Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wallace crafts a strong heroine in "Diamond Ruby"

The seeds for Diamond Ruby were planted in history, more than 70 years ago. In a 1931 exhibition game between the Chattanooga Lookouts and New York Yankees, a 16-year-old girl named Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on a combined total of seven pitches. For her troubles she was rewarded with a ban by baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Joseph Wallace, intrigued by Mitchell's story, borrowed her fastball and spirit for Ruby Thomas, the plucky heroine of his new novel.

The long-armed Ruby endures a traumatic childhood, straight out of a Dickens tale. Just when you think she's been kicked enough, along comes another tragedy. But she has a gift--a strong and accurate arm--by which she makes her way through villain-infested 1923 New York.

In August I ran through the good and not-so-good in this year's baseball fiction. Add Diamond Ruby to the good list. My full review is now available on BaseballAmerica.com.

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