Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.95
  • Save: $2.75 (18%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 15 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
The Bullpen Gospels: A No... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The Bullpen Gospels: A Non-Prospect's Pursuit of the Major Leagues and the Meaning of Life Paperback – April 1, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 189 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.20
$3.70 $0.01

"The Baseball Whisperer: A Small-Town Coach Who Shaped Big League Dreams"
Read the real story of a legendary coach and the professional-caliber baseball program he built, where boys come summer after summer to be molded into ballplayers — and men. Learn more | See related selections
$12.20 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 15 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Bullpen Gospels: A Non-Prospect's Pursuit of the Major Leagues and the Meaning of Life
  • +
  • Out Of My League: A Rookie's Survival in the Bigs
  • +
  • Bigger Than the Game: Restitching a Major League Life
Total price: $39.92
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

One of the best baseball books ever written. --Keith Olbermann

Hilarious, Poignant, a really enjoyable read. --Bob Costas

A true picture of baseball. --Tim McCarver

Dirk Hayhurst has written a fascinating, funny and honest account on life in the minor leagues. I loved it. --Tim Kurkjian, Senior Writer, analyst/reporter ESPN television

The Bullpen Gospels is a rollicking good bus ride of a book. --Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated

Bull Durham meets Ball Four. --Ron Neyer, ESPN.com

Fascinating. . . a perspective that fans rarely see. --Trevor Hoffman, pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers

He has a message to deliver about the things that matter in life--and those that don't. And he offers sage observations about the nature of celebrity and ambition, forgiveness and family. . . . Mr. Hayhurst is already a writer, maybe even a major-league prospect. --Wall Street Journal

If Holden Caulfield could dial up his fastball to 90 mph, he might have written this funny, touching memoir about a ballplayer at a career--and life--crossroads. He might have called it 'Pitcher in the Rye.' Instead, he left it to Dirk Hayhurst, the only writer in the business who can make you laugh, make you cry and strike out Ryan Howard. --King Kaufman, Salon

The Bullpen Gospels is a funny bone-tickling, tear duct-stimulating, feel-good story that will leave die-hard baseball fans--and die-hard human beings, for that matter--well, feeling good. --Bob Mitchell, author of Once Upon a Fastball --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Best Baseball Autobiography Since Bouton?

Dirk Hayhurst's description of himself for the author's ID in his upcoming book The Bullpen Gospels reads in part, "Dirk is a former member of the San Diego Padres, and after this book gets printed, a former member of the Toronto Blue Jays."

I'm not sure he's correct. In fact, I'm not sure that in these times when so many fans feel like they're constantly having the wool pulled over their eyes by athletes ill-equipped for the attempt, if Hayhurst's constant honesty, his remarkable candor, his drumbeat of unadorned confessed self-doubt, and his seamless writing, won't resonate through the sport like the first true wonderful day of spring when the game and the weather finally reassure you that winter has been beaten back, at least for a season.

In fact, I'm not sure that he hasn't written the best baseball autobiography since Jim Bouton's Ball Four. For Hayhurst, who bombed as a starter for the Padres in 2008 and then showed promise out of the Jays' bullpen the season past, has written what Bouton wrote, and what a decade before Bouton, what Jim Brosnan wrote - a book that is seemingly about baseball but which, as you read further and further into it, is obviously much bigger than that. These are books about life: struggle, confusion, purpose, purposelessness, and the startling realization that achievement and failure are nearly-identical twins, one which gnaws and deadens, the other which just as often produces not elation but a tinny, empty sound.

Brosnan's achievement, in The Long Season and Pennant Race, was to introduce to a world which previously had no information of any kind on the subject, the concept of athlete as human being. What did he have to do when demoted, or traded? What happened when management changed? Was there a Mrs. Athlete, and could they share a martini now and again? (answer: You bet). 

Bouton's breakthrough was to show the concept of athlete as flawed human being. Too many martinis, some of them shared with women other than Mrs. Athlete. Athletes who might not have been geniuses on the field or off, but who seemed invariably managed and coached by men even less intelligent. The struggle to self-start as one's team sank from optimism, to contention, to inconsistency, to irrelevance, to embarrassment. And yet, were they enjoying themselves, did their lives change for the better, was being an athlete fun? (answer: You bet).

