(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

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A well-written and dramatic account of one baseball player’s confrontation with cancer, COMEBACK offers both an inside look at major league baseball and a candid exploration of an athlete’s faith in himself and in God. Unlike most inspirational sports books, COMEBACK refuses to sentimentalize its subject and commends itself as a model of restraint in examining the religious faith of its central character.

Dave Dravecky’s story, told chronologically from his days in the minor leagues and early success in the major leagues to the discovery of his cancerous tumor and surgery and his startling comeback, provides fans and non-fans, young and old, an opportunity to learn something about grace and courage under pressure.

On October 7, 1988, Dave Dravecky, star pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, assumed that his career was over; doctors had just removed one-half of the deltoid muscle in his pitching arm, a drastic surgical operation necessary to remove a malignant tumor. Dravecky had noticed a lump on his arm a year earlier but had ignored it. After an arduous rehabilitation, Dravecky returned to the major leagues and, in storybook fashion, pitched eight innings for a Giants’ win during an exciting pennant race. In his next start following what some called one of “the greatest comeback stories of the decade,” Dravecky broke his arm after delivering a pitch and once again returned to the sidelines. As his teammates headed for the now infamous “earthquake” World Series, Dravecky squarely faced the bad news of recurring cancer.

The Dravecky “comeback” did not end there, however, and it is here that the reader is brought face to face with the real meaning of “comeback,” of human persistence and tenacity against all odds. Dravecky is quick to credit his Christian faith and his family not only for his original recovery but also for his continuing strength to stand in hope against adversity. COMEBACK is a welcome and refreshing contribution to inspirational sports biography.