The Tao of the Backup Catcher: Playing Baseball for the Love of the Game

Twelve: Grand Central. Jul. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781538726556. $30. SPORTS
Many children worldwide dream of becoming baseball stars and making loads of money. In reality, however, only a tiny percentage of those actually achieve this dream. Sports journalist Brown (The Phenomenon), cowriting with former pro baseball player Eric Kratz, tells a story about men who have pursued a baseball career into adulthood but who ultimately didn’t achieve the hoped-for superstar status. It is told mostly through the eyes of Kratz, a former catcher who, after realizing that superstardom would elude him, still found the goodness that can come from helping others achieve success in a sport that often seemed heartless and unforgiving to him. Kratz’s experiences are woven together with interviews of several other professional baseball players and managers. This highly recommended book is a refreshing and inspiring baseball story that will resonate with the 99 percent who never make it big. It will likely enlighten and inspire baseball players and non-athletes alike into learning that greater joy can come from serving others instead of just being served.
VERDICT Baseball and sports lovers will likely forever revere and quote this book. It belongs in all general and many academic libraries.
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