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The Greatest Summer: The Remarkable Story of Jim Bouton's Comeback to Major League Baseball Hardcover – 1979
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The subtitle tells you pretty much all you need to know about the subject: Bouton's successful attempt to make it back to the big leagues in 1978, after a seven-year layoff. The story was a big deal at the time, as his fame/infamy from the publication of Ball Four was still at a high point and nearly everyone involved with baseball, from commissioner to fans, had a strong opinion of both book and author. That freshness is missing 30 some-odd years later, but Pluto gives you a sense of it in his reporting.
And reporting is what you get here. Bouton, at the time at pains to avoid having his comeback attempt seem like a publicity stunt, did not cooperate with the writing of the book, and so there is little "inside" drama. It is all seen from the outside. In point of fact, this reads rather like an extended magazine profile. In another point of fact, frankly, it is extended a little longer than it needs to be as Pluto repeatedly touches on the same aspects of the comeback and what it meant to Bouton. Novella length might have served it better.
So, 30 years on, it is still a worthwhile read for those interested in Bouton, fans of comeback stories and baseball fans looking for a short, fairly breezy read. It is hardly essential on any front. Bouton's own books are more interesting overall; Pluto went on to write a number of terrific sports books, most of them better than this one. Still, if the subject strikes you as at all interesting, grab a used copy of this and enjoy it. I did and am no worse for it.