“Painting the Corners: A Collection of Off-Center Baseball Stories” By Bob Weintraub: Baseball Book Review
Saturday July 21st, 2012
Painting the Corners: A Collection of Off-Center Baseball Stories – Volume 1
Iguana Books: 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Back in April, we had the chance to interview author Bob Weintraub to discuss his latest book, “Painting the Corners”. With the baseball season past the halfway mark, we now bring you our review of the book. The summer months I find are great for reading baseball books. For those lazy days at the cottage, plane rides, or just curling up on the couch or bed for a nice relaxing read. I have enjoyed many baseball books already, as you will find on our devoted page to Baseball Book Reviews. This has been one of the best years for baseball books in recent memory. With so many titles to choose from, your friends at MLB reports are here to lend a helping hand. To assist you in navigating through all the baseball titles and find the right book for you. We are always on the lookout for something new. Something unique and special. We all love baseball. And we love stories- which makes “Painting the Corners” a winner in my book.
My first reaction when finishing “Painting the Corners” was a relief that the book was titled as “volume one”. The book is 11 baseball stories, compiled into one book. A true baseball treasure collection. Each one unique in its own right, the book is a fun, easy and enjoyable read. For those readers that dread 500+ pages of one continuous tale, fear not with this book. You will get 11 different adventures. The diversity of the content made this book very interesting and unique for me. After a long day, most of us do not have the time to plow through huge novels. Even worse, when we get busy and distracted, we can end up leaving a book and only return to it after a few weeks. With “Painting the Corners”, there is no such problem. 11 different stories means that you can read each of them when you want and not miss a beat. A relief in this fast paced world of ours.
While reading the book, I kept getting drawn back to Chapter 2, “The Autograph”. The story of Denton Heywood, a member of the Red sox in 1945. His only major league hit was a home run on the last day of the season, which ironically ended up winning the game. Finding an autographed ball of Heywood at a store and relieving his memory sent chills down my spine. It had a very eerie Stephen King feel to it. But yet it was warm and absolutely touching. I could feel that the author had for watching Heywood play and then to be able to hold that autographed ball. Every baseball fan could appreciate this tale and Weintraub tells it eloquently.
Weintraub also offers very intelligent quotes at the top of each chapter. Chapter 7 featured a Sparky Anderson classic: “If I ever find a pitcher who has heat, a good curve and a slider, I might seriously consider marrying him, or at least proposing.” If you are absolutely laughing right now, then you are like me. You get it. You appreciate the game within the game, the personalities and all the fun that is a part of this great game. Sparky was one of the best and I thank Weintraub for digging up that classic. The quote actually went well with the chapter. “The Kansas City Kid”, Chapter 7 was the story of Gregg Talbot. A pitcher nearing the end of his career and working towards his 300th win. But this story goes beyond baseball. It’s almost a Romeo and Juliet meets 9 innings. This story on its own could have made an entire novel. It is that good. I wouldn’t think to ruin it for you…but if you ever wondered as to some of the politics in the game behind the scenes, this story has plenty of it. A tale of owners collusion at its worse, the Kansas City kid was something else.
How good were these baseball tales you ask? So powerful that I ended up googling many of the featured characters to confirm if they were true stories. The stories were that believable, yet powerful that I wanted to learn more. Not all the tales are happy ones. But baseball, like life, does not always have a happy ending. Sometimes we like to simply sit back and watch a ballgame. Sometimes we want to research stats. Other times we want to debate and analyze baseball. But sometimes, we just want to use our imagination and read stories. Good stories…that involve our favorite game. Bob Weintraub: thank you. Thank you for allowing me to use my imagination. Thank you for making me think and see the games in several new lights. Thank you for writing “Painting the Corners”. I look forward to the release of Volume II in 2013.
***To learn more about Bob and Painting the Corners, please check Bob Weintraub’s Blog: http://bobweintraub.iguanabooks.com and be sure to add this one to your baseball book collection!***
Jonathan Hacohen is the Founder & Lead Baseball Columnist for MLB reports: You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)
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Posted on July 21, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged baseball, baseball book, bob weintraub, book review, denton heywood, gregg talbot, mlb, painting the corners, the autograph, the kansas city kid, the knuckleball. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
I’m a huge sports fan in general, and love other sports just as much as baseball. However when it comes to a good story, or an appreciation for sport, nothing else compares to baseball. This sounds like a great read and will give it a shot, if I ever get through the stack of books piled by my bed!!