Good Enough to Dream (Magill Book Reviews)
While recovering from a traumatic mugging, Roger Kahn is convinced by a friend that he should be principal stockholder of a minor-league baseball franchise and spend the summer running the team. After several false starts, Kahn becomes president of the Utica Blue Sox, baseball’s only independent minor-league franchise, in 1983. Not affiliated with any major-league club but instead staffed by the Texas Star Baseball Company, the Blue Sox recruited their talent from players not signed by big-league scouts. Each player received a monthly salary of five hundred dollars from which he had to pay taxes, rent, living expenses, and meals when not on road trips.
Much of the book deals with the difficulties inherent in running a minor-league franchise: unhappy creditors, bad weather, poor playing conditions, the necessity of relying on promotional gimmicks from free beer night to beauty contests to lure fans, and occasionally the demands of the players themselves.
In the low minor leagues, Kahn observes, players have “no unions, no lawyers and fewer professional rights than an army corporal,” and some players, despite real talent, find themselves stuck there because of the system itself. As Kahn describes it, there is an old-boys network characterizing the farm system, where if one team decides not to sign a player, other teams usually follow suit rather than risk making one another look bad.
The book also recounts the inside story of a pennant race and the tension that develops when every team wants to win but only one can. In short, it is the story of a group of people brought together for a short time, fighting for a common goal, and then drifting apart when the goal is achieved. In an era of high-priced players, free agency, huge media contracts, and big-business baseball, GOOD ENOUGH TO DREAM provides a look at another side of the sport which continues to hold the fascination of millions. For them, this excellent book will be a rewarding experience.