterious stranger starts hanging around a pick-up ball game, teaching the kids how to play.
Don't worry; it turns out all right.
- Short, Oona. "The Truth About Paradise." Minneapolis Review of Baseball (1990). Repr. Nauen; repr. Slow Trains 1.1 (Summer 2001). A woman goes to a ballgame because she believes that the first baseman has summoned her through her TV set.
Whimsy and magic surround the likeable central characters.
- Siegel, Larry. "Lay It Down, Ziggy!" American Legion Magazine. Repr. Herzberg (1951). A minor-league manager hires a trick bunter to entertain the fans; the trick bunter ends up winning the pennant in a crucial final at-bat.
Absurd and contrived but well-written despite it all, this story has an odd archetypal quality that has made it memorable to many readers. The bunter Ziggy is described throughout as a midget (though his height is given as 4'10"), enhancing the quality of David-vs.-Goliath that surrounds his final confrontation with an enemy pitcher.
- Singer, Glen. "Genes." Aethlon 23.1 (Fall 2005): 95-111. Veteran catcher tells the story of a dead superstar, an overweening owner, and the rookie who is mysteriously related to both.
- Skloot, Floyd. "The Cage." Aethlon 17.1 (Fall 1999): 149-158. Repr. McNally. A UPS man becomes interested in an ex-major-leaguer who keeps ordering more and more elaborate practice equipment.
Well-turned sketch of youthful athletic dreams persisting as men age.
- Slack, John. "Chisel at the Bat." Aethlon 27.2 (Spring-Summer 2010): 143-152. Sketch of the narrator's father as a young ballplayer.
- Slesar, Henry. "Killing Teddy Ballgame." (2001). In Penzler. An ex-farmhand private eye is hired by Joe Cronin of the Red Sox to prevent the assassination of Ted Williams.
- Smith, Patrick A. "Pastime." Aethlon 22.2 (Spring 2005): 15-27. A master forger gets his start by counterfeiting Babe Ruth's signature on a baseball.
- Smith, Rob. "Fungo." Aethlon 26.1 (Fall 2008 / Winter 2009): 161-168. Little-League bench chatter revolves around meandering misquotations from Negro-League lore.
- Snee, Tom. "First Start." Elysian Fields Quarterly 16.4 (1999). Repr. Pachter. Parents cringe as their son, a minor-league journeyman pitcher, gets shelled in his first major-league start at Fenway Park.
- Solar, Rachel. "The Bet." In Further Fenway Fiction. Best friends from business school pursue separate careers, marriages, and baseball loyalties in Boston and New York, till the events of October 2004 bring them back into each other's orbit.
Deft and satisfying interweaving of baseball and private histories.
- Solar, Rachel. "The Shadow of Manny Ramirez." Improper Bostonian (October 2003). Repr. Pachter. A woman sends a fan letter inviting Manny Ramirez to dinner, and somehow the Red Sox slugger accepts.
- Solomon, Rachel. "The Walkoff." In Final Fenway Fiction. A stressed-out young Anglo female attorney is convinced she's transforming into David Ortiz.
One of the more Kafkaesque of baseball stories. The introduction to the volume gives the author's name as Rachel Solar, and indeed it's much in the mode of Solar's stories for the first two Fenway Fiction collections.
- Soos, Troy. "Pick-off Play." (2001). In Penzler. Mickey Rawlings watches as a rival player kills a teammate with a pitch; why isn't another of Mickey's teammates afraid of the same fate?
- Squillace, Robert. "Power." Aethlon 14.2 (Spring 1997): 35-39. The narrator tells of a childhood ballgame that was a watershed in his relationship with his best friend.
Nicely done vignette.
- Stafford, William. "The Professor and the Chicago Cubs." Arete 4.1 (1986): 171-179. Repr. Bjarkman. A professor becomes addicted to the Cubs and sets out to see every game of the 1985 season.
Loaded with telling verisimilar detail.
- Standish, Burt L. "Backstop Brains." Sport Story Magazine 55.6 (June 1937): 25-33. "Midge" Tyler is humiliated when upperclassmen deem him too much of a runt to catch for the varsity, but he redeems himself by calling pitches brilliantly.
Standish was a pseudonym for Gilbert Patten.
- Standish, Burt L. "World Series Goat." Sport Story Magazine 49.2 (October 1935): 8-28. Star Texan rookie learns to control his hot head and outwit a headhunting pitcher.
Mild baseball mystery by the dean of sport pulp authors.
- Stanley, Scott. "The Old Letter." 108 1.1 (Summer 2006): 106-112. Memorabilia collector finds a trove of old letters that reveal a secret of historic dimensions.
- Stein, Allen. "Ain't No Asylum Here." Aethlon 24.1 (Fall/Winter 2006-07): 67-74. High-school game played at a mental hospital touches off a disturbing incident.
- Stephens, Michael Grant. "The Joe Torre Phenomenon." Aethlon 23.1 (Fall 2005): 55-65. Burnt-out sportswriter is refreshed by an interview with a very unusual Yankee fan.
The multifariousness of the human spirit as refracted through baseball.
- Stine, Peter. "The Pinch Hitter." Aethlon 27.2 (Spring/Summer 2010): 25-29. Given a rare chance, the title character produces an epic, if enervating, at-bat.
The first-person narrator (the pinch-hitter himself) is deliberately, self-consciously pedantic, for effect; but the story is still over-told, even if it doesn't overstay its welcome.
- Stout, Rex. "This Won't Kill You." American Magazine (1953). Repr. in Three Men Out (1954). NY: Bantam, 1955. 104-150. Sedentary detective Nero Wolfe and energetic sidekick Archie Goodwin solve the murder of the Giants' second baseman – during the seventh game of a World Series at the Polo Grounds.
Wolfe is called at first in not to solve the murder, but to figure out who has fixed the Series by slipping phenobarbital into the Giants' favorite soft drink, "Beebright."
- Stull, Richard Arlin. "The Great Trade of '62." Aethlon 16.1 (Fall 1998): 175-177. Mantle is swapped for Mays – on a playground in Northern California – in this appealing short-short story.
- Sullivan, Frank. "The Cliche Expert Testifies on Baseball." The New Yorker (1949). Repr. Holtzman. Brief humor piece in dialogue form, listing just about every current cliche of baseball writing.
Interesting less as humor – it's not particularly funny – than as a reference source of baseballisms.
- Swain, Jeff. "In the Field of the Gods." Aethlon 11.2 (Spring 1994): 45-47. Brief, poignant sketch of an ex-ballplayer coming home to his father.