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Man on Spikes (Writing Baseball) Paperback – April 24, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Writing Baseball
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press; 1st edition (April 24, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809321904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809321902
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One of baseball writing's best utility men, Asinof is justly famed for Eight Men Out, his masterful exploration of the tragic events that led to the surreal stain of the 1919 Black Sox scandal; it is a deservedly enduring work of baseball nonfiction. Asinof's first literary at-bat, though, was in the fictional league. Man on Spikes--long out of print until that egregious error was rectified with the debut of Southern Illinois University Press's Writing Baseball series--is about as unromantically clear-eyed a look at baseball as exists in the genre. Its hero is a journeyman ballplayer named Mike Kutner, based, intriguingly, on a real journeyman ballplayer named Mickey Rutner, who Asinof played minor league ball with, and who, in one of the game's cosmic jokes, winds up on the same page as Babe Ruth in the alphabetical listings of The Baseball Encyclopedia.

Kutner, like Rutner, is never quite good enough to stick in the Majors, but his dream of making it allows ownership to abuse and exploit his talent for the 16 seasons after he signs his first contract. Dreams die hard, and sports dreams die particularly hard; Asinof works this theme beautifully, until, in the end, Kutner can finally hang up his spikes and hold onto something more tangible than reverie: sustaining love. This is a novel bursting with passion, understanding, and the insight of someone who's played the game and can translate its feelings without filtering them through rose-colored flip-ups. --Jeff Silverman

Review

"Like the glove work of Cal Ripken, Jr., which looks easy till you try it and fall on your can, the writing of Eliot Asinof looks so easy that you don't realize he has conveyed an entire milieu in the life story of a very ordinary man with one special talent and an all-consuming love for his sport. Then you discover that you're having trouble reading the page because of the mist in your eyes and the tension in your chest." —Harlan Ellison, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review


"Out of print for nearly 30 years, this classic baseball novel by the author of Eight Men Out realistically portrays the trials of a career bush leaguer who struggles for nearly two decades before finally making it to the major leagues. Many critics regard this book to be among the finest examples of sports fiction ever written."  
USA Today Baseball Weekly


"[A] serious baseball novel, lucidly and dramatically written."—Douglas Wallop, New York Herald Tribune
 
"The truest novel I've ever read is Man on Spikes."—Jimmy Cannon,
New York Post

"I hope that all baseball fans who like to read books will read Man on Spikes."  —James T. Farrell, New York Post

"[A] plain and honest book, the first realistic novel I can remember having read." —John Lardner, New York Times


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David A. Moyer on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Baseball fans everywhere are flocking to warm weather to watch their favorite teams and players get ready for yet another season. If they are smart, they will take Man on Spikes with them to read on the planes and in the hotels. Man on Spikes is somewhat overlooked in the lexicon of great baseball fiction, but it's time to correct that. Eliot Asinof, who wrote Eight Men Out, tells a terrific story from mulitple points of view of young Mike Kutner's quest to make the major leagues. This book is for all of us grown up kids and aging dreamers out there.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a must-read book! Very well written and insightful. It gives a realistic view of baseball in America as opposed to the usual romantic view presented in other books and films.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books I have read with baseball as it's central focus. It is a grity story of one ballplayer's long time struggles in the minor leagues trying to make it to the majors. I would strongly recommend this title to anyone interested in baseball!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Noel Schraufnagel on April 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
A classic of baseball literature, first published in 1955, Eliot Asinof's "Man on Spikes" is a grimly realistic portrait of the fictional Mike Kutner--a lifetime minor leaguer. His baseball career is delineated in fourteen episodic chapters--each with a different narrator. Kutner has more determination than skill, and he fails his only big league test with the Chicago Lions at the age of thirty-five. The owner of the Lions, Jim Mellon, refuses to give the outfielder a chance with the parent club until it is too late. In the meantime, Kutner had lost valuable years serving in World War II. The author stresses the concept of indentured servitude in which players like Kutner were victimized by the business of baseball--long before the free agency era. One chapter, "The Negro," deals with a black teammate, Ben Franks. He and Kutner discuss the significance of Jackie Robinson's integration of major league ball--a rarity in baseball fiction at the time. Only Bliss Perry's "The Plated City" (1895), Murrell Edmunds' "Behold, Thy Brother" (1950), and Mark Harris' "The Southpaw" (1953) had touched on the problem of race in the professional game up to this point.
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