Baseball’s Great Expectations: Candid Stories of Ballplayers Who Didn’t Live Up to the Hype

Rowman & Littlefield. Mar. 2024. 216p. ISBN 9781538181805. Tr. SPORTS
In baseball, even the greatest batters hit the ball safely only three out of every 10 times. For pitchers, it is equally hard to excel; perfecting the mechanics is as important as the mental aspects of the position. Baseball historian Montgomery (The Baseball Miracle of the Splendid 6) devotes this book to long-ago and recent players who were touted by scouts and media as the next superstars. With an insider’s verve, Montgomery discusses how, for various reasons, certain phenoms didn’t live up to the hype. In some cases, it was the fault of organizational mismanagement; with others, it was mere bad luck. With some athletes—Gregg Jefferies and Ben Grieve, for example—it could be argued that they had successful and lengthy careers. Their results, however, did not match the attention they received. Via interviews with former players and their scouts, agents, and families, the book reveals baseball’s stories and what-ifs. It includes stories of heartbreak that are akin to unrequited love; the majority of these players put their souls into the game only to have the sport repel their best efforts.
VERDICT A fascinating exploration of the unfulfilled dreams of pro baseball players. Will appeal to fans of the sport.
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