Three years after earning a full-ride baseball scholarship to Ohio State, "Golden" Jake Standen has burned out. Working as a furniture mover and bouncing between meaningless relationships, he's convinced that his baseball dreams are over. But after the 1994 Major League Baseball strike prematurely ends the season, the playoffs, and even the World Series, Jake is about to get his lucky break. Strike be damned, the owners will have a team for the '95 season, even if they have to open tryouts and spring training to anyone who can hit or throw the ball.
After scoring contracts for the Toronto Blue Jays, Jake, his best friend Brian Sloan, and an unlikely cast of new teammates have just six weeks to learn how to play like never before, amid a slowly building crescendo of public curiosity, media scrutiny, and a labor dispute that could put them on the field come Opening Day—or dash their dreams at any minute. Based on the true stories of the 1994–95 replacement players, Chasing the Big Leagues is an exciting novel about shared dreams and competing interests, best friends and second chances, growing up and finding love.
Brett Baker's Chasing the Big Leagues is set during the now famous 1994–95 baseball strike and the protagonist is called up to play as a scab for the Toronto Blue Jays. Baker knows his baseball . . . the hitting, the fielding, the feel of the ball, what makes a team tick, the coaching. The book is filled with wonderful and arcane baseball details, and it's a good read, a page turner, but of course the setting is during one of the worst of times for baseball so there's a strong element of melancholy in it, too. I strongly recommend it.
John Keeble, author of Yellowfish and Broken Ground
Baseball famously is the one sport played without a clock. Brett Baker's timeless and timeful novel Chasing the Big Leagues is steeped in pastoral passion of the national pastime. This book is in love with the amateur, in love with the pure love of the game that lies in the heart as the clock runs down over the far horizon of the furthest outfield and the sun is always nostalgically setting, turning the diamond into a bright enduring tarp of diamond-tipped and dusty words. This book is a gem, and Baker is the next new Natural.
Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone and The Moon Over Wapakoneta