Monday, May 19, 2014

Quick Review of Nine Bucks A Pound

I recently finished reading the baseball novel Nine Bucks A Pound by James Bailey and wanted to give a quick review.   Bailey has been writing for Baseball America for many years and earlier worked with the minor league Durham Bulls in the 1990s.  So, he has strong background for baseball writing and it showed in both this book and his earlier novel Greatest Show on Dirt.  

Nine Bucks A Pound is a tale about minor first baseman Del Tanner who could hit for average and field well enough but lacked the power to be taken seriously as a major league first baseman.  That was until he started taking steroids, worked out like crazy, and added 20 pounds of muscle over one winter.  He finally got his chance in the majors and won Rookie of the Year.  Shortly after the season, there were rumors about Performance Enhancing Drug use which damaged both his professional career and personal life.

It may be a work of fiction, but it's a well researched and realistic portrayal of a young man who battles with the temptations of money and fame, guilt of cheating other players and the fears of side effects and getting caught.  Bailey does an excellent job of showing the human side of a complex issue which is too often portrayed as black and white.  Regardless of your feelings about PED use in the game, you will likely find yourself empathizing with the main character and his family.

I highly recommend Nine Bucks A Pound for all baseball fans.  

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