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Picks and Pans Review: Beanball

updated 05/29/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/29/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Tom Seaver with Herb Resnicow

Future baseball Hall-of-Famer Seaver co-authored this murder-at-the-ballpark novel with mystery author Herb Resnicow. Cynics, of course, might suggest that the only actual writing the famous former pitcher did was to sign contracts. In any case Seaver might be wise to disown Bean-bull, a real stinker of a book. The plot concerns the boorish, meddling owner of the Brooklyn Bandits, who is killed when he is hit in the head by a baseball under the stands. (Don't get any ideas, Dave Win-field!) As the Bandits head for the World Series, a sportswriter tries to ferret out the killer.

A description of a Monopoly game would be more exciting than the baseball action in this book. The characters are never fleshed out, and so much exposition is taken care of in the dialogue that everyone talks as if they're trapped on the last two pages of a Hercule Poirot mystery. It's hard to say which rings more untrue: the conversations involving athletes, newspapermen, lovers or cops. An example: If a sports columnist for a New York paper got together with a Manhattan homicide detective, the conversation would go pretty much like this—at least it does in Beanball: " 'OK, Lieutenant,' Marc said, trying harder, 'tell you what I'm going to do. I didn't tell you before, but I've been promoted to assistant editor of the whole sports department. I'm in a position to give you a big buildup, a real big buildup, on this case....We'll spell your name right and everything....Maybe even say you ought to be considered for chief of detectives or whatever the next step up for you is. What do you say?' 'A big buildup? ...You check with me before you print anything about me. I don't want this to look like a setup, you understand.' " Yeah, sure. Beanball may carry a major leaguer's imprimatur, but it's a bush-league outing. (Morrow, $16.95)

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