- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (May 1, 1971)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452260302
- ISBN-13: 978-0452260306
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. Paperback – May 1, 1971
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Top Customer Reviews
As the synopsis above no doubt suggests, this story begs to be read as an allegory. One might read it as an allegory of God's relation to His creation. Henry, like God, is a creator who appears to have complete control over his creation, and yet, like God, his creation comes to take on a life of its own. When terrible things occur, he desperately wants to step in and set things right, but he also wants the game to retain its integrity. So Henry is like God in that he remains outside his creation even though it seems he could sometimes intervene to set things right. (Indeed, some of the game's players are said to have some sense of a higher power controlling their destiny.) One might also read Henry's relation to his game as an allegory of man's attempt to make sense of his world through art, religion, science, philosophy, etc. All that's really going on is the random event of rolling the dice, as, in some sense, all that's really going on in the universe is certain random physical events.Read more ›
The novel's set-up is an appealing one. J. Henry Waugh (whose initials read YAHWEH) took eight of the original post-Civil War major league franchises, populated them entirely with players of his own invention, and evolved his league through dozens of seasons via a tabletop, dice-activated baseball game of his own design. The league begins to consume his life in its 56th season -- and his 56th year. It sounds fun to take on a project like this. Indeed, on the Internet you can even find recreations of the UBA charts as J. Henry Waugh may have designed them.
As the book goes on, however, progressively fewer paragraphs are devoted to the point of view of our protagonist. Rather, Henry's players -- unaware of his very existence -- begin to do all the talking for him. The slide begins innocently enough: Henry leaves work a few minutes early one Wednesday afternoon so he can reread the boxscore of a perfect game one of "his" rookies pitched the night before. While reading, he imagines the past greats of his league telling stories about the early years. In one of the book's funnier moments, one of those old-time players is suddenly cut off in mid-quote when Henry realizes that the man in question is, in fact, dead.
Thus we learn more about Henry's league: His players live full lives after retirement from the playing field, and can even marry, have children, and die.Read more ›
To escape from reality into a world of imagination is regarded as endearing and encouraging in children - in adults, it seems pathetic and disturbing. As the novel progresses, we see how far Henry has taken his obsession: he concocts life stories for the players, composes songs supposedly popular in the alternate reality inhabited by the UBA, conducts pretend interviews, writes newspaper articles, lines his shelves with record books, and even conflates events of his own life with the lives of the players - and vice versa. What could drive a man to do all this? Certainly not a love for the game. In fact, Henry admits that real baseball bores him. Possible explanations seem to be desire for control, intense boredom, overwhelming feelings of isolation, or simply inability to mature and face the problems of adult life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting - a really neat postmodern story but ultimately lost interest. There are some sci-fi novels which seem to do the life as a simulation or game thing betterPublished 8 days ago by TheloniusMick
Ahead of its time. If you play a lot of fantasy sports you might like this book even more.Published 3 months ago by Adam Caleb Goldberg
Old time baseball feel. That exists only in one man's mind. Epic!Published 8 months ago by Timber7676
This is one of the best American novels of all time. "Sexual" and "violence" are minor incidents that help readers better understand the main character's lonely... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Al Oickle
This was described as must-read by a friend so I had to buy it. Interesting concept for a book. I could have survived without it. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Wonk
I read this book in a graduate school English class and was captivated. Bought this as a gift for a friend who is an avid baseball (live and fantasy) fan.Published 22 months ago by Mary Corey