Out of the Park: Memoir of a Minor League Baseball All-Star

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McFarland, Apr 2, 2007 - Sports & Recreation - 240 pages
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During the Golden Age of baseball, as many as 59 minor leagues operated in a single season, and hundreds of G.I.s returning home from World War II competed in them for the big break that would land them one of only 400 spots on 16 teams in the majors. These were truly the days when athletes played purely for the love of the game, motivated by goals that seemed always just beyond their fingertips. Among the many men who endured shocking extremes in pursuit of that diamond-plate dream was first baseman Ed Mickelson. This book relates the entirety of his 11-year struggle against the odds of success. A talented athlete from his early youth, Mickelson followed the game he loved across continental America, winning some and losing some, but always persevering. While a recruit for Lynchburg in the Class B Piedmont League, Mickelson maintained a league-leading .393 batting average. When traded to the Southeastern League in Montgomery, Alabama, he scaled his previous statistic to achieve an average of .417. In his first major league start, an ailing Stan Musial provided the opportunity for Ed to get one of only two hits against Hall of Famer Warren Spahn. After batting .335 and driving in 139 runs at Shreveport, Louisiana, in the Texas League, Ed was honored to become first pick among 8500 players in the Minor League draft in 1954, making him a Portland Beaver in the Pacific Coast League. This book captures the fierceness of his struggle throughout his career before the man who drove in the last run of the St. Louis Browns would eventually hand over his bat and go home. Despite his impressive statistics--the second highest batting average in the Pacific Coast League and the best fielding percentage among first basemen--Mickelson traded in professional baseball for a career of high school counseling and coaching young athletes, some becoming professionals themselves. His story is told here for veterans, scholars and fans alike, revealing first-hand the both difficult and rewarding challenges of the big game.

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To this day, minor league teams mean much to small-town America, and there has been a renewed interest in capturing their histories. The minors flourished after World War II, when there were over 50 ... Read full review


Foreword by Lowell Reidenbaugh
1 The Beginning
2 The Rook
3 Pokie
4 The BirdDoggers
5 Be a Good Soldier
6 The Lost Season
7 Around the Horn
9 Gaedkes Gardens
10 The Pacific Coast League
11 The Neon Twins
12 Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo
13 April Fool
14 Extra Innings

8 Farewell Brownies

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About the author (2007)

Retired professional baseball player Ed Mickelson was also an administrator, counselor, coach and teacher. He lives in Chesterfield, Missouri.

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