Selected as one of baseball literature's Golden Dozen by Roger Kahn, Man on Spikes is an uncompromisingly realistic novel about a baseball player who struggles through sixteen years of personal crises and professional ordeals before finally appearing in a major league game. In a preface to this new edition, Eliot Asinof reveals the longsuffering ballplayer and friend upon which the novel is based.
Kutner, like Rutner, is never quite good enough to stick in the Majors, but his dream of making it allows ownership to abuse and exploit his talent for the 16 seasons after he signs his first contract. Dreams die hard, and sports dreams die particularly hard; Asinof works this theme beautifully, until, in the end, Kutner can finally hang up his spikes and hold onto something more tangible than reverie: sustaining love. This is a novel bursting with passion, understanding, and the insight of someone who's played the game and can translate its feelings without filtering them through rose-colored flip-ups. --Jeff Silverman