Book Review: Miracle Ball, by Brian Biegel


In 1951, Bobby Thompson of the Giants hit a walk off home run against the Dodgers to win the pennant. It is the first year baseball was televised, it had 2 NYC rival teams, and it is often called the biggest moment in baseball history. They call it the “Shot Heard Round the World.”

However, the ball was never found – which is one of baseball’s biggest mysteries.

Miracle Ball is the story about the author’s search for the ball. I’d say there are good things and bad things about this book.

The good:

The hunt for the ball is exciting as hell. It’s like a great mystery movie or a baseball history episode of CSI. This is a true story, and it is so much fun going along for the search and following clues.

The guy gets forensic evidence, tracks down long-lost witnesses, has secret meetings with shady New Jersey mobsters…and each time he gets closer and closer to finding this ball. It’s a terrific ride – all the more terrific because it’s a real-life mystery.

The bad:

The author works really hard to portray himself as this struggling hero working to overcome the odds. He suffers from pretty severe depression and spends a lot of time going into how hard it is for him to keep pushing through on this quest.

Not to belittle depression, but it really makes for an annoying “struggle”. I kept finding myself thinking: “Dude, you’re a rich TV producer on a quest to find a baseball. I’m sorry if sometimes you’re sad inside.”

To make matters worse, the guy lives with his parents and the book has detailed conversations where he calls his father “Papa”.

“But Papa, what if I can’t do it? What if I never can find this ball?”

“Papa, I don’t know if I’m brave enough for this.”

“I don’t want to let you down, Papa?”

Makes you want to puke, right? Me too.

But all said and done, it’s a fun read that gets into baseball history in a way that’s exciting. It’s pretty well written too (albeit, by a ghost writer – no surprise). I’d recommend Miracle Ball to baseball fans, non-baseball fans, and most of all to Papas everywhere.

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