Lifelong baseball fanatic and former college ball player Abe Streep had long since grown disillusioned with the slick spectacle of modern major-league baseball when he discovered the Santa Fe Fuego, a scrappy upstart team struggling through its first season in an independent professional league that few baseball fans had even heard of. The Fuego players were paid barely fifty dollars a week. They slept on the couches of sympathetic fans and cleaned up the trash in the ballpark themselves after games. As the last place team in the least-prestigious professional league in America, they had acquired a unique distinction: They were officially the worst professional baseball team in America.
The Fuego might not have been winners, but they were fighters and dreamers, willing to suffer the indignities and disappointments of life in the minor minor leagues for a shot - however remote - at the big time. In The Legends of Last Place, Streep spends a season with the team and its members - the grizzled Vietnam veteran coach with his number tattooed on his back, the pitcher attempting his third comeback as the oldest pro in the game, the one-time Mets recruit fallen on hard times - and finds something he thought had gone missing from professional baseball: its heart.
Another title for Abe Streep's hilarious and heartbreaking account of the ups, downs, and farther downs of life in indy baseball might be The Catastrophic News Bears, yet somehow it's never depressing. This wonderful story is about so much more than baseball.
-Tom Bissell, author of Magic Hours and Extra Lives
If you love baseball, you will find The Legends of Last Place irresistible; if you love clear, lucid prose, you will find it a pleasure. I happen to love both, so The Legends of Last Place had me from the very first sentence.
-Daniel Okrent, author of Nine Innings and Last Call Download and start listening now!