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The Might Have Been

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  377 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Joseph M. Schuster’s absorbing debut novel resonates with the pull of lifelong dreams, the sting of regret, and the ways we define ourselves against uncertain twists of fate—perfect for fans of Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding.

For Edward Everett Yates, split seconds matter: the precise timing of hitting a low outside pitch, of stealing a base, of running down a fly bal
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Ballantine Books
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Richard Derus
May 16, 2013 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: For Edward Everett Yates, split seconds matter: the precise timing of hitting a low outside pitch, of stealing a base, of running down a fly ball. After a decade playing in the minor leagues—years after most of his peers have given up—he’s still patiently waiting for his chance at the majors. Then one day he gets called up to the St. Louis Cardinals, and finally the future he wanted unfolds before him.

But one more split second changes everything: In what
Mar 30, 2012 Jill rated it really liked it
I am not the kind of reader who typically reaches for a baseball-themed book. In fact, the last time I went to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, I showed up with a novel in hand, which I read through most of the game (much to the chagrin of my husband).

So for me to like – really like! – a baseball book says a whole lot. It says that Joseph Schuster has a great voice and a wonderful story to tell. And baseball is only a backdrop; in many ways, this story is about life itself and how sometimes, our li
Feb 15, 2012 Stuart rated it really liked it
It's early, but I know that this will be one of the top two or three novels I'll read this year. I give it four and a half stars. The writing is polished and precise. I didn't even know people still wrote novels like this. Naturalistic. Very much in the tradition of Dreiser. It's not really a "baseball novel" although the lead character is a baseball lifer.

Edward Everett Yates is a might-have-been, someone who only briefly made it into the major leagues, and he is a might-have-been in his relati
Larry Hoffer
Apr 04, 2012 Larry Hoffer rated it really liked it
I'll admit I was a little wary of reading another baseball novel just a few months after reading Chad Harbach's fantastic The Art of Fielding, but I needn't have worried. Joe Schuster's debut novel, The Might Have Been, has baseball more at its core than Harbach's book, but it is captivating and affecting in its own quiet way.

When the book starts in the mid-1970s, Edward Everett Yates is a baseball player who has been in the minor leagues for 10 years, but still believes he will one day get cal
Jan 29, 2014 jim rated it liked it
This is not my typical kind of book, but I was trying to find something to be my first purchase as an e-book, so I totally stalked a friend on Goodreads and found the description of this book made me think it was likely to have more substance and relevance for me and to me than I imagined anything that revolved around baseball ever would or could. I needed to get out of the density I'd been in lately, and this was a solid well-written read that, while utterly depressing for the majority of the s ...more
Sam Sattler
Mar 23, 2012 Sam Sattler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball
Baseball is special. The number of novels about the game, both in quality - and certainly in quantity - probably exceeds that of all other sports combined. The length of the baseball season, the pace of an individual game, and the potential for any player (regardless of size, position, or past performance) to be a hero for at least one day all lend themselves to good storytelling. And, because good storytellers seem particularly drawn to the sport, baseball fans who read novels are a lucky bunch ...more
Mar 13, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball
Baseball is a drug many old ballplayers are too weak to resist, its allure perhaps strongest to those whose career didn't follow the course they had mapped out as kids. Edward Everett Yates never envisioned it would take him ten years to reach the St. Louis Cardinals. His long-imagined debut hadn't included being ordered to bunt in his first—and only official—plate appearance. He may have dreamed of hitting for the cycle, but nowhere in that vision was the game washed out of the record books as ...more
Mar 07, 2013 Ken rated it it was ok
I'd say this was really a 1.5 for me.

The Might Have Been follows the lackluster baseball career of Edward Everett Yates, beginning in 1976, when, after knocking around in the minor leagues for a few years, Edward Everett's stars align, and he begins playing far beyond his past performance until, finally in 1977, he receives the call to the Major Leagues.

In the latter 2/3 of the book, Schuster turns to Edward Everett's later life, set in 2009, as the protagonist nears his 60th birthday and 20th y
Teresa Lukey
Edward Everett is a might have been and this is his story. Edward is single minded in his desire to be a part of baseball. Baseball is all he thinks about and everything else pale's in comparison.

