Who hasn’t watched baseball and dreamed of seeing Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, and Lou Gehrig on the same field as the All Stars of today?
So imagine if one day these and other legends of the past showed up alive again, with their destiny in the hands of a young boy, wanting a game with the current major league stars.
Full of poignant moments and exciting action, it is a novel of striking narrative and power that offers unforgettable characters, hypnotic humor, and breathtaking suspense, while investigating the mysteries of faith, fatherhood, re-incarnation, and baseball.
It is a share-with-your-friends jubilation wrapped in a good old fashioned story of belief and hope.
The Sultan of Swat
As young George continued to grow into his teens, Father Matthias noticed the young man's catlike coordination, the massive meat hooks that were his hands, the mountainous shoulders and the brawny chest.
This rare and exceptional combination of attributes resulted in Father Matthias devoting endless hours working with him on his hitting, fielding and pitching.
It was the first time that George had ever felt special in his life and it wasn't long before word started to spread about the athletic gifts of this eighteen-year old.
In his hands, when the ball and bat connected, the ball would soar farther and faster than anyone watching believed was possible.
The ball would leave his bat and get tiny ever so fast.
But now his mind flashed again. He was no longer in the friendly confines of the Polo Grounds where the Giants played in New York.
No, he was somewhere else. Somewhere cold. Terrified, frozen and starved, he looked up at a sky obscured by the man-made choking cloud of a stalking, deadly demon.
The rugged landscape's big shoulders rose up over him, as if it was about to stomp him out and declare victory. Fighting in a French ditch against an enemy he didn't know well or really care about, his mind dwelled on something that was all too familiar.
There he was in the U.S. Army during World War One, fighting in the trenches of Europe against a faceless enemy.
This time that mysterious enigma of an enemy was lobbing deadly gas cylinders and shooting rifle pellets at him filled with phosgene gas, the same demonic weapon he was now carrying.
The Dark Destroyer
There he was, along with his mother Mallie, and his three brothers and sister, listening intently by the radio for their older brother's name. Cuddled close to each other, more for reassurance than fear, they eagerly listened to the start of the two hundred yard dash competitor introductions of the Olympic Games.
It wasn't because they were Olympic fans, which they weren't, nor because that insane little man, Hitler, was presiding over the games.
The lightning crackled and exploded outside the one room cabin. Dazzling the Oklahoma sky, it produced a beam that lit up the dark corridor like it was daylight.
As was traditional in the Sac and Fox tribe's heritage, the baby was to be named for an event or sight that occurred at the time of birth.
But this time there were twins. Hence the name Bright Path would christen them both and follow them throughout their youths.
But only one of them would have it serve as a beacon for his future.
With this new rebirth in New York, he remebered now, the piercing pain he felt, when his brother died and left the world at age nine. That was such a gaping hole in his heart that it had pushed him from that point on, to be twice the man he dreamed he could be.
The Black Babe
From as early on as he could remember, he'd always had but one dream. To show the world that he belonged on the game's most elevated stage - the Majors. He had generally accepted his Negro League fate of moving within the phantom shadows of stardom. He knew that segregation in this game was the law of the land, and he was not supposed to speak out about the inequality and prejudice, the two goons that everyone knew were always lurking in the dark.
Baseball's color line was invisible but impossible to cross. Yet, he wanted more than ever to show those white major leaguers what they already knew in their hearts: That he, Josh Gibson, was the very best hitter the game had ever seen.
At certain times, this disheartened mental state would throw curves at him, and cause him to fly into fits of anger. He remembered now how this would result in his rambling outbursts of rage. He wanted to show the world how purely the game could be played. But his destiny seemed like it was being whitewashed, along with the baselines of history.
The Iron Horse
This odd floating lightness gave him plenty of time to reflect on those frozen moments in time that everyone always wanted back. But the date of June 2, in particular, shot at him now from more than one direction.
Once it was the start of something. And once, it seemed like the very end.
But here it was again, and it seemed like some magna-global force was hurtling toward him and demanding that he attend an event he knew nothing about.
The Great One
And now he viewed that harrowing sight again.
As he watched helplessly as the nose of the aircraft dropped disastrously toward the ocean's whitecaps off the coast of his native Puerto Rico, he plunged into the darkness of eternity. He remembered thinking at that moment that a loss like this was always the most hard-nosed coaching lesson.
That was it. The end of a storied career in the very same place it had started, along with the end of the eternal hopes he was bringing to the victims.
But here he was again on earth and something new was stirring in the heavens for him, Roberto Clemente.
Born Leroy Paige in 1906 as the sixth of twelve children, his father was a gardener, and his mother was a domestic worker in Mobile, Alabama. He remembered earning his famous nickname working as a baggage porter. He had devised a clever method of carrying numerous suitcases all at once by using a long wooden pole and swivel that he carved himself by hand. Someone shouted "Hey Satchel!" and the name had stuck with him.
He remembered how even before he reached his twelfth birthday, he was arrested for shoplifting. It wasn't the first time. In fact, petty theft had become a habit for him and his parents knew he was on a slippery slope to a life of crime.
The Splendid Splinter
When he was alive on earth before, he always felt an inner heat that would propel energy to transfer from his brain to his hands to the bat. And he elicited clearly how he could work that bat like nobody before or since. It would feel so supple in his hands, and with his lightning fast wrists, he looked back on how easily he could twist the bat to meet the ball.
Another attribute was his eyesight. He had the kind of vision that humans only dreamed about. Maybe a hawk had eyesight like this, or an eagle, but not any mere mortal.
The Georgia Peach
She removed the safety. Beads of sweat dropped down her forehead. She monitored the moving image as the undulating shadow crept across the translucent draperies that were lit cleanly by the moonlight. She moved closer to the sill, brought the weapon to her chin, aimed and pulled the trigger. Then she pulled it again, and again.
The blasts of shotgun shattered the window and rang through the night. Moans mushroomed and then meshed with the sound of W.H.'s pistol dropping impotently on the wood. Then, she heard the awful sound of a body falling off the balcony.
With horror she realized that it was her husband, Senator Cobb, the man she'd been married to for two decades, who was lying dead on the ground below.
The news of his father's death hit the seventeen-year-old Ty Cobb hard. It couldn't have come at a more pivotal moment in his young life. He was, just that week, preparing for his major league debut.