It's a cold spring day in 1944. A young Pete Hamill is with his father watching the Brooklyn Dodgers play the Boston Braves. The wartime teams are just dismal - many major league players are serving their country and the teams have been clogged with has-beens and guys that are 4-F. But Pete's father tells him to "watch this little guy." His name is Eddie Stanky.
An ex-soccer player, Stanky bounced around the minor leagues until getting the call to the majors. He was small, but played with intensity. He risked beanings by crouching over the plate. He slid hard into second base to break up the double play. Instead of hitting home runs, he'd draw a walk, and then steal second. He wasn't a great player, but his intangibles made him stand out.
Eddie Stanky represents the twilight of Hamill's youth and his growing appreciation of his father through his admiration of Stanky. A time before Jackie Robinson; before the hated Giants and before the demise of Ebbets Field. This story will appeal not only to baseball fans, but to anyone who has rooted for the underdog.
©1990 Pete Hamill and Danny Peary
(P)2001 Random House, Inc.