Roger Kahn's first major league hit was a grand slam: The Boys of Summer, his runaway best seller that immortalized the 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers. Now Kahn does the same for players whose moment in the sun has not yet arrived. Good Enough to Dream is the story of his year as owner of the Class A, very minor league, Utica Blue Sox. Most of the Blue Sox will never make it to the majors, but they all share the dream that links the small child in the sandlot with the bonus baby who has just smacked one out of the stadium. It's a dream Kahn learned from his father, and in the course of a season, passes on to his daughter - hours of practice for a moment of poetry; a hard living but a touch of legend.
Good Enough to Dream presents baseball unadorned, a game still sweet enough to lure grown men to leagues where first-class transportation is an old school bus and the infield is likely to be the consistency of thick soup. It is a funny and poignant story of one season and one special team that will make us hesitate before we ever call anything "bush league" again.
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Fathers and Sons
(Bias Alert) My dad is Eddie Wolfe, one of the ballplayers in the book. Not very many people get to look into a year in the life of one of their parents, before the rest of their lives took shape. I listened to this book as if my own dad was some sort of fictional character. I've heard some of these stories over the years but to hear it from a new perspective was awesome. My dad has always been my hero, and this book further solidified that for me.
I love the part where Eddie Wolfe's at bat gets rained out and he has to sit for two days thinking about his high-pressure at bat coming in a pennant race. He fails, and then he becomes the hero in extra innings. I have seen him be resilient and overcome obstacles as my dad, but now I got to hear him do it as a player. That was pretty special for me.
The afterword was added in 2000 and tells a little about Roger Kahn and his daughter Alissa. I will add what I know about some of the other players.My dad, Eddie Wolfe, played his final game in 1983 after winning the championship. He has told me he was on his flight back to Phoenix with an empty bottle of champagne (apparently airlines had no rules back then) and he decided it wouldn't get any better than this and he wanted to go out on top. He began his coaching career the next season at his alma mater UTEP. He coached there from 1984-1985 before marrying my mom (still happily together after 32 years) and taking a job as the hitting coach at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. He was there from 1986-2000, winning a NAIA National title his first season. In 2001 he took a head high school job at Agua Fria High School in the Phoenix area and coached there until he retired in 2011. His teams made the state playoffs in 8 of his 10 seasons and he was voted the Arizona Big School Coach of the Year in 2005. His Utica Blue Sox Championship ring has been on display in my parents home my entire life. I've always admired it, but the next time I go over there for Sunday dinner, I will appreciate it a little more and feel a better connection to it. I feel very lucky I can sit down and have a beer with one of the characters in this story, and have him tell me about it firsthand.Jim Gattis bounced around the minor leagues for a little while before becoming the head coach at the University of Wyoming in the early 90's. The program was abysmal when he got there, and they were rolling when he left. He now lives in southern California and runs a chain of coffee shops.Roy Maretti, who my dad still claims was good enough to pitch in the big leagues, passed away of lung cancer last year. Larry Lee is currently the head coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.Finally, when I asked my dad about the book, he confirmed that everything Roger Kahn wrote was as it happened.
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