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CanLit150

Celebrate more than 150 years of Canada with 150 books.

Stacey May Fowles Recommends

Foul Ball: Five Years in the American League by Alison Gordon

Foul Ball: Five Years in the American League (1985)

(From the original back cover)

When Alison Gordon started covering the Blue Jays for The Toronto Star in 1979, the club was an unlikely collection of cast-offs and hangers-on. The pitching roster – Lemanczyk, Feisleben, Lemongello – read like an eye chart and often threw as if they needed glasses. Holding the opposition hitless through the playing of both national anthems was considered a good outing.

Five years later the Toronto team is the toast of baseball. And here is the inside story on the Blue Jays’ flight to the top. Included are revealing profiles of some of today’s leading stars – Dave Stieb, Willie Upshaw and Lloyd Moseby – along with sketches of the memorable athletes, such as Rico Carty and John Mayberry, who toiled for Toronto when the low-flying Jays were in last place.

Gordon had almost as difficult a time as the Blue Jays during her early years covering the Blue Jays during her early years covering the team. The appearance of a woman reporter in a locker room in 1979 caused some baseball old-timers to choke on their tobacco. Despite the inevitable trials-by-childishness, Gordon was accepted, after her first season, as one of the scribes. And for the next four years her springs and summers were a blur of scorecards, deadlines and plane rides. In Foul Balls she recalls some of the memorable moments of her seasons in the sun: listening to Bill Veeck sing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” in Chicago; tasting the hot dogs in tiger stadium in Detroit; discussing baseball strategy with Earl Weaver in the Baltimore clubhouse. Gordon takes the reader on an around-the-league road trip, covering all the bases…as well as the locker rooms, press boxes, and ballparks. To some players, owners and managers she throws bouquets, to others, spitballs.

Alison Gordon

(From Goodreads)

Alison Gordon was born in New York City. She spent her childhood in New York, Tokyo, Cairo and Rome because of her (Canadian) father's work with the United Nations. She attended Queen's University but left before completing her degree. Alison held various positions in television, radio and newspaper, including five years as a baseball writer for the Toronto Star (1979-1985). Foul Balls, her first book, details her experiences as the first woman to cover major league baseball. She has served on the boards of The Writers' Union, Crime Writers of Canada, PEN Canada, and the International Association of Crime Writers. She received the Citation of Merit for sports writing.