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The Last Best League
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Every summer, in ten small towns across Cape Cod, the finest college baseball players in the country gather in hopes of making it to "The Show." The hopes are justifiably high: The Cape Cod Baseball League is the best amateur league in the world, producing one out of every six major league players. Ten years ago, Jim Collins chronicled a season in the life of one team: the Chatham A's, perhaps the most celebrated team in the league. Set against the backdrop of a resort town on the bend of the outer Cape, the story charted the changing fortunes of a handful of players battling slumps and self-doubt in their effort to make the league playoffs and, more importantly, impress the major league scouts. Over the last decade, baseball's hard truths became evident for the Chatham stars who went on to play professionally, and the final chapter of their story can now be written. In a new afterword for the tenth anniversary, Collins explores questions that sports literature rarely touches: What does it mean to devote your life to an almost impossible goal and almost but not quite make it? Or make it only briefly before it slips away? What does a dream look like in retrospect? How does the game look now?
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About the Author

Jim Collins, a native New Englander, played college baseball at Dartmouth and is a former editor of Yankee magazine. His work has twice been noted in the annual Best American Sportswriting anthology. He lives in Seattle, Washington, and Orange, New Hampshire.

Reviews

"Jim Collins chronicled, with a careful eye and lyrical prose, the 2002 season of the Chatham A's...juxtaposing the joys of the game with the heartbreak that accompanies a player when he finds out that he is not good enough for the majors." --Curled Up with a Good Book "Fuel Baseball" magazine, Spring 2010 In the tradition of "The Boys of Summer," "The Last Best League" is about dreams fulfilled and dreams denied; it s about Cape Cod and the rites of summer; and about the way one small town grows to love a group of young men coming of age in America. "A captivating, timeless brew of scuffed baseballs, white sand, and pristine dreams.""Booklist" "A wonderful, dramatic, thoroughly absorbing book.""Boston Globe" "An engrossing portrait of marvelously gifted boys in men's bodiesswaggering one moment, full of uncertainty the next.""U.S. News and World Report" "Cape Code Times" Bookshelf, 6/29/14 If you're a Cape Cod Baseball League groupie or just a lover of small-town, (maybe) big-name baseball, check out this seminal book on our very own summer leagueMajor league scouts, local sports writers and of course the college players are all here, taking what we see as good fun and making it the serious summer it can be for many players on the verge of greatness. San Francisco Book Review, 9/10/14 This is more than the story of one team through one summer. Collins knows the game of baseball and is kind enough to share his deep knowledge of the game with the reader in a way that any reader can appreciate, no matter their own level of baseball knowledge. Collins hits a grand slam with this book. Off the Bench, 5/29/15 Collins masterfully whimsical baseball storytelling is a gift only given to former players. Barnes and Noble Review, 3/29/16 One of the half-dozen best baseball books ever writtenOne of the most human baseball booksEnshrines what happens off the field just as readily as it hallows the moments on the diamond. " "Fuel Baseball" magazine, Spring 2010 "In the tradition of "The Boys of Summer," "The Last Best League" is about dreams fulfilled and dreams denied; it's about Cape Cod and the rites of summer; and about the way one small town grows to love a group of young men coming of age in America." "A captivating, timeless brew of scuffed baseballs, white sand, and pristine dreams."--"Booklist" "A wonderful, dramatic, thoroughly absorbing book."--"Boston Globe" "An engrossing portrait of marvelously gifted boys in men's bodies--swaggering one moment, full of uncertainty the next."--"U.S. News and World Report" "Cape Code Times" "Bookshelf," 6/29/14 "If you're a Cape Cod Baseball League groupie or just a lover of small-town, (maybe) big-name baseball, check out this seminal book on our very own summer league...Major league scouts, local sports writers and of course the college players are all here, taking what we see as good fun and making it the serious summer it can be for many players on the verge of greatness." San Francisco Book Review, 9/10/14 "This is more than the story of one team through one summer. Collins knows the game of baseball and is kind enough to share his deep knowledge of the game with the reader in a way that any reader can appreciate, no matter their own level of baseball knowledge. Collins hits a grand slam with this book." "Fuel Baseball" magazine, Spring 2010 "In the tradition of "The Boys of Summer", "The Last Best League" is about dreams fulfilled and dreams denied; it's about Cape Cod and the rites of summer; and about the way one small town grows to love a group of young men coming of age in America." "A captivating, timeless brew of scuffed baseballs, white sand, and pristine dreams."--"Booklist" "A wonderful, dramatic, thoroughly absorbing book."--"Boston Globe" "An engrossing portrait of marvelously gifted boys in men's bodies--swaggering one moment, full of uncertainty the next."--"U.S. News and World Report" "Cape Code Times" "Bookshelf," 6/29/14 "If you're a Cape Cod Baseball League groupie or just a lover of small-town, (maybe) big-name baseball, check out this seminal book on our very own summer league...Major league scouts, local sports writers and of course the college players are all here, taking what we see as good fun and making it the serious summer it can be for many players on the verge of greatness."

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