The Life and Loves of an Athlete
Description of the Novel
From the time he is ten years old, Connor Scanlon hopes to be a professional baseball player. Helped by neighbor Art Canfield, a former professional catcher, he develops a fine pitching style in high school. A baseball scholarship eventually takes him to the College World Series in Omaha, where he shines. Upon entering the ranks of professional baseball, he finds himself confronted by the reserve clause.
Connor decides to challenge the rules of the game and becomes as well known for his legal interests as well as for his ability to throw strikes. Along the way Connor encounters several female admirers, who soon learn that he can pitch more than a baseball. No playboy, he takes his romantic adventures as seriously as he takes the sport in which he excels. He finds rewards that exceed his expectations both on and off the field.
There are no real teams in this novel. As an author I did not want to invite comparisons with real teams or players. Only one real player, Ted Williams, is mentioned, and the point was to point out a little known fact about one of the games greatest hitters—that he was the first Hispanic superstar. His mother was Mexican. Connor's best friend and teammate in college, Miguel Mendoza, is Mexican, and he admires Willams, as do most Mexican fans in real life. Hence the mention of the Red Sox legend.
Like the teams he plays for, the college he attends is imaginary, although some of the facts about college basball are accurate and true to life, as is the College World Series in Omaha.
The reserve clause in baseball that existed for years is part of the story. Connor struggles with it, as did many real players. The reserve clause meant that once a player signed with a team, he was their property unless or until they relased him. Challenged in the 1960s, it was finally abolished in 1975 when free agency took over.
The Women in Connor's Life
Marjorie Scanlon. Connor's kind and loving mother protects him from the unpleasant, harsh aspects of life as he grows up in a fracxtious family. She is always there for him.
Lucy. The girl next door. She is a friend, companion, warm and loving teacher about the important things in life. Whenever he comes home, she is always waiting with a hug.
Aileen. The female athlete in his life—funny, strong, independent minded. Better than anyone, she understands his love of baseball and doesn't let it get in the way of their warm friendship during their years together in college.
Suzanne. Beautiful, smart, with a background of wealth and privilege, She struggles between love for Connor and loyalty to her family, forcing both to make painful choices.
Angela. The tough-minded businesswoman who knows more about baseball than most men. A Cadillac dealer and baseball executive for her father, who owns a minor league team, she takes Connor for on wild ride as he works his way up in professional ball.
Claudia. Beautiful, mysterious, dangerous. A young Mexican cousin of Connor's best friend, she gives his summer in Mexican baseball a romantic twist.
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