Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
When Jack Keefe, a baseball pitcher, is brought up from the minor leagues by the Chicago White Sox, he begins writing a series of letters to his hometown friend, Al Blanchard. It is a peculiar friendship, however, for Jack is basically incapable of any of the emotions that real friendship requires. He patronizes Al and uses him. Jack is a braggart and a chronic self-excuser, and the letters give him a chance to exercise his ego. Al apparently never sees through Jack.
So sublimely self-confident that he feels every trifling detail of his life is important, Jack writes full accounts of his adventures. Having neither modesty nor shame, he even includes episodes in which he appears foolish. When Jack reports to training camp on the West Coast, he immediately annoys the team’s manager with his overeating, his refusal to take orders, and his laziness. Although he is a powerful right-handed pitcher, he is an indifferent fielder and careless about base runners. The manager tries to handle Jack with irony, but it is lost on him. Whenever Jack has a bad day pitching, he claims that his arm is sore. Any hits made against him are the fault of the fielders, the umpires, or the scorers. Jack also believes that he is irresistible to women. In training camp, he meets a girl from Detroit named Violet, and he plans to romance her when the White Sox are playing in Detroit.
Jack does well enough in spring training to be included on the White Sox roster, but in...
(The entire section is 1065 words.)
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