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By Neil D. Isaacs

From a hundred and seventy interviews Neil D. Isaacs positive factors first-hand tales of batboys who served in the course of 9 a long time of baseball. In chronicling them he indicates how fact neutralizes illusions and the way conventions of the game implement lifelong values.

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The anonymity persists as a literary convention. In Bernard Malamud's The Natural, when Roy's "Wonderboy" splits, the batboy's part in the subsequent action is incidental to the point of nonexistence. In Barry Levinson's altered (corrupted) movie version, the batboy's role is significant but still anonymous, which probably contributes to the ironic effect when that scene is parodied in Ron Shelton's Bull Durham. Jerry Klinkowitz's Short Season, in which twenty-eight stories make us so familiar with minor-league personnel that we even know the bus driver by name and idiosyncrasy, the batboy is still anonymous, and the only role he plays, in the characteristically wry story "Nicknames" (79-84), is as close-up reporter of an invented piece of instant legend.

Roger was photographed "swimming" to retrieve the equipment. Photos and equipment can make a batboy ambivalent. Bob Recker was kneeling in the on-deck circle with Dick Stewart when Bill Mazeroski's home run won the 1960 World Series for the Pirates. Bob ran to the plate to greet Mazhe had a sure instinct for being part of a photo opportunitybut then he "looked around and saw thousands of people coming down to the field right at me. I grabbed Page 6 every piece of equipment I could and ran for the clubhouse as fast as I could.

I doubt that I can remember everybody whose leads, advice, or remarks were valuable, but several come to mind: Harold Rosenthal, Bill Gildea, Frank Mazzone, Jon Miller, Jack Buck, Stacey Berger, Dave Sislen, Seymour Steiglitz, Don Stevens, Bob and Mercy Coogan, Bill Bechill, Bill Tosheff, Tom Boswell, Ken Denlinger, Gerald Strine, Larry King, Shirley Povich, Phil Hochberg, Marvin Lowe, Jack Higgs, Michael Olmert, Rich Drozd, Charley Rutherford, John Caughey, Larry Mintz, Tom Inge, and Rich Abel.

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