Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Combine the long roll of a season with the constant buzz of futility, and it is no wonder that a player's search for divine guidance, if not intervention, knows no bounds - even among the best of them. Ken Griffey Jr. sold a car because every time he drove it to a game he failed to a get a hit. What seemed obvious to Griffey, “The car had no hits in it " , might suggest something else for those outside the lines.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa sometimes prints the names on his lineup card and other times writes in cursive. His pattern? Simple. If he prints and the team wins, he continues to print until they lose. Only then does he switch to cursive.
Larry Walker does virtually everything in a multiple of three, all in the name of good luck. How seriously does Mr. Walker take his commitment to the number three? His ex-wife got $3 million in the divorce settlement.
Jinxed relates the attempt by baseball players to put order into a game that often appears to have none. Why does a line drive drop in front an outfielder one day, and sail directly into his glove the next? Is it just a game of inches, or are there metaphysical forces at play? No one knows, but most players look for evidence of the latter and act accordingly.
Jinxed is a compilation of the often strange but true routines carried out by ballplayers, managers and coaches to keep themselves on the right side of whatever god favors base hits over lazy fly balls, and pitches that catch the corners over those that just miss. Compiled by editor Ken Leiker and baseball writers Bob Nightengale, Paul Hagen, Scott Miller, Jack Etkin, Alyson Footer, Hal McCoy, Mike Berardino and Bob Elliott, Jinxed is about paying attention to detail in a sport based on survival.
It’s about hope.