- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted April 20, 2013
It is the start of the baseball season, and I had a sudden craving for a baseball themed novel. I searched my bookshelves and found "Toot-Toot-Tootsie, Good-bye" by Ron Powers, first published in 1981. I bought it much later, probably in the mid-90's at a used bookstore for $1.99.
The novel tells the story of L. C. Fanning, a baseball broadcaster from the golden age of radio. He gained legendary status for broadcasting the third and final game of the Giants-Dodgers National League playoffs on October 3, 1951. Bobby Thomson, in the bottom of the ninth, the score 4 to 2, with one out, two men on base and Willie Mays in the on-deck circle, manages to send a pitch out of the stadium. As the ball went over the outfield wall, Fanning yells "Toot-Toot-Tootsie, Good-bye!", marking his place in history and giving him a trademark.
But now Fanning broadcasts the New York Nats, a cellar dwelling team, for WERA. His broadcasting partner is Turtle Teweles, a former catcher, and their partnership is as perfect as Burns and Allen, Crosby and Hope, Martin and Lewis or Abbott and Costello. They glide through life in perfect harmony, gods in their own baseball heaven. But without their knowledge, the world has changed, and in this, Fanning's final season (although he has told no one), karma has thrown him a hard inside slider. The new station manager is barely 20. He doesn't care about baseball. He doesn't care about on air personalities or lifetime relationships. He doesn't care about what the station broadcasts as long as the ratings are good. And the Nats' numbers stink. His first inclination is to pull the plug. But his hands are tied by an unbreakable contract. So, he decides to hire a former beauty contest queen and minor actress to provide color commentary with Fanning and Teweles.
Of course, no plan is perfect.
The resulting novel is a little slow getting started, but I enjoyed all of it. I enjoyed Ron Powers description of a world that is lost to us now. It wasn't perfect. but it wasn't all bad either.