The Genius Who Saved Baseball
Robert E. Ingram
Aviva Publishing (2021)
Reviewed by Mark T. Sneed for Reader Views (08/2021)
One of the best parts of reading is finding a really great book you do not want to put down. “The Genius Who Saved Baseball” by Robert E. Ingram is that book. The funny thing is it was recommended to me and had not been on my radar at all. That being said, it is such a wonderful book, and I went into it as I do any other book, hoping to find myself carried away to some place special. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked.
I found the story compelling and exceptionally interesting. The author crafts a great feel good baseball story. The pacing was great. The characters are memorable. The characters are realistic. The Collier family is just a slice of Americana. It is also a throwback to the nuclear home. Simultaneously, the Collier’s are juggling a precocious teenager who is incredibly bright. I absolutely loved Charlie, the genius. What’s not to love about a fourteen-year-old with a genius IQ who plays baseball and loves the game itself? The greatest part of Charlie, to me, is his ability to engage with adults. The author sets it up nicely as adults, older adults, meet and hope for Charlie to visit them and talk about baseball with them. Clever.
Charlie is also a prospective baseball player himself, gifted as a pitcher and smart as a whip. He is all of fourteen and incredibly polite and considerate. Charlie is a perfect teenager. (No spoilers.) We soon learn of Charlie’s medical issues, however. He has migraines every so often. Of course, I expected the worse. But the author promises a feel good baseball story.
So, though the story leans one way at first with Charlie’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, then the book flips and turns again later on. Again, no spoilers. Just prepare for a major swing in the story. I thought the book was going to pull on my heartstrings because of the buildup of Charlie and his genius, but the author refused to fall into that simple and easy trope. It is a baseball story, after all. So, we get baseball. There is Charlie pitching for his baseball team. There is a newly formed baseball team attempting to make a splash. There is Charlie’s father, the marketing director of the new baseball team. There is definitely baseball in this baseball story. It is a simple story in so many ways, like baseball. The story is also complicated, like baseball. There are all these moving parts. Charlie is trying to save baseball. Charlie is trying to play baseball. Charlie is also attempting to navigate through college courses where they do not understand his genius. Yet, the story is not just a story about baseball, but so much more. It is what I love about a good sports story, the universality of the events that surround that sports story. Everyone hopes. Everyone dreams. Everyone cries. Everyone fears. A good book gives you all of that—a great book does it without you even being aware it is occurring. “The Genius Who Saved Baseball” is a great book. It is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.