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Comment: Shelf and edge wear, bumping at corners, tiny tear in upper right corner of dust jacket. Pages are clean, clear and tight, cover is shiny and bright.
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Hardball: A Season in the Projects Hardcover – January 26, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 317 pages
  • Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons; First Edition edition (January 26, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399138676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399138676
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

More a sociological study than a book about sandlot baseball, Coyle, senior editor of Outside magazine, takes us inside Cabrini-Green, the nation's second-largest housing project in one of Chicago's most crime-ridden neighborhoods. We enter a society whose pecking order is determined by guns and crack and where status is marked by Air Jordans. The Near North Little League/African-American Youth League came into being because of the efforts of white Bob Muzikowski, a former drug addict turned Christian insurance executive, and African American Al Carter, who worked for the city's Department of Human Services. Between them a sometimes cool political alliance existed as they strived to help the project's 8- to 12-year-olds. We meet the Kikuyus team: Calbert, the earnest, asthmatic, junk foodie; Freddie, a 44, 100-pound butterball with a great fastball; and Maurice, who always called "I got it. I got it," but seldom did. Through the imprisonments, shootings and AIDS deaths that mark the ghetto, we see the Kikuyus coalesce as a team. This heart-wrenching tome offers little hope as crack and guns continue to control the project, but as Maurice says: "It ain't really so bad, living here. In summertime, we play baseball." BOMC and QPB featured alternates; film rights to Paramount.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Hardball , a chronicle of Little League baseball in Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project, adeptly illustrates the harsh realities of inner-city life. The story quickly shifts from the action on the diamond to descriptions of sniper fire or gang brawls. Coyle examines many of the players' backgrounds and family lives and how their upbringing reflects on their attitudes toward baseball and the mostly white coaches. At times the book focuses too much on the politics of the league, but almost every Little League is plagued by the interference of adults. Ultimately, the game of baseball touches all of the participants, as when Coyle describes a player receiving his uniform: "Rufus chose number 1, the smallest jersey. He didn't say anything, just hugged it to his chest and trotted away to show his mother." For most collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert. LJ 9/15/93.
- Jeffrey Gay, Bridgewater P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Daniel Coyle is the New York Times best-selling author of The Secret Race, The Little Book of Talent, The Talent Code, Lance Armstrong's War, Hardball: A Season in the Projects and the novel Waking Samuel. He is a former editor at Outside Magazine and a two-time National Magazine Award finalist, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. He lives in Ohio and Alaska with his wife, Jen, and their four children.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I rarely read a book twice.
brooklyn
My only wish is that Disney didn't get its hands on the movie rights to this excellent book and produce such a substandard movie.
A fan of the book
I enjoyed this excellent piece of writing to the utmost degree.
Fred L. Fisher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fred L. Fisher on March 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this excellent piece of writing to the utmost degree. The insight, intensity, and development of characters submerses one in the tragic surroundings of the inner city of Chicago and depicts the valiant efforts of indefatigueable volunteers to lift young boys from the throes of poverty. The writing style is almost poetic; this writer has a unique talent for making characters come alive --- he's one to keep an eye on in the future. I can't wait for his next book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Trixie on June 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is such a great find. Unlike the movie, this is the non-fiction account of a group of volunteer's attempts to organize a little league team in Chigago's Cabrini Green project, possibly the most infamous in the country. Don't expect any Keanu Reeves ex-gambler coaches to show up. Do expect great candor from the kids and an unmistakable affection from the author (who never appears in the book) for the players. Despite all the news stories you'll ever hear about urban decay, public housing and gang violence, it will never have the impact that some of these stories do (3 players lose their fathers during the season, one's is incarcerated, others can identify a gun's calibre by sound.) This story isn't unremittingly grim though and never is it preachy. Coyle's gift is to just let the children and the coaches speak as the story of the Kikuyus journey to the championships unfolds. There are so many sweet funny moments in this book: Louis' Star Search audition, the trip to the Iowa baseball camp (where hillbillies are more terrifying that gang bangers), Jalen's "Rude Dude" bat. Despite the fact that there are no sudden changes of heart, the players never quite permanently comes together as a team, and the league's two founders end up as mortal enemies, this is nonetheless an uplifting story. Some of the kids have potential, some don't, the odds are against most. Maybe a summer of baseball can't save them but as one of the League's founders poignantly notes, "If we save one, then this League is a success."
The best news is that while Cabrini itself is being razed, the Near North League continues. It's a shame this book is out of print. It is definitely worth seeking out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Infrequent Reviewer on October 17, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
... should make this book available again now that the movie HARDBALL has hit the screens. I read this book about three years ago or so when it first came out and thought it was a great read. I gave it to a fellow baseball fan, who is a supervising probation officer in our county. For those who feel that youth baseball (and youth sports) can often be more than just a game, this book is for you. Watching the movie last week brought back thoughts of this book. The movie does some Hollywood license on the story line (they win the title in the film) but essentially is well done and gives the essential message the author sought to convey.
This book and the film should be required viewing for suburban Little League teams which have as "must have" items the latest version $250 bats, batting gloves and all the new fangled gear that passes for "essential" baseball equipment these days.
In the film one of the kids is asked by the coach character as the kid returns to his housing project home full of problems and malingerers "What do you do for fun?" The kid responds: "I plaky baseball for you....." Ain't baseball great. This book plus the a little too sappy film shows us all why.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "lil_wheezy2k" on October 28, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Coyle gave a great story. He was very descriptive. His writing had the affect to make me able to visualize every character and setting. I've spent time in the projects on many occasions' with friends who stay there and I see these things all the time, except children are growing more love for basketball and football. Yet they still show the heart on the court and gridiron as they did in this story in the diamond.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Bilmes VINE VOICE on March 31, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a story that is more frightening than anything Stephen King has ever writter. It's a realistic 'The Bad News Bears' that will make any reader with an ounce of empathy feel like crying. The harrowing life that the children of the Cabrini projects must endure in their day-to-day existence is a bleak background of violence, drugs, and society gone wrong. The fact that Little League baseball can serve as a beacon for these kids is almost as amazing that a society like ours can let projects like the one depicted in this book exist.

A powerful, important novel, and one that should be read by anyone interested in learning about the differences that exist in our society.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Quite a piece of work we have here. Anyone who appreciates a story about characters, whether they like baseball or hate it, will appreciate this book. It's terrific.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matt Aven on August 11, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a coach in the Near North Little League, I certainly have a biased opinion of the book. What a great read. It couldn't be more accurate as to the descriptions of the neighborhood, the kids and their interactions, and dialect, as well as baseball in Cabrini-Green.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
'Hardball' is one of those rare books that not only will you read multiple times, but you'll find yourself hoping that magically there will be more chapters the next time you read it. If you are a fan of 'The Blindside' I think that not only will you love this book, you'll be blown away by it. My only wish is that Disney didn't get its hands on the movie rights to this excellent book and produce such a substandard movie. The book, and this story, deserved better.
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