When I was first asked to read this book,“Hard to Grip” by Emil DeAndreis and published by Schaffner Press, I thought, okay another book about baseball. Do I really need to expend my time with something I have heard a million times? Wow, was I mistaken. Emil’s story and easy style of writing, held me captive.
As I bobbed and weaved my way through his life in baseball, it was becoming clear to me, that it had similarities to my life in baseball and kept me glued to every word. Emil’s writing style flows with ease from page to page, making it easy and fun to read.
Well, at least most of it was funny. I found it ugly and uncomfortable, when picturing Emil’s poor decisions made out of frustration, during his college years. I felt his pain when he became aware that his baseball career was not going to have a happy ending and not because of his illness that comes at the end of this read.
Having to talk about his illness must of been very difficult. Yet at the same time being open and informative at the end brings the chronic illness of Rheumatoid Arthritis to the public’s ears and eyes. He also gave a very good picture of what amateur baseball players go through.
The ugliness of how nasty and addicting baseball can be is reality. How it can be the big prize of euphoria and exhilaration and then in an instant, disappointment and frustration to the young men who have played the game.
The obsession of wanting to be a big league ballplayer and how it clouds the vision of 90% who have gone through this journey is an eye opener to the reader.
Says Mike Krukow, the former Major League pitcher with the Cubs, Phillies, and Giants: “A vibrant depiction of a ballplayer that finds his way despite losing his ability to play the game he loves. Emil is a total gamer and a wonderful writer. Grab some time and enjoy.”
Overall, it was a book for those who would like to read about what the real world of amateur and professional baseball is like, for so many.
Editor’s Note: William Coppola was asked to review this book as the similarities of his experiences in baseball and working with youth towards reaching a goal are much like the true events that the author explains.