The Might Have Been: A Novel
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The Might Have Been: A Novel

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  255 ratings  ·  64 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...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Ballantine Books
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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...more
Jill
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...more
Stuart
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...more
Larry Hoffer
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...more
jim
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
James
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
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...more
Kasa Cotugno
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...more
Sam Sattler
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
Nancy Kennedy
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...more
Sara
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
Nette
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.
Timothy
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.
Ken
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...more
Scott
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...more
Greg Zimmerman
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...more
Jessica Jeffers
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
Ryan Mac
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
Jenny
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...more
Robin
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
Chris
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
woody
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
Alex Decker
What a wonderful book for a baseball fan! If you have ever played baseball and wished that you could have "one more year" this book is for you. But, even for someone who isn't a baseball fan, there is a lot to get from this book. Essentially the book is about the road not taken. We all know people like Ed Yates, the main character. People who have just enough talent to get them there, but not enough luck to keep them there. The book is well written, the characters flushed out, and rarely a dull...more
Meg Truman
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
Peebee
There's something about baseball that evokes these elegiac novels (like The Art of Fielding) of small towns and and the meaning of life. They are often beautifully written, engaging stories, that you can relate to even if you don't care that much for baseball. I don't care that much for baseball but I can certainly appreciate this subgenre of literature. If you actually like baseball or were ever almost good enough to be a pro, I think you would really love this book.
Theresafic
I am not a baseball fan, I like to watch the occasional game but am not interested in studying it or arcane stats etc; the subject matter probably appealed more to others.
I found it very hard to like Ed., especially in the beginning in his treatment of women. I also have a hard time understanding someone who wants something so much they give up everything.
The book skipped some parts how he got from player to manager, and couldn't help itself with the happy ending. He is saved and goes on to fin...more
Klenox Earthlinknet
This is the third baseball book I've read since the season ended. I can't wait for Opening Day. That said, this book is about a baseball manager who has clung to the fringes of the game his entire live after an injury forces him out of the big leagues. he doesn't make a good case for the mental health of someone like himself as he seems to be a sadsack with no personal friends even after a lifetime in baseball. But it's a good behind the scenes look a how the other half of baseball (minor league...more
tim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Reuther
This is a good story, even if there's not a lot to cheer about. Minor league lifer Edward Everett can't seem to get his life together after his Major League career ends with an injury. Everett spends the rest of his life holding on to baseball as a minor league coach and manager. After all, it's all he seems to have. But as he finds out, the game doesn't exactly love you back.
Margaret D'Anieri
May 30, 2012 Margaret D'Anieri rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Margaret by: found on library shelf
Shelves: baseball
The blurb from Richard Russo calls this "the next transcendent baseball novel" or something like that - which brings to mind books like Waiting for Teddy Williams or some of WP Kinsella's books. This is, if there is such a thing, a dystopian baseball novel. Perhaps some will identify with the protagonist and his very real life, but I just couldn't connect with the story of a guy who never really connects with anyone. That said, it has stayed with me for a few days, so that gives it 3 starts
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back to reading 1 7 Mar 08, 2012 12:23AM  
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