Books: Baseball & Big Questions

THE NATURAL (237 pp.)—Bernard Malamud—Harcourt, Brace ($3).

Rookie Outfielder Roy Hobbs could not have stumbled into the New York Knights' dugout at a worse time. Manager Pop Fisher was screaming mad, and with reason. The Knights were mired in the cellar, they had forgotten how to hit, their best pitcher had just blown up. Things were so tough that Pop had athlete's foot on his hands. When Roy reported, a big, 34-year-old semipro from the sticks with a bassoon case in his hands, Pop sneered: "Oh, my eight-foot uncle, what have we got here,...

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