"If you build it, he will come."
That famous quote from Field of Dreams, a 1989 baseball movie set in Iowa, pretty well sums up the life of Merle Eberly who built the Clarinda A's baseball team into a reputable (maybe even prestigious) program where serious college athletes spent their summers hoping to increase their chances of playing pro ball.
The Baseball Whisperer is a tribute to Merle and his lifetime spent developing the talent of many athletes that went through the Clarinda A's baseball program.
Initially I was interested in The Baseball Whisperer because it is set in the small town of Clarinda, Iowa. As an Iowan, I am always excited to see my state being showcased in books, and enjoy reading about places, events and people familiar to me.
Michael Tackett's son spent time in Clarinda, Iowa, playing baseball during the summer with Merle Eberly's team The Clarinda A's, which first brought this amazing and influential man to his attention. Through careful research and interviews with many people, Tackett recounts Eberly's impact on these young baseball players, the sport, and his town.
I enjoyed the various anecdotes about players and the families they lived with. I appreciated the high standards Eberly had for his players and his interest in more than just their athletic ability, but in them as people. I also appreciated the fact that Tackett's book shows the benefits of small town life and values.
During the dog days of summer, I can't help but think about baseball and the nights spent in our small town at the ball diamond watching a variety of teams play. However, although this book is about baseball, you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy this story. The Baseball Whisperer is a story that is for everyone.