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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rip-snorting baseball yarn
Peter Schilling, Jr.'s inventive novel "The End of Baseball" describes a mesmerizing 1944 baseball season that might have been - if Bill Veeck had been able to purchase a major league team and recruit an entire team of Negro Leaguer stars.

Veeck loses a leg at Guadalcanal. Before enlisting in the Marines, he had been a successful minor league baseball team...
Published on April 28, 2008 by Denis Telgemeier

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The End of the Book: Disappointing
If you buy this book with the hope of feeling good when you finish it, don't buy it. If you buy it thinking it will truly reflect how good the best of the old Negro League stars would have been, and would have definitely destroyed their major league competition (which was weakened by star players who were drafted to serve in WWII), you will be disappointed...
Published 10 months ago by David L.


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rip-snorting baseball yarn, April 28, 2008
By 
Denis Telgemeier (Pleasanton, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The End of Baseball: A Novel (Hardcover)
Peter Schilling, Jr.'s inventive novel "The End of Baseball" describes a mesmerizing 1944 baseball season that might have been - if Bill Veeck had been able to purchase a major league team and recruit an entire team of Negro Leaguer stars.

Veeck loses a leg at Guadalcanal. Before enlisting in the Marines, he had been a successful minor league baseball team owner whose innovative promotions lured fans to the ballpark and whose competitive teams kept them coming back for more.

In "The End of Baseball," Veeck returns to civilian life and purchases the Philadelphia Athletics. He turns the ball club into an instant contender by secretly signing Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Oscar Charleston, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell, Willie Wells, Roy Campanella, and other Negro League stars.

The book contains many poignant moments on and off the field. To his credit - and to our good fortune! -- Schilling provides the historical and social perspective the story demands. He captures the essence of the men and the game they play for life and, perhaps, death.

In real life, Veeck owned the Cleveland Indians and signed the American League's first black player, Larry Doby, and also Satchel Paige. He had less talent to work with on his St. Louis Browns ball club, so he grabbed the spotlight by sending a midget to the plate. When he owned the Chicago White Sox, Veeck put player names on the backs of uniforms and introduced the exploding scoreboard. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Baseball was America's Pastime, June 7, 2008
This review is from: The End of Baseball: A Novel (Hardcover)
Peter Schilling brings back the game of baseball complete with the personalities, the idiosyncrasies, the after hours stories and all of the fun that this sport once had. This is an amazing novel that just sucks you in and doesn't let go. I couldn't wait to find time every day to continue my reading. It is somewhat unique in its use of historic information and mixing of baseball story fiction. In it, Schilling has captured an era in the sport just as African Americans are beginning to be "allowed" into the game. But in this story, not just one Black ballplayer is in the Majors, an entire team is being moved up.

Schilling has written an enjoyable and moving story that shows many of the great Negro League players coming together and playing in the Major Leagues on the same team: Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige among them. The antics of Bill Veech Jr. contribute to the main storyline and how the difficulties from the all White league and their overbearing Commissioner continually throw up barriers to the entry of this special team on the hallowed Fields.

In addition to the game of baseball, the societal ills of the general population and the mind games of J Edgar Hoover, himself, are all part of the plot. This is a slice of Americana; America going through the pain of WWII with their boys of summer as their only distraction. Only this summer has the potential of bringing out real change for the sport. Bill Veech, Jr., is the man trying against all odds, fictitious and historic, to keep the team together against the powers of baseball and others desperately trying to keep the status quo. This is a baseball story for the ages. A terrifically different novel for anyone tired of the same old stuff.