And now here is Hayhurst, who may single-handedly steer baseball away from the two decades-long vise grip of Sport-As-Skill-Development. Since my own childhood, we have ever-increasingly devalued every major leaguer but the superstar. Late in the last century we began to devalue every minor leaguer but the top draft choice. If you don't make it into somebody's Top Prospects list, you might as well not exist. Dirk Hayhurst is writing of his days, his months, his years, as far away from the Top Prospects lists as imaginable. He is, in The Bullpen Gospels, often the last man on an A-ball pitching staff, and trying to answer a series of successively worsening questions cascading from the simplest of them: Why?

This, of course, is why the book transcends the game. It's not just Dirk Hayhurst's existential doubt about whether he'll reach the majors or why he's still trying or if he shouldn't be helping the homeless instead of worrying about getting the last out of a seven-run inning. He is experiencing the crisis of reality through which we all pass, often daily: when our dreams about life crash head first into its realities, what the hell are we supposed to do then?

Thus The Bullpen Gospels is a baseball book the way "Is That All There Is?" is a Leiber-Stoller pop song by Peggy Lee from 1969. It is the primordial battle of hope and faith and inspiration versus disillusionment and rust and inertia.

Sounds pretty grim, doesn't it? But of course therein lies the delightful twist: like Brosnan and Bouton before him, Hayhurst repeatedly rediscovers the absurd hilarity of it all, and the book is consistently laugh-out-loud funny. And like all great artists, he pulls back curtains we never thought to investigate: from how assiduously minor leaguers debate which "Come-out songs" they will choose or which numbers they will wear, to the pecking order of seat locations on the ever-infamous bush league bus trip.

My favorite is probably the mechanics of something the average reader will have never heard of before, let alone have contemplated. It's "the host family" - the living arrangements by which the non-first-rounders survive their seasons in the minors. Hayhurst hilariously defines such temporary homes as ranging from Wackford Squeers' Dotheboys Hall, to the visitations from In Cold Blood.

It doesn't hurt that Hayhurst is a fluid and gifted writer, whose prose can take off like a jet and compel you to read for half an hour more than you have. He populates the pages of The Bullpen Gospels with teammates, some identified, some amalgamated, some under aliases - and if the book takes off, ripping the Hayhurstian masks off the more colorful ones may become a low-key hobby after the book is published on March 30th.

The reaction will be fascinating to see. In 1970, my father endured my clamoring and bought Ball Four and read it himself before handing it to me: "I know you know all these words. Just don't use them around the house. Read this carefully, there's a lot of truth in here." But ever since, we fans have been bombarded for decades by altered versions of truth, all of them writ large and desperately trying to impress us with their essential-ness. Baseball books have tended to focus only on the big, and to try to make it bigger still. We've gone from the unlikely accuracy of Jose Canseco's slimy indictment of the steroid era, through the analyze-all-the-damn-fun-out-of-the-game-why-don't-you tone of Moneyball and its imitators, through what may in retrospect be seen as a Hayhurst-precursor in Matt McCarthy's fraudulent Odd Man Out, through dozens of historical works insisting everything that has ever happened in baseball has re-shaped the nation - Jackie Robinson (yes), the 1951 N.L. pennant race (very possibly), the 1912 World Series (no way).

Here, instead, will be a modest book by a modest relief pitcher who has appeared in the modest total of 25 major league games presenting what the modest author thinks (incorrectly) is only modest truth. He has yet to get his own major league baseball card and as I write this there are exactly two of his souvenirs available on eBay and one of them is a photo for $6.99 ("Or Best Offer"). His preface warns you if you seek scandal or steroids, look elsewhere, and the only bold face name in the whole 340 pages, Trevor Hoffman, comes across as a low-key gentleman.

And yet there in the prologue Hayhurst offers a key to what he has written and why, self-guidance to which he sticks pretty neatly: "I also believe there is more to the game than just baseball. For all the great things baseball is, there are some things it is absolutely not. And that is what this story is all about."

Of course, just as Bouton's exposure of the real flaws of the real men who played baseball in 1969 made them even more appealing than the phony deities into which they'd been transformed, the great things are made somehow greater by how well Hayhurst contextualizes them, how honestly he tells his story, and how vividly he takes us inside his world.

-- Keith Olbermann 

(edited by author)
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel; Original edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806531436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806531434
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Ahrens on March 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
One of the greatest baseball books of modern times hit North America's books stores this week. Shockingly, it was written by a guy who was more interested in growing up to be Trevor Hoffman, not Peter Gammons. Those aren't my words. They are the opening sentences of ESPN baseball analyst Jayson Stark's review of The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst.

The book is receiving rave reviews not only for its baseball-related content, but also for Hayhurst's pained, personal story. But don't be confused. This story is neither an over-the-top expose on today's players, nor a "aw shucks" feel-good tale. In fact, it is not easy to put this book into a single category.

The book centers around the 2007 season when Hayhurst moves between different levels of the San Diego Padres minor league system. Hayhurst use pseudonyms and composite characters (e.g. Pickles, Rosco, Slappy, & Maddog) to protect his teammates' identifies. This is raw stuff, some times cringe-worthy, sophomorphic fun, other times cringe-worthy pain, delivered in machine gun bursts by a gifted writer. A particular passage about an octopus copulating a bagpipe had me laughing so hard I couldn't catch my breath.

Bullpen is compelling because of the style, or "voice" with which it is written. Hayhurst's style is disarmingly conversatinal and self-deprecating; exposing the reader to the lighter side of baseball, but also to his inner most fears and demons. He does so in a manner that makes you feel like you are in the room with him and his teammates shooting the breeze. The style draws you in, his stories are intoxicating, and the result is a spellbinding read.

The grit and realism starts right from the prologue.

"I was the team's long relief man.
Read more ›
1 Comment 55 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have a very large collection of baseball books , and this is one of my favorites. I had been waiting for it ever since I heard an interview with the author, Dirk Hayhurst, 6 or 8 weeks ago. What a gem! It is a rare "baseball book" that even nonfans will love, but this is it. I started reading it while getting ready for work the first day after it arrived. When I glanced up at a clock, I noticed it was over an hour later! I have never been that engrossed. I cover a minor league team for a radio station and maybe have a little better feel for some of the things these guys experience, but no one (even in Ball Four) quite captured the emotional roller coaster players experience, especially when they are not always successful. More importantly, Dirk gave us a lot of insight into how easy it is to lose your "humanity" when you put on a jersey. I will never forget the stories he tells about walking in a homeless man's shoes and fulfilling a dying child's greatest wish by bringing him into the bullpen. I cried a bucket of tears not just from the sheer pathos of some of the stories but also because some of the stories are absolutely hilarious. Hayhurst has this incredibly self-effacing honesty that is so refreshing. Thank God, English majors sometimes wind up playing baseball! When his baseball career is over, Dirk Hayhurst could have a great career as a writer or cartoonist (another field in which he dabbles). I am glad that this long reliever (aka "mopup guy") in the bullpen had a lot of time on his hands to take notes that became this book.
Comment 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've known a few former minor league ballplayers in my life and have told them how envious I am of anyone who can tell their children and grandchildren that "I used to play baseball for a living" and have always been somewhat surprised when none of them ever seemed to share my enthusiasm. I never understood why none of them seemed as excited about their careers as I was.

After reading Hayhurst's book I now understand. To the overwhelming majority of minor leaguers, professional baseball only represented Failure. Obviously, most of them never make it to the bigs dispite their best efforts.

Few of us have to live with the reality of failing at something we dedicated so much time and effort to, but that is the reality of most minor league ballplayers.

We 'civilians' see them as guys who were playing baseball for a living when the rest of us were doing 9-5 jobs. Most of these guys wind up dead broke and have to start life all over again in their late 20's looking for a 9-5 job.

Hayhurst is a great writer with a great future. I would've given this book 5 stars but for the fact that he seemed to dwell a little too much about his personal problems which were no different than anybody else's problems. A couple of times I found myself thinking "welcome to the world, Dirk". At the same time, I couldn't put the book down.
Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To call this a baseball book does the author a disservice. Hayhurst is a baseball player, but more importantly, he's a real person, and he tells the story through the framework of minor league baseball. The writing in the book is powerful, and I found myself laughing out loud at parts while nearly in tears at others. I couldn't help but walk away from the book with a shift in perspective. Technology has made it easier to follow baseball teams and careers, but it has also made it easy to reduce players down to a stat line and a scouting description. Hayhurst shows us the story of one person behind those numbers, and the places where his story intersects with others.

I pre-ordered the book and anxiously awaited for it to appear on my Kindle. Once it did, I picked it up and didn't stop until I had finished the book. Now I can't wait for a follow-up to this outstanding work. The writing is exceptional, with a good sense of pacing and flow.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Bullpen Gospels: A Non-Prospect's Pursuit of the Major Leagues and the Meaning of Life
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Bullpen Gospels: A Non-Prospect's Pursuit of the Major Leagues and the Meaning of Life