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Showing 1-10 of 12 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 27 reviews
on June 22, 2009
Just finished reading "Heart of the Game" by S.L. Price. This is the story of Mike Coolbaugh, the Tulsa Drillers (Rockies AA team) coach who was killed by a foul ball in 2007. I had heard it was a good read, but that's doing this book a massive disservice. This is probably the best baseball (or for that matter, the best sports) book I've ever read. It focuses on Mike Coolbaugh, obviously, but it also focuses on Tino Sanchez, the guy who hit the foul ball, and how their lives came together for that day. There are side stories of the guy who threw the pitch, and also from the team trainer who felt responsible for not being able to save Coolbaugh (although there was nothing he could have done - Coolbaugh was a dead man from the instant the ball hit him, literally).

This is a VERY intense read at times, so be prepared. I guarantee you won't put it down when you start the last few chapters. But I strongly recommend you pay the $15 or so and buy the book.

By the way, lest you think this is just a tear-jerker (and sure, it does get emotional - how could it NOT?), it's also a very deep look at the way baseball works, how the minor leagues really work, how people are identified and pigeonholed early in their careers, that sort of thing. I learned lots of things I never had thought about. And the interesting thing is, a fair part of it mentions names familiar to any Rockies fan, because of the time Sanchez spent in the Rockies organization: Hurdle, Holliday, Christian Colonel, and so on.
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on October 23, 2013
Admittedly, you have to be a fan of baseball to read and appreciate this gripping book. On its surface, the story appears tragic--a first-base coach is struck and killed by a line-drive foul ball-but the true story, told and detailed very well, is about the intersection of two lives, of a player and a coach destined, it seemed, to play out their baseball existence in the lower rungs of baseball's corporate structure.

As the (2013) World Series commences, we're made aware of the superstars of America's favorite game and their astronomical salaries. But the real story of baseball can be found in the smaller, minor-league parks where "prospects" and "lifers" and the also-rans play the game and sometimes, tragically, die.

Get this book. It goes a long way toward explaining the hold this wonderful game of baseball has on those of us who call ourselves fans.
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on May 20, 2014
A friend of mine who played in the minor leagues was telling me about a former teammate named Coolbaugh who was killed by a line drive during a game, ,wanting to learn more about the incident, I researched it and found this book. What a read. Although this book is about Mike Coolbaugh, the tragedy, and the lives it affected, It also goes into detail about the inner workings and politics of the minor league system, it's players, coaches, culture, and how tough it is to make it into the big leagues when in reality, the players have no control over their destinies.
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on September 3, 2010
Price recounts the lives and events leading to the tragic death on the baseball diamond of Mike Coolbaugh. Well researched and well documented. I was amazed at how many details he was able to get from a variety of people about their lives and events leading up to and surrounding the event. I was surprised some of them wanted to discuss this is such detail so soon after the event.
I also bought the book to read more about minor league baseball and the lives and tribulations of minor leaguers. I am interested, quite often, in reading about people and athletes who fail to make the highest level, and understand their failures, feelings, and frustrations. The book recounts much of this very well. The minor leagues are a part of baseball that many people don't know much about, including those who live in cities and towns that are home to minor league teams, as I have several times.
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on February 7, 2010
I wasnt sure if I was going to be interested enough in this story to want to read an entire book on it but I was pleasantly surprised. I remember when it happened but reading in detail everything before and after it was fascinating. The story focuses mostly on Mike Coolbaugh but it also tells the story about Tino Sanchez and especially what he went thru after the tragedy. It is also interesting about Mike's brother Scott who was also a minor league player at the time. This is a really interesting read and I was a little surprised at the ending when the families finally met after the tragedy.
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on April 18, 2011
This is the best sports book I've ever read. S.L. Price tells the tragic story of Mike Coolbaugh from the perspective of his wife, family, former teammates, coaches, etc. It opened my eyes as to how important it is to be drafted in the early rounds of the Major League Baseball draft to have even a small chance of making the majors.

I wasn't expecting coverage of the career and feelings of the player whose line drive felled Coolbaugh. S.L. Price covered all of the bases. This book should be made into a motion-picture.
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on June 4, 2011
Great book, & not just for sports fans!! Once I picked this book up & started reading it, it was hard to put down!! The author gets the reader involved in the characters without slowing the pace down. Shows BOTH sides of this tragedy and how the heartache cuts to both camps. Great read, don't miss it!!
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on June 17, 2013
The story is beautiful and tells how a great family man died much too soon. I live in Little Rock and am a lifelong baseball fan, so this story was doubly tragic.
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on May 26, 2009
On July 22, 2007 during a minor league baseball game in an Arkansas stadium in North Little Rock... journeyman ball player and current coach Mike Coolbaugh was killed when hit by a line drive foul ball while coaching first base. According to doctors later that night... he was killed instantly. Tino Sanchez another minor league veteran... and a member of Mike's very own team... was the batter... that circumstance... and some actually say... that a power above us all... preordained his involvement... in this horrific moment in time. Most readers who have purchased this book will have already known of the tragic outcome. But if you don't... you will be told... in the first five minutes of this book. Where the author goes from here... and the manner in which he does it... slowly... and assuredly... envelops the reader... in such a way... that the power... the beauty... and your sensitivity... is more about real compassion for the deceased... the batter... and both their families... than about the game of baseball.

Mike Coolbaugh was really much more than a journeyman... he was what would be described with the utmost respect as a minor league "LIFER". Sure he dreamed every day of his life about being a Major League ballplayer... and he actually played forty-four games in the big leagues. BUT... "HE HIT TWO-HUNDRED-FIFTY-EIGHT PROFESSIONAL HOME RUNS, (TWO IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES.) PLAYED FOR NINE DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ON NINETEEN DIFFERENT TEAMS, TRADED SEVENTEEN YEARS OF HIS LIFE TO PLAY IN JUST FORTY-FOUR MAJOR LEAGUE GAMES." Mike had finally come to grips with the fact that he should give up playing and end his chase for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow at the conclusion of the previous season. He then begged and pleaded his way back into the game he loved as a coach. Mike was a loving husband and Father... and unlike every other minor league baseball book I have read... he didn't run around on his wife... instead... he called home every night... he left love notes hidden all over the house when he went on the road... and boy did he love being a Father.

Tino Sanchez was born in Puerto Rico and raised from infancy with but one thing in mind... to be a Major League ballplayer. Like Mike and thousands of other "wanta-be's" he was a big star wherever he played... until he got into professional baseball. Tino had now spent over a decade bouncing around the minors... and he too... had finally accepted that he wasn't going to be a Major Leaguer. His epiphany led him to look towards coaching as his playing career was petering out, so he helped all the players and coaches anyway he could. When Mike crumbled and died on the ground near first base... in front of all the players and the fans... even though Tino was in the batter's box... Tino got to Mike first. It's indescribable what the reader as well as the participants feel for the newly dead AND the living. The author takes the reader by the hand through each man's life... and the effect of this tragic death on Tino... his family... and Mike's family. A "vice-like" literary grip encompasses your heart... when the surviving Coolbaugh family confronts their pain and their desire to rid Tino of any blame in Mike's death... and when Tino shares with the reader the inner demons he is attempting to live with.


This book will definitely take a part of yours!
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on October 9, 2009
This is a very inspiring true story about the way a young family tries to cope with the tragic death of the young father and husband. So many lessons can be learned from the compassion that his widow shows toward the young player who hit the ball. It's too easy to forget the guilt that survivors of a tragic accident can feel. This book is a keeper!
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