I was amazed at how perfectly interwoven truth and fiction were done by Schilling. The character studies are on target and made a part of the story blurring the lines of fact and fiction like nothing I'd ever read in the world of baseball writing. The ending is beautiful and fulfilling. I am giving it my hearty recommendation of 5 stars. There just isn't much not to like.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel, whether you're a baseball fan or not, April 27, 2008
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This review is from: The End of Baseball: A Novel (Hardcover)
This book has it all: the high drama of a "what if?" season of baseball, historical cameos, and real social commentary. If you're looking for an always-entertaining page turner, look no further. The End of Baseball simulates what it's like to be swept up in a particularly thrilling baseball season in 1943, and reading it is like having a spot in the bleachers to watch the team that almost was. It has subtle character studies, and closely observed details that summon up that time and place: America as a country in the midst of WWII, the African American baseball community prior to Civil Rights. It will keep you up nights reading!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good summer read for fans of baseball, history, and great storytelling., April 24, 2008
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This review is from: The End of Baseball: A Novel (Hardcover)
I do not consider myself a baseball fan, but this is a superlative read. Peter Schilling's electric account of what might have been had Bill Veeck managed to integrate a major league baseball team in 1944 is full of vivid characters and amazing events. Schilling relates his story so energetically that it's almost as if you were there in the park.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fiction that happens to be about baseball, May 13, 2008
This review is from: The End of Baseball: A Novel (Hardcover)
I am not a baseball fan or what you would call a sports fan by any stretch of the imagination, but Peter Schilling's "The End of Baseball" is one of the most enjoyable pieces of fiction I have read in many years.

Mr. Schilling knows how to engage his reader with detailed characterizations that enable his characters to escape their paper home and emerge from the pages as human beings that make you both laugh and cry -- and that's just what I found myself doing.

Mr. Schilling does not talk down to his audience and his plot advances with subtlety and suspense. The story unfolds with many surprises, heartbreaks, and hurrahs.

There are no gimmicks or mechanical gods to save the day in "The End of Baseball". Only genuine people trying to live through extraordinary circumstances.

I give it my highest recommendation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What If....., June 24, 2010
By 
Brkat (Southeast, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The End of Baseball: A Novel (Hardcover)
Every baseball enthusiast enamored with its history has always imagined what it might have been like if the major leaguers of the old segregated white leagues had to play against the best players of the old Negro Leagues. Author Peter Schilling gives a highly entertaining fictional account of such an event.

Baseball maverick Bill Veeck purchases the Philadelphia Athletics and must turn them into a winner in order to retain ownership. But with a dirth of quality players due to WWII, Veech decides to replace all of the team's white players with the legendary stars of the Negro Leagues. Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Roy Campanella, Martin Dihigo, Willie Wells, et al. become part of this fantastic collection of players. Against the backdrop of a racist America, this eclectic collection of players perform at their theatrical best. Enlightening is how Schilling characterizes each player's unique persona - Satchel Paige overly confident and self-centered; Josh Gibson with his demons; rising young star Roy Campanella's insecurities; the list goes on.

Lots of baseball action as well as a great storyline. "The End of Baseball" is a tremendous what-could-have-been fictional account of what-should-have-been. Anyone who loves the game of baseball has to have this book as part of his baseball library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Revision to Baseball History, March 29, 2010
It's a sad commentary of American history that the game of baseball - our National Pastime - kept some of its greatest players out of the limelight because of the color of their skin. In 1947, the gradual change began with Jackie Robinson breaking through in Brooklyn; it's no coincidence that the Dodgers became the National League's best team over the course of the next decade.

Even with Robinson's obvious talent manifested by his Rookie of the Year honors, along with frequent trips to the All-Star game; the fact of the matter is, he should've made it to the big leagues way before 1947. Sadly, players like Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell never even got there at all.

In a wonderfully poignant blend of fiction with real life characters, Peter Schilling has painted a picture of what would happen if the lilly white world of major league baseball had become integrated a tad bit earlier; while World War II was raging, and many of the game's players were spending the 1944 season fighting for our freedom.

