Guide to Baseball Short Stories: W
- Waid, Mark. "A Whole New Ballgame." STRANGE 1 (January 2010). [Artist Emma Rios, Color Artist Christina Strain, Letterer Todd Klein.] Dr. Strange, his powers eroded and his judgment clouded, shows up at a baseball game and helps the manager's granddaughter defeat a team of hideous monsters.
I liked this story, which features a cheerfully old-fashioned game between good and evil with the souls of the good at stake. New for 2010 is the child heroine, a sullen, constantly-texting misfit who breaks out of her funk when our superhero reveals the grave danger menacing her grandpa.
- Wallace, Robert. "Uncle Wayne." Aethlon 15.2 (Spring 1998): 159-167. A twelve-year-old boy looks on as his uncle starts and fails in the cement business.
Durham Bulls baseball is the backdrop to this closely observed relationship.
- Wallace, Robert. "Josh Gibson's Girlfriend." Aethlon 18.1 (Fall 2000): 135-144. In late-1960s Detroit, the title character befriends a young baseball fan.
- Walker, John. "The Atlas Show." Slow Trains 7.4 (2008). Son of a former elite weightlifter comes to terms with the failure of his amateur baseball career.
- Waltzer, Jim. "Appointment in Tannersville." Aethlon 17.2 (Spring 2000): 11-20. Two ex-major-leaguers travel to the small town of the title, where festivities are to held for one of them, who's now old and embittered.
- Warren, Charlotte. "The American Pastime." Aethlon 17.1 (Fall 1999): 47-57. The narrator looks back on his college friendship with a young woman who was as passionate about baseball as he was.
- Warren, Robert Penn. "Goodwood Comes Back." In The Circus in the Attic and Other Stories (New York: Harcourt, 1947). Repr. Staudohar. The narrator remembers a childhood friend, once his protector in sandlot baseball games, who has gone all the way to the big leagues and then fallen because of his drinking.
More a character sketch than a narrative, this is a sharp observation of a certain combination of talent and apathy, told in a confident vernacular syntax.
- Watson, Lawrence. "Pinstripe." Arete 2.2 (1985): 111-123. Repr. Bjarkman. A "seasoned veteran" draws the enmity of his manager because he won't conform, but gets the last laugh when the manager is desperate for a pitcher.
Readable and funny vignette.
- Weaver, Gordon. "Gold Moments and Victory Beer." December 11.2-3 (1967); in Such Waltzing Was Not Easy (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975); repr. McNally. Tough-guy posturing after a city-softball-league victory.
- Weiner, Andrew. "Streak." Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (1992). Repr. Kinsella. Aliens arrive on Earth and stay just long enough to see a Blue Jays' rookie challenge DiMaggio's hitting streak.
Brisk baseball fantasy with some clever writing.
- Weintraub, Robert. "The Autograph." Spitball 49 (1995). Repr. Pachter. A baseball autographed long ago by a minor Red Sox player brings the narrator, the player, and the kid who caught the ball together in an eerie web of coincidence.
- Weintraub, Bob. "A Flare for Dan Nugent." In Final Fenway Fiction. Old-timer gets a final chance to live down a famous World Series gaffe.
- Weisman, Jacob. "Lost October." See Sandner.
- Wentz, Stephen W. "Stan the Man." Aethlon 13.1 (Fall 1995): 11-18. The narrator remembers his sickly younger brother, a big fan of Cardinal great Stan Musial.
Richly detailed story that tries to stay astringent but ends up getting a little sentimental.
- White, Lowell Mick. "The Endless Inning." Aethlon 11.2 (Spring 1994): 97-106. A man spends the day playing computer baseball, then, mellowed by drugs, goes out to play real-life co-rec softball.
Meandering sketch of an existence measured out in baseball action, real or imaginary.
- Whitfield, Raoul F. "'Goggles'." Sport Story Magazine 11.5 (8 May 1926): 98-105. Myopic, fastidious, unorthodox rookie hurler wins the respect of grizzled vets with a pinch-worthy stretch performance.
- Wilber, Rick. "Stephen to Cora to Joe." Asimov's Science Fiction (2000). Repr. Field of Fantasies. Creative-writing teacher spins yarns about his love life, his baseball career, and some sound advice he'd gotten from a catcher named Steve Crane.
An engagingly headlong exercise in unreliable narration.
- Wilber, Rick. "In Boise." In Richard Gilliam, ed. Joltin' Joe DiMaggio (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1999): 357-375. Repr. Kinsella. An ex-minor-league pitcher recalls the summer of '41 with the Boise Pilots, during which his manager carried on a streak-long conversation with Joe DiMaggio via magical catcher's mitt.
- Wilber, Rick. Where Garagiola Waits and Other Baseball Stories. Tampa, FL: University of Tampa Press, 1999. Twelve stories and essays.
This fiction is well-crafted, mostly on standard themes: fathers, sons, sudden deaths, male bonding. Several stories have an occult or fantastic twist and originally appeared in SF magazines; one, "The Babe, the Iron Horse, and Mr. McGillicuddy," is co-authored by SF writer Ben Bova.
- Wilber, Rick, and Nick DiChario. "Blind Spot." 108 1.3 (Summer 2007): 110-117. Son reflects on his late father, a minor-league pitcher of exceptional promise betrayed by emotional volatility.
- Wilbur, Richard. "A Game of Catch." The New Yorker (1953). Repr. Bowering. Vignette about an aimless, beautiful game of catch between two boys, interrupted by a third boy.
- Williamson, Chet. "Gandhi at the Bat." The New Yorker (20 June 1983). Repr. Staudohar. A little-known (because imaginary) incident from the game's history: Mohandas K. Gandhi's pinch-hit appearance for the 1933 New York Yankees.
There are several laughs in this mostly pointless absurdist sketch, interesting as a document of how baseball fiction sooner or later assimilates anything conceivable to the game. "Gandhi at the Bat" was filmed in 2006. For similar examples, see Parsons, Shepard.
- Wind, Herbert Warren. "The Master's Touch." Crowell-Collier (1951). Repr. Staudohar. A wizardly general manager manipulates the sex life of a top minor-league prospect.
Cleverness and paternalism are the themes of this fantasia on organizational manipulation.
- Winkler, Scott. The Wide Turn toward Home. Clifton, VA: Pocol Press, 2008. A novella and several short stories on baseball themes, mostly set in rural Wisconsin.
- Winters, Daniel. "You Gotta Get Hits!" Dime Sports Magazine 12.5 (October 1942): 92-96, 98, 100-110, 112-113. Embattled manager of club in a tailspin fights off meddlesome, effete owner.
Profane populism is a winning theme in this story from the nether regions of pulp, where the blocking-character owner is "Flavian Bates, the mattress king" and knows nothing about baseball or true manhood.
- Wodehouse, P. G. "The Pitcher and the Plutocrat." Collier's (1910). Repr. Holtzman, Lewis, Silverman, Staudohar. A millionaire swindler ruins an old aristocrat, forcing the aristocrat's son to go to work as a baseball pitcher, with romantic complications.
Typical Wodehouse, delivering laughs and surprisingly hip to baseball language and situations.
- Wolff, Tobias. "Bullet in the Brain." The New Yorker. Repr. The Night in Question (New York: Knopf, 1996): 200-206. The title object touches off a childhood memory of baseball.
A deft short fiction about language and writing -- and what better place to observe them than in the context of baseball?
- Wolverton, Barry. "The House That Ruth Built." Aethlon 10.2 (Spring 1993): 17-25. The narrator remembers his Aunt Ruth, a determined feminist who used to teach baseball to boys and even built a field in her front yard for the purpose.