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The Might Have Been

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  476 ratings  ·  93 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 ba
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Ballantine Books
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3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  476 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Richard Derus
Mar 10, 2013 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 28, 2012 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 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 H
Mar 26, 2012 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 14, 2014 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 20, 2012 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
Feb 16, 2012 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
Feb 19, 2013 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
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 21, 2012 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 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
Apr 25, 2012 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 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.
Mar 14, 2012 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
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
The beginning was interesting, but once it skipped ahead 20 years it lost me.
Rich Padula
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Might Have Been
I enjoyed the story line of The Might Have Been as well as some of the themes that it incorporated. The novel was very understandable in terms of how much it related to real life. I thought that the author did a good job of putting the reader into the character’s shoes as the character went on about living his life. The book shows important and significant developments in theme, character, and mood as the novel progresses.
As the main character Edward Everett goes through li
Ben Kubic
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The Might Have Been” is an honest story about a life in the game of minor league baseball. Edward Everett Yates, like so many others, got his shot playing in the pros. But also like so many others, his shot didn’t last long, as an accident “would shape his life in ways [he] wouldn't feel for decades.” After his playing days, he was unable to settle down into a normal life, and reverted back to what he knew best. He gave up opportunities outside of the game left and right, and never found a home ...more
Jake Stevens
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book the Might have been is about a man named Edward Everett Yates. The book tells about his life as a professional baseball player and then his post baseball player life as a manager for a baseball team. He faced many hardships in his career as a player such as, having an injury and being cut from a team. He not only faced hardships in the game of baseball but also in his social and more personal life. He has multiple wives throughout his life and many other little events that make his life ...more
John Deibert
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the book, The Might Have Been, the main character is Edward Everett. He is a baseball player and is also a manager of a minor league team called Perabo City. