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Dollar Sign on the Muscle: The World of Baseball Scouting Paperback – November 6, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
The book had a more significant impact on me than the trip to Washington did. It was astonishing to me that books like this existed in the world. When we returned, I raided all the narrative nonfiction books about sports from the Palm Beach County library. Most of them weren't so great, but I did, by way of this search, find my way to George Plimpton, Gay Talese, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, etc., which set me on a lifetime course of better and more fulfilling reading.
I recently reread Dollar Sign on the Muscle, and it's better, actually, than I remembered. It's a historical document, now. The scouts and the world of old-time baseball men belong largely to the past. The era of Theo Epstein and Billy Beane, with its emphasis on all things quantifiable, is probably good for baseball, but it's not terribly romantic.
But that's not what makes the book so good. It's the knack Kerrane has for rendering his characters whole. You feel like you know these guys, you know what makes them tick, you know what it's like to spend an afternoon with them, you know what they want, need, desire, what makes their hearts beat hard. Many of Kerrane's old scouts are likely dead now, but in the pages of Dollar Sign on the Muscle, they live and breathe like they did then.
Perhaps with time, this book will find its way into print again. I hope so. Meantime, see if you can find a used copy somewhere. It'll be worth whatever it costs you, I promise.
People often comment on the millions earned by baseball players. The scouts, by contrast, must work for love of the game. (The starting salary in 1981 was about $18,000; a veteran scout earned about $25,000). Scouts also work hard; some spend 45 weeks per year on the road. Unsurprisingly, the job is very hard on family life.
Dollar Sign focuses on long-time scouts. Most of the veterans in the book started well before the amateur draft, at a time when prospective players could sign with the team of their choice. Many of the old timers lament the changes in baseball (and - in particular - in scouting) through the years. The tensions between the independent-minded, veteran scouts who sign players based on intuition and the number-crunching, "corporate," younger scouts is a major focus in the book.
I first heard of this book when Sports Illustrated listed it as one of the 100 best sports books of all time. After reading Dollar Sign, I think that the ranking was well deserved. Kerrane f came up with a real rarity - a unique sports book.
This book reflects a huge amount of research, but comes across with an easygoing quality, wearing its scholarship lightly.
It's unfortunate that it's out of print, and that used copies are so expensive. But if you can find one for a reasonable price you wouldn't be disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book. Especially enjoyed the parts about Branch Rickey. So many of the great baseball minds got their start as a scout. Read morePublished 6 months ago by George S. Todd
Good read. Definitely dated. I found it quite humorous. I bought the book for my boys because it has a small snippet of my late father in law.Published 15 months ago by C. Proulx
It was satisfactory - looking forward to reading the updated versionPublished 15 months ago by Kathleen A Colgan
Excellently written book about the little known world of the professional baseball scout. Particularly enjoyable for me since the Philadelphia Phillies are referenced numerous... Read morePublished 15 months ago by John Leonard
Absolutely fascinating stories about how Scouts over the years pick-up new talent and what they look for. Can't put the book down!Published 16 months ago by Marlene F. Evans
As a CUb fan, Great! Knew some of the ushers mentioned in this book.Published 18 months ago by maryann murphy