I will be forever grateful to W.P. Kinsella even if he never publishes another single word because he is responsible for one of my favorite books of all-time, Shoeless Joe. That novel, of course, subsequently morphed into what is one of my favorite movies of all-time: Field of Dreams. And now I find out that the novel itself was preceded by a short story titled “Shoeless Joe Comes to Iowa.” I only recently learned about the short story because it is included in a brand new collection of twenty-seven Kinsella short stories (The Essential W.P. Kinsella) that I’ve been reading.
Although not all of his stories are about baseball, it is baseball stories for which Kinsella is best known in this country, and I’ve selected one of my favorites of those for “Short Story Saturday.”
“The Night Manny Mota Tied the Record” takes place in Dodger Stadium on August 7, 1979 during a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. During that game, one fan, without once leaving his seat, is going to have an experience that will change him forever. An old man takes the seat next to our fan and begins talking about the funeral of Yankee catcher Thurman Munson who had died just five days earlier when the great catcher crashed the small airplane in which he was flying home for a short break from the pressures of Yankee baseball.
Read the rest of Sattler’s comments on the story at Book Chase.
For more info about The Essential W. P. Kinsella, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Thomas Canty.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story.