We hope you enjoy this book review by Cy Hilterman.

Old baseball scouts, like old baseball players, never fade away. In their minds, they are still in the middle of the action whether playing, coaching, or scouting. Jack Barrett is not any different. He had been a scout for the New York Yankees for many years and had been dismissed just before his retirement under suspicious causes. Jack was getting older-age aches and pains but he got over those things by drinking. He also loved his daughter, Cheryl, who tried her hardest to keep her father away from the drink and get interested in something other than alcohol.

Cheryl had her boyfriend, Bobby, talk Jack into going to a baseball game featuring the Single A Sarasota Tarpons. Jack didn’t really want to go to a baseball game. He had loved his baseball for far too many years but when he lost his job with the Yankees, he lost all ambition for most everything. During the game, the actions of the Tarpons center fielder caught Jack’s eye. This kid, who he discovered was Mikey Clemants, was not only a terrific hitter but a fantastic fielder too showing his ability to track down balls hit anywhere near him and pounding the ball hitting it over the fence as though it took no effort.

The man that didn’t want to be involved in baseball any longer started thinking that this young man might be his ticket back to the Yankees. But, despite all his attempts, Mikey was not the type to talk to anyone, even being abandoned by his own players due to his bad attitude. Jack made many trips to the Tarpons games and tried to connect with Mikey with no success.

Johnny Bondano, nicknamed “Deuce”, was involved with the Lucchesi underworld family. He did a lot of “cleaning up” for the organization. Many times some of the members of this group were not sure if they were a target or not as they carried out their assignments. The underworld connection to the others in this story come out as the story goes along quite fast.

Jack, at first with his daughter not knowing, went to all the ballgames he could taking great interest in Mikey Clemants who seemingly could do anything he wanted to do hitting and fielding baseball but many times his interest seemed to be non-existant. Jack had been working at Publix Markets but never had his mind in his work even taking a nip when he took groceries to a customer’s car. When he got in trouble at Publix he took more interest in Mikey, but he didn’t stop his drinking. Jack got into trouble with a customer when he dropped some of her food and refused to pick them up. Another boy, MJ that had stood up for Jack when the customer complained got fired along with Jack.

Jack connived a job with the ball club with Jack ushering and MJ a batboy. This should get him closer to Mikey either through the kid or just being at the ballpark every game. Jack figured out what Clemants was doing; he was imitating Mickey Mantle’s 1968 year in hitting and fielding. Everything he did was an exact image of Mantle’s.

I think I have laid out the story so it will make you want to get this excellent book and read it. There are twists and turns involving the underworld, baseball, family lives and the families of friends. There is a lot of mystery and baseball involved with killing and torture and some characters you learn to love being killed. You will love this book whether a baseball fan or not since the story involves much more than baseball. Thank you Stephen Frey for such a great tale.



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