Loonies in the Dugout

Chet Koski, a 21-yeard old rookie off a Minnesota farm, has two problems. One is how to hit big league pitching. Two is how to woo chorus girl Eveleen Sullivan. Both problems are complicated when you find yourself becoming the guardian angel for the mysterious Charlie Faust who believes apple pie gives him pitching strength, even though he never pitches. Based on a true story about the 1911 New York Giants and the influence of Charlie Faust, featuring Bat Masterson, Damon Runyon, George M. Cohan, and the New York Giants of 1911.

More than baseball fiction, it is a satire on fame and celebrity, and a coming of age story-sort of- as it turns on it’s head on the final page. And it’s all true, except for the made-up parts. The baseball stuff is all true.

Though many New York Giants in their memoirs mentioned Charlie Faust, none could explain him. He came out of nowhere saying a fortune teller told him he would pitch the Giants to a pennant. Within two weeks of arriving in New York he was a vaudeville star, but in truth, he may have been the first person to become famous for doing nothing, for his act was to impersonate players, most of which looked the same, and he only appeared in two games. He was at best a good luck mascot for the Giants. Charlie was either the biggest country rube in history, extraordinarily slow in the head, or mentally challenged. But he loved apple pie, claiming it was what gave him strength. We will never the truth about Charlie, but I wanted to explore through fiction as many true events of his story as I could and make up some of my own. Just as the players loved Charlie, I came to love him too. 

“This is part slapstick, part satire and a little bit of inspection of fame and the exploits of sports stars, and the vagaries of sports writers”. . . Paul Little, Amazon review.

“The most interesting character on the team is Charles Faust. Normally the word “character” would indicate that the person is fictional, but in this case, Charles is most definitively real and most definitively a character. The main truly fictional character is Chet, who is a young bench player on the Giants. Chet is a witness to the 1911 baseball season as it unfolds, and it is through his words that the reader experiences the story. Nelson’s story is a light, fast-paced read. The events of the season are described accurately. Although the dialogue between the characters is fictional, for the most part it is as one would expect the characters to interact with each other. It is not a story to be taken too seriously, but it does provide sufficient plot twists to keep one intrigued.”-Michael, Amazon review.

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