Roy Hobbs, a major league baseball player. Beginning as a white-faced, long-boned pitcher one year out of the Northwest High School League, he is a naïve rustic. Armed with Wonderboy (his bat carved from a lightning-blasted tree) and a fastball, he strikes out the American League batting champion. Proclaiming with hubris that he wants to be “the best there ever was in the game,” he is wounded by a gun-toting woman. Fifteen year later, now tall, husky, and dark-bearded, Hobbs is brought up from the semipros by the New York Knights. Literally knocking the cover off the ball in his first at bat, he replaces the Knights’ dead superstar and leads the cellar dwellers into an end-of-the-season playoff game for the right to play in the World Series. Preoccupied with his own materialistic and sexual desires, however, Hobbs has yet to mature and eventually throws the final game for a bribe.
Harriet Bird, a beautiful temptress. Wearing a black-feathered hat and veil, she withdraws a gun from a hatbox and, as she has done with other famous athletes, shoots the egotistical teenager Roy Hobbs.
Pop Fisher, the manager of the New York Knights, an ailing, bald man of sixty-five. His health is directly tied to the misfortunes of his team. Longing to redeem his past (he flopped during a World Series), he treats Roy as a son and team savior.
(The entire section is 485 words.)