Many years ago, some men got together and formed a Boys Club in a hard-working, hard-drinking, inner-city neighborhood in Baltimore, for the sole purpose of providing an opportunity for the local kids to play baseball. Their club was not part of any national association, and their teams did not play in the official Little League. It was an effort that stood alone in an area of the city that needed it badly. It is my experience living there and coaching with them that inspired this book.
City Heights is a blue-collar, racially mixed neighborhood on the west side of Baltimore. The residents work at McCormick’s spice factory, Bethlehem Steel, or the GM plant. They drink beer and eat steamed crabs. They root for their beloved Orioles and their kids’ teams all summer. This is their story, centered on Coach Tommy, who, from a lack of steady work, takes the whole summer off to coach his kid’s baseball team, drink with his buddies, and occasionally chase a skirt or two.
The lessons learned in the baseball games are metaphors for the lessons learned about life. The sudden death of a young player and the defection of the team’s best coach and player create struggles. The story details the difficulties the inner city kids face going into the end-of-the-year tournament against the rich suburban teams. “Going home” is a term that develops a much deeper significance than merely scoring a run.
Although the book includes lost romances, racial tension, sports struggles and drug problems, the ending gives the reader a ray of hope. Little Stevie, perhaps the second baseman with the smallest body and the largest heart anywhere, is “the one” who might make it out of City Heights with a baseball glove as his ticket.
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About the Author
Kevin Zahn is a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. He also holds a master's degree from Boston College. He sailed all over the world as a mate, or deck officer, for over 20 years (1965-1987), some years full time, some part time. His ships were a variety of steam, diesel and nuclear powered. They carried every kind of cargo imaginable.
He was also a junior high school teacher and coach of baseball and basketball. His last occupation before retiring was as a Geographic Information Systems Analyst. Kevin likes to play tennis, walk his dog, Sassie, and go for hikes around his home in northern Arizona. He is married, and has three children and two grandchildren. Please visit http://www.kevinzahn.com for more information and samples.