Posted in Short Stories

Zane Grey: The Manager of Madden’s Hill

6♥  6♥  6♥  6♥  6♥  6♥


He could never play baseball. But he had baseball brains. He had been too wise for the tricky Stranathan. He was the coach and manager and general of the great Madden’s Hill nine. If ever he had to lie awake at night again he would not mourn over his lameness; he would have something to think about. To him would be given the glory of beating the invincible Natchez team.

Zane Grey’s “The Manager of Madden’s Hill” is more of the baseball story that I’ve been looking for.  I was a little disappointed earlier this year with his “The Redheaded Outfield”.  “Madden’s Hill” has all of the details of a close game that I still consider an amazing feat for an author to think up in his head let alone write down on paper.  But there’s a little more than just the game.  The characters in this story are kids playing in some sort of organized league but not quite as organized as Little League.  The Madden Hill team is led by eleven year-old Willie “Daddy” Howarth. Daddy’s character is brilliantly developed.  In spite of his inability to play baseball, he is the quintessential coach and his players respect him:

Willie’s knowledge of players and play, and particularly of the strange talk, the wild and whirling words on the lips of the real baseball men, made him the envy of every boy on Madden’s Hill, and a mine of information.

The story reminds me of a bygone era when kids played baseball just for fun on a sandlot. That, in itself, made it worth reading.

This is week 50 of my Deal Me In 2014 short story project. Only two more stories to go. My Deal Me In 2014 list can be seen here.  DMI is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

4 thoughts on “Zane Grey: The Manager of Madden’s Hill

  1. Hi Dale,
    I probably don’t know enough about baseball to fully appreciate this story, but I did want to give you a heads up about a short coming of age novel that I read recently that may interest you. It’s Barbara Shoup’s “Looking for Jack Kerouac” where two midwestern “kids” road trip to florida in hopes of meeting the aging author. Baseball figures prominently in their quest and whether they successfully make a connection with him.

    1. Sounds fantastic! I’m going to read it next! Currently, I’m reading a YA novel by a local Cincy author called “The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy”. It was the “On the Same Page” book this fall for Cincinnati. I’m a little late.

      1. Well, its not about baseball primarily, and I can’t tell you its role without spoiling the plot. But I’m sure there’s enough baseball in It for you. I met the author at an event at Indy Reads recently (she also contributed a story to the “Indy Writes Books” project). I was actually a little surprised she didn’t know more about Kerouac himself, but the novel’s still an enjoyable read nonetheless.

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