I've been on a tear for the past few weeks ever since I picked up Murder at the Racetrack, a collection of murder thrillers centered around horseracing and edited by Otto Penzler. I met Otto at Pulp Fest and when I mentioned that I had picked up the horseracing book recently, Otto mentioned that there were several other sports featured in their own books. He said that his favorite books in the series were the boxing and the basketball books. But I couldn't care less about either of those sports. Nooo...it was baseball or nothing for me. And one of the first things I did when I came back from Pulp Fest was to email Otto and ask him to sign a copy of the baseball book and get it in the mail to me. And now's it's here.
Murderer's Row it's called, an homage to the Murderer's Row of baseball legend. Murderer's Row is the name given to the four players on the New York Yankees team of 1927: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri and Bob Meusel. They were called Murderer's Row for their habit of murdering the other team - in 1927, they scored 975 runs on over 400 hits -- in 154 games.
I've just started on the first story, so I'll have to report on the stories in a blog in the next few days. The contributing authors are Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins, Michael Connelly, K.C. Constantine, Elmore Leonard, John Lescroart, Laura Lippman, Mike Lupica, Michael Malone, Robert B. Parker, Thomas Perry, Henry Slesar and Troy Soos. Jim Bouton, who pitched for the New York Yankees and was best known for his 1963 year when he posted a 21-7 record, writes a hilarious forward. I did not know that he is also the author of Ball Four.
So while the Dodgers (hopefully) beat the Cubs tonight (it's 2-1 in the bottom of the 6th), I'm going to sit back and read the first story, "Keller's Designated Hitter," while listening to Vin Scully's broadcast as background music. Almost as good as being at the game.