Martin Simmons and Ike Stearn begin a lifelong friendship as middle school boys. Both are baseball players with all-star talents, and at times an uneasy competition strains their relationship. At the end of high school, the teens have opportunities to play ball in college. Martin quickly accepts a scholarship to a school rich in baseball tradition. However, Ike turns his back on playing baseball fulltime. He instead pursues his love of writing and begins a career in journalism. For the next few years the two once-inseparable friends build lives away from each other. It's a blessing for Ike, who has felt suffocated by Martin's overbearing personality and who has lost perspective on a game he used to enjoy playing.
Reaching adulthood, both Martin and Ike find success in their chosen careers. They are once again reunited in Chicago and begin a new type of friendship that places them on equal footing. In the end, Ike assumes the lead role in their relationship as he once again helps his old friend through the toughest parts of his life.