Possibly the world's only Southern Gothic, SF baseball novel!
For seventeen-year-old Danny Boles, a 5' 5" shortstop out of Tenkiller, Oklahoma, the summer of 1943 would be a season to remember. The country's at war, and professional baseball needs able-bodied men. Danny's headed for Highbridge, Georgia - home of the Goober Pride peanut butter factory and the Highbridge Hellbenders, a Class C farm club in the Chattahoochee Valley League. He's a scrappy player with one minor quirk: a violent encounter on the train to Georgia has rendered him mute, his vocal cords tied up in knots.
Danny's idiosyncrasy, however, is nothing compared to that of his new Hellbender roommate, an erudite seven-foot giant by the name of Jumbo Hank Clerval. With his yellow eyes, strangely scarred face, and sausage-sized fingers, Hanks seems to have been put together in a meat-packing plant. But he plays a mean first base and can hit the ball a mile. With the Hellbenders in a pennant race as hot as the relentless Georgia sun, the eloquent Clerval forms a special kinship with the speechless kid from Oklahoma. Danny soon realizes that Hank is not an ordinary man but something more complex . . . more mysterious than he'd imagined.
Michael Bishop (1945 - )
Michael Bishop was born in 1945 in Lincoln, Nebraska. After receiving an MA in English from the University of Georgia, Bishop taught at the USAF Academy Preparatory School in Colorado, but soon began placing his short stories with the likes of Galaxy Science Fiction, If and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. His first novel, A Funeral For The Eyes Of Fire, brought comparisons with Ursula Le Guin and James Tiptree, Jr and received a Nebula nomination. It was followed by a number of critically acclaimed works including BSFA Award-nominated Transfigurations, Arthur C. Clarke Award-nominated Ancient Of Days, and No Enemy But Time, for which he won the Nebula Award for Best Novel. Michael Bishop lives in Georgia, where he is writer-in-residence at LaGrange College.