That's an incredible backdrop to this fascinating story; throw in the antics of Bill Veeck pitted against the racist hierarchy of major league baseball, and you've got a bittersweet revision to the game's history. Whether you're a fan of the game or simply a person fascinated with our nation's history, you'll love reading this wonderful novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling historical baseball novel, February 16, 2010
By 
This review is from: The End of Baseball: A Novel (Hardcover)
Peter Schilling, Jr. has written a first novel that furnishes an extra-base hit. Indeed, this novel wins the game!

The book is published by Ivan R. Dee, the well-known Chicago house which has issued a steady stream of fine books about the history of baseball. As I understand it, this is the first novel published by this house.

The author possesses a deeply rooted appreciation of mid-twentieth century baseball history. Indeed, I would recommend that readers of this novel also turn their attention to Jules Tygiel's masterful book "Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy," expanded edition (Vintage, 2007). The two books -- one fiction and the other historical narrative -- fit together like hand-in-glove.

"The End of Baseball" focuses on the 1944 season. Bill Veeck -- a real-life figure -- has purchased the hapless Philadelphia Athletics. He transforms them -- this was a dream of his in real life -- into an all-black team, stocked with the likes of Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, Ray Danridge, and Roy Campanella, among others. We also are provided with close-ups of Judge Landis, the baseball commissioner, and J. Edgar Hoover. One of the key dimensions of the novel is the role accorded to Campanella, who is real life seemed to tempermentally recede into the background because of the omnipresent of Jackie Robinson. In real life, it should be clarified, Veeck sought to acquire the Philadelphia Phillies and to stock his roster with the same players Schilling relies upon for his fictionalized Athletics.

Mr. Schilling takes us around the American League circuit during that season, explaining how the Athletics were received in cities as different as Detroit, Chicago, and St. Louis.

All the while the baseball season is unfolding, which in and of itself Schilling masterfully narrates. Read it for yourself to discover the outcome. All that this reviewer will reveal is that the author had this reader hanging on each pitch, inning after inning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What could have been, January 21, 2010
This review is from: The End of Baseball: A Novel (Hardcover)
This is a very interesting fictionalized story about Bill Veeck and the great Negro League stars. If only things had been different and integration of the major leagues (not to mention society) could have taken place earlier. A good, fast-paced read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "It's always easier for the next guy. Only it isn't as much fun." (3.5 stars), October 23, 2009
By 
J. Green (Los Angeles, California) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The End of Baseball: A Novel (Hardcover)
According to baseball lore, a flamboyant investor/owner named Bill Veeck tried to purchase the Philadelphia Phillies in 1942, planning to staff the team entirely with stars from the Negro League (this was back in the days when baseball was racially segregated). Veeck claimed that Baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis refused to allow him to buy the team. But... what if it *had* happened?

Everyone knows the names of Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio, Ty Cobb, Lou Gherig. But fewer know Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, "Cool Papa" Bell, Buck Leonard, Martín Dihigo - all of them in the Baseball Hall of Fame. What if you were able to sign those guys - every bit as fantastic as the better known white players (and sometimes more so) - and play them on a single team? Would they win? Could they lose?

That's the premise behind this book - that Veeck had compiled a team of some of the greatest Negro League baseball players for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1944. It seemed like a sure-fire way to success... except it's not that simple. Racism is a big part of the story; the difficulties Veeck faces with Judge Landis, other teams, fans at home and around the league. I enjoyed the beginning as the team is coming together, and was reminded of Kadir Nelson's beautifully illustrated We Are the Ship, which I continually referenced to remember names. The middle, however, had almost no action and the realistic problems faced by the team were no fun reading whatsoever. I quit reading it for a while but eventually came back to it, and the last 50 pages or so were much more exciting as the season winds down.

There's not a lot of play-action in the book, and what there is is very episodic. The men are portrayed as foul-mouthed and gritty, which is presumably realistic. Nonetheless, you can't help but cheer for them and hope for their success. It's just a "what if," but if you can get through the middle, the ending is pretty good (4 stars might be a bit generous, though).
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The End of Baseball: A Novel
The End of Baseball: A Novel by Peter Schilling (Hardcover - March 7, 2008)
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