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.
Max Mercy, a syndicated sportswriter. With his mustache and voracious eyes, he snoops into the personal lives of athletes. Eventually, he discovers Roy’s ugly past.
Sam “Bub” Simpson
Sam “Bub” Simpson, a major league scout. Having scrawny legs and a lean head, he resembles a scarecrow. A former catcher, he is Roy’s first father figure, discovering him and then dying trying to catch one of his fastballs.
Memo Paris, Pop’s niece. Beautiful and redheaded, she is a former beauty-contest winner who was the girlfriend of Roy’s predecessor, Bump Bailey. She encourages Roy to accept the bribe and thus provide them with a sound financial future.
Iris Lemon, the woman who offers Roy true love. Thirty-three years old, black-haired, and already a grandmother, she teaches Roy what it is to be a hero, how to act unselfishly, and the value of suffering. Pregnant with Roy’s twins, she is rejected by Roy, who is not yet ready for mature love.
Judge Goodwill Banner
Judge Goodwill Banner, the principal owner of the New York Knights. A lumpy, massive figure, he lives in a tower, which he never leaves, above the ballpark. He is a greedy man who tries to drive Pop Fisher from partial team ownership and bribes Roy.
Gus Sands, the supreme bookie who will bet on anything, with one glass eye that he claims is magic. A father figure to Memo, he tries to corrupt Roy.
The main character in The Natural is the natural himself, Roy Hobbs, an orphan who comes out of the west with his bat, "Wonderboy," fashioned by himself from the wood of a lightening-struck tree. Unusually gifted,...
(The entire section is 2,407 words.)