Knocking on Heaven's Door
Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream
A compelling account of life in baseball's minor leagues
The rich slice of Americana found in minor league baseball presents a contradictory culture. On the one hand, the minors are filled with wholesome, family-friendly entertainment-fluffy mascots, kitschy promotions, and earnest young men signing autographs for wide-eyed Little Leaguers. On the other, they comprise a world of cutthroat competition in which a teammate's failure or injury can be the cause of quiet celebration and 90 percent of all players never play a single inning in the major leagues.
In Knocking on Heaven's Door, award-winning sportswriter Marty Dobrow examines this double-edged culture by chronicling the lives of six minor leaguers-Brad Baker, Doug Clark, Manny Delcarmen, Randy Ruiz, Matt Torra, and Charlie Zink-all struggling to make their way to "The Show." What links them together, aside from their common goal, is that they are all represented by the same team of agents-Jim and Lisa Masteralexis and their partner Steve McKelvey-whose own aspirations parallel those of the players they represent.
The story begins during spring training in 2005 and ends in the fall of 2008, followed by a brief epilogue that updates each player's fortunes through the 2009 season. Along the way Dobrow offers a revealing, intimate look at life in minor league baseball: the relentless tedium of its itinerant routines and daily rituals; the lure of performance-enhancing drugs as a means of gaining a competitive edge; the role of agents in negotiating each player's failures as well as his successes; and the influence of wives, girlfriends, and family members who have invested in the dream.
"The best account of the life of minor league baseball players I have read. The reader feels the despair of each player's struggles and the joys of their eventual successes, however brief they may be."—Jerome Mileur, former owner of the Harrisburg Senators and author of High-Flying Birds: The 1942 St. Louis Cardinals
"This book is definitely worth a read."—The Recorder
"Knocking on Heaven's Door is an insightful journey through the minors, providing access most of us will never have to future big leaguers."—Baseball America
"Dobrow does an excellent job telling the stories of each of the young players, and establishes their personalities, quirks and all, so we have an idea of what makes each man tick. . . . Marty Dowbrow's Knocking on Heaven's Door: Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream is a book that all baseball fans will want to read, certainly in the summer, as the minor leaguers are working toward their dream, but perhaps even more so in the winter, during that long hibernation bwtween baseball seasons."—NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture