Strike Zone

Strike Zone

A Novel

Book - 1994
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Baker & Taylor
Offers a baseball tale about Sam Ward, an aging minor league pitcher, who gets a chance to pitch in the majors, and Ernie Kolacka, an umpire who has agreed to fix the game

Blackwell North Amer
It's 1993. The Chicago Cubs win ten straight to tie the Phillies on the last day of the season. With an exhausted pitching staff, the Cubs call on thirty-two-year-old rookie and clubhouse oddball Sam Ward to pitch the big game. For Ward, a career minor leaguer up for his sixth "cup of coffee," it's his first start in the big leagues. His chance to prove that he's not a "baseball bum," that maybe his wife shouldn't have left him, that he's not crazy.
But something is wrong. Sam Ward is not getting the calls from umpire Ernie Kolacka. And he doesn't know why. Was it that wisecrack he made a few years ago at the sports dinner, the gay rights petition, the clubhouse incident with President Nixon? Sam only knows that he has to win. What he doesn't know is that the game is fixed.
Sixty-year-old Ernie Kolacka, forced into retirement, is umpiring the last game of a distinguished career - a consolation prize in an otherwise disappointing life. His own promising future as a ballplayer shot down in Korea, unhappy in marriage, ignored by his kids, Kolacka hangs on to certain principles that he lives by - integrity, hard work, loyalty to friends. But when his principles collide, Kolacka is suddenly faced with an unbearable moral dilemma.
Writing his first novel, Jim Bouton, author of the classic Ball Four, shows an original comic touch with the creation of Sam Ward. Eliot Asinof, veteran novelist and author of the acclaimed Eight Men Out, is the gruff and crusty voice of Ernie Kolacka. In alternating chapters, Ward and Kolacka face off in a duel of competing characters whose lives are on the line - one ball game seen from two utterly different points of view. A double-blind study of balls and strikes, right and wrong, life and death.
As Sam watches the breaks fall against him, he struggles for a way to triumph. As Ernie feels his career, his integrity, slipping away, he balances on the edge between honor and death.

& Taylor

Two expert writers on baseball offer an exciting tale about Sam Ward, an aging minor league pitcher, who gets a chance to pitch in the Majors, and Ernie Kolacka, an umpire, who has agreed to fix the game. 75,000 first printing. $75,000 ad/promo. Tour.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 1994
ISBN: 9780670852147
Characteristics: 253 p. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Asinof, Eliot 1919-2008


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