In this novel, Edward has been working in the minor leagues, enjoying time in the game and taking the opportunity to womanize at his leisure. He gets a chance to fill-in for an injured major league-r. Unfortunately, he is so focused on showing his talents as to not be sent back to the minors, he suffers
Kasa Cotugno
Mar 17, 2012 Kasa Cotugno rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
If this isn't my favorite book of the year, what surpasses it must be a doozy. I originally chose it because of the baseball background, but it is so rich in so many ways, so surprising and yet familiar, I found myself taking my time with it. This definitely is a book to savor.

We meet Edward Everett Yates in 1977, as he is called up to go to the Show, on the brink of realizing his dream. The liner notes and title already inform the reader of what is to come, that that dream will die before it is
Nancy Kennedy
Feb 11, 2012 Nancy Kennedy rated it it was amazing
With a title like "The Might Have Been," it's no spoiler to say that Edward Everett Yates's life in baseball didn't pan out the way he'd hoped. Bumping around for years in the minors, he finally gets his chance to shine for one brief moment. It's a train wreck of a moment that determines the rest of Edward Everett's career.

If this book had been narrated by one of the many women Edward Everett jilts in his lifetime, I might not have had any sympathy for him at all. But because the author draws h
Jul 24, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, fiction, sports
I decided to read this book because I'm trying to find a good baseball book to get my dad for his birthday this year. While this book is about a baseball player/coach, it isn't really about baseball. It's really just about being happy with the life you have instead of the life you wish you had. A pretty universal theme that we've all heard before. But very well written, with engaging characters and a pleasant pace. I enjoyed reading it very much. In a way, it kind of reminded me of Robb Forman D ...more
Jun 01, 2012 Nette rated it liked it
An accomplished, well-written novel, but don't believe all the blurbs that say "It's not really about baseball, it's about [America] [modern life] [men][the life of modern American men]. Because there's a BUTTLOAD of baseball, which I had to skim past because baseball is fun in person and deadly on the page.
May 08, 2012 Tara rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball, fiction
Well written, but depressing. The main character, Edward Yates, makes a series of bad decisions and has some terrible luck. It makes it difficult to finish, but Schuster's talent as an author makes the journey worth it. Deserves to be amongst the pantheon of great baseball novels.
Madison Krasko
Aug 09, 2016 Madison Krasko rated it it was ok
The beginning was interesting, but once it skipped ahead 20 years it lost me.
Gary Anderson
Jan 19, 2017 Gary Anderson rated it really liked it
Edward Everett Yates is a baseball player. That’s all he’s ever been. Players like Edward Everett will do whatever it takes to stay in the game and avoid “the World” of a mundane job and family obligations. Sometimes that involves making conscious decisions, but fate also has a way of intervening, like the freak injury that leaves Edward Everett with Moonlight Graham-like career statistics. But there is always a story behind the metrics, and that stats vs. story conflict is important in The Migh ...more
Greg Zimmerman
Jul 29, 2012 Greg Zimmerman rated it really liked it
In life as in baseball, regret stings. Whether that regret is a result of poor decisions or horrible quirks of fate doesn't make it less haunting. You're still left wondering "what if." This is the idea Joseph Schuster explores in his fantastic debut novel The Might Have Been.

Thirty years ago, Edward Everett Yates got an unexpected call-up with the Cardinals, just when it was looking like his baseball career was about to flame out. But he blew out his knee before he was able to record an officia
Apr 21, 2016 Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: keepers
Being a huge baseball nerd (including following minor league teams along with the majors), I should have absolutely loved Joseph M. Schuster's The Might Have Been. And since i didn't love it, i kind of felt disappointed. However, it still is a good book.
One of the reasons i didn't love it was that it took me way longer than it should have to read the thing. For loving every aspect of what the novel discusses, i should have blazed through it, but it is a rather slowly paced written novel. Part o
Apr 14, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Edward Everett Yates dreamed of becoming a Major League baseball player, but he ultimately got to play in just one game that didn’t even count. After toiling in the minor leagues for a decade, he is called up to play for the Cardinals in the summer of 1976. Then, a catastrophic knee injury dashes his hopes of proving himself in a game that gets called on account of rain before getting through the necessary five innings, meaning that Edward Everett’s career won’t even register in the record books ...more
May 09, 2016 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Edward Everett Yeats, known through most of the book as Edward Everett, has had a lot of missed opportunities. He toiled in the minor leagues for a while, and finally made the major leagues. He rode the bench until he finally got his moment in the sun, but it was ripped away from him along with his baseball career. He started down the promising road of being a flower salesman, but gave it all up to take another shot at baseball. This is the first third of the book.

