From the Publisher
"Moving, beautiful . . . If Hemingway had written a baseball novel, he might have written For Love of the Game."
Los Angeles Times
"A delightful and lyrical story about a great athlete's momentous last game . . . A fairy tale for adults about love and loneliness and finally growing up."
"An endearing, timeless novel that can be enjoyed by both serious readers and baseball lovers for generations to come."
The Orlando Sentinel
"ONE OF THE BEST BASEBALL NOVELS I'VE EVER READ."
San Diego Union-Tribune
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Reading this posthumously published baseball novel is best compared to watching a gifted young player whose promise slowly fades with every strikeout and weak groundball, despite occasional flashes of potential. Shaara, who won a Pulitzer in 1975 for The Killer Angels , died just after the book was finished, and one feels he might have liked to give it a rewrite. Just before the last game of the season, star pitcher Billy Chapel, a veteran of 17 years in the major leagues, discovers that his team plans to trade him. Moreover, he learns that his New York editor/girlfriend has inexplicably ended their romance--leaving him adrift and the reader more than a little indifferent. The love affair, seen in flashbacks (notably a scene in which they achieve congress in a small airplane), must compete with an unhealthy number of baseball cliches and a series of featureless characters; even Billy, whose thoughts we share, seems a blank. The book does come to life, fittingly enough, as Chapel takes the mound for his final and greatest game. Shaara succeeds in conveying the extraordinary physical and psychological demands of the professional game as well as the dizzying pleasures of its triumphs. But even the account of Chapel's greatest victory is marred by a trite ending. While flawed, however, this is a noteworthy attempt to capture the simultaneous loss of a life's love and a life's obsession. (May)
Pulitzer Prize-winner Shaara's final work (he died in 1988) is about a baseball player's final work. Billy Chapel, a great pitcher, is going to be traded after 17 years of service. He plans to end his career with this game, rather than accept this betrayal by his team's new owners. We follow him pitch by pitch through his perfect game, and memory by memory through his imperfect life. Cushioned by a children's game, he has never quite grown up, never taken the ultimate risk of trusting a relationship; the woman he loves is equally frightened of commitment. They come together now, when Billy has to go home, with no home to go to. As much a psychological novel as a baseball tale, this is a good choice for popular fiction collections.-- Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.