When his playing career fizzled
Ryan Mac
May 13, 2012 Ryan Mac rated it liked it
Shelves: other-giveaways
Like many other reviewers, I am typically not a fan of baseball themed books (I think The Natural ruined my taste for these). This was a well-written but mostly depressing story about a minor league baseball player, Edward Everett, who gets his chance to play in the big leagues for a couple weeks. In one of these games, a knee injury sidelines him and ends his chances for a major league career. Fast forward 30 years and Edward is still in baseball--now as a manager of a small minor league team. ...more
Apr 10, 2012 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I know nothing about baseball. The very few times I've had to go to a baseball game I've hated it. I think the sport is boring and far too much attention gets paid to it.

So you wouldn't think that this would be a book I'd enjoy but I did! First of all, it's about baseball but it's not. Baseball is the setting but honestly it's about failure and dreams and figuring out your own path.

Edward gets a chance to play for the major leagues and then (as you can guess by the title) it doesn't quite work
Jun 24, 2012 Robin rated it liked it
I'm not a big fan of baseball so I skimmed through the details of the actual games -- except for the one game the main character, Edward Everett Yates, believes he could have had it all! Even though I'm not a big baseball fan, I could definitely relate to the notion of just missing the "big one" and the feeling of disappointment that ensues. I really appreciated the near-end of the text when the main character drives to meet his boss thinking he is going to get fired . . . and his boss recognize ...more
Sep 08, 2012 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
More like a 2.5 than a 3. To say this book is about baseball is misleading. It's about obsession or chasing a dream way too long after you should have gone to Plan B- and going to Plan B and doing well and then forsaking it for the dream, yet again. You want to have some empathy for the protagonist but he's a bit of a jerk. However, he's a survivor who just when things seem to be going his way at critical decision points in his life always seems to take the wrong path or should I say the familia ...more
May 19, 2015 Laela rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, baseball
I love baseball. I don’t hide that fact. When it comes to a baseball book I want some serious baseball. The Might Have Been falls short for me. I liked it, but I never loved it. To be fair I could never truly love a baseball book when they are talking about the Cardinals. Maybe if Edward Everett wasn’t a Cardinal I could have liked this book more.

All joking about the Cardinals aside this was not an easy book to follow. Edward Everett is not a character I ever found very relatable. He had some v
Jun 22, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it
Redemption or near-redemption stories among has-beens, might have beens, and never-weres are common in baseball fiction (including one of my personal faves, "The Rookie" with Dennis Quaid). But here, Edward Yates' problems begin with a season-sidelining injury and continue throughout a life of insecurity, lack of ambition and focus, and fear of commitment (to women, children, and the career he always wanted). Still, it's a heartwarming tale that boldly chooses to spend most of its paper on the d ...more
May 26, 2012 woody rated it really liked it
What would happen if you chose baseball over everything else at seemingly every crossroad in life? This is the story of Edward Everett Yates who during his first major league start is having the game of a lifetime until he is tragically injured in the fifth inning during a rainstorm. The game ended when he was injured and was not an official game so his stats, (he hit for the cycle) were not official. He continues to choose baseball over relationships with women who love him, the chance for a fa ...more
Mike McAdam
Apr 09, 2015 Mike McAdam rated it really liked it
*I received this book free through a goodreads giveaway*

I really enjoyed this book! Baseball is certainly not my forte so the idea of the book wasn't that exciting for me. However, I do enjoy a good story and this book provided that. It made baseball more interesting for so kudos to the author for making it appealing beyond sports fanatics. I thought this book was full of interesting characters (oddly enough the least interesting character for me was the main character). Not all the storylines g
Jul 27, 2015 Ammy rated it it was ok
Edward Everett Yates spent 10 years in
the minor baseball leagues. He finally got called up to the St Louis Cardinals but in one split second in what should have been the game of his life, he sustained a devastating knee injury which destroyed his dreams. He spent the rest of his life managing minor league baseball teams.

This was a very slow book. Towards the latter part of his life, Edward begins to regret the choices he made and the life he almost had. I don’t know if it’s that I don’t unders
Meg Truman
Jun 06, 2013 Meg Truman rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, But the main character Edward Everett was so clueless I got frustrated at a couple of points during the narrative. There was total disconnect between his insights about baseball and baseball players as opposed to the lack of awareness about his own life and the people within it. I think the author illustrated this with a leap in time from EE's late 20s all the way to age 60, which EE references with occasional vague memories. He is a lonely man but can't take the steps which ...more
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back to reading 1 7 Mar 08, 2012 12:23AM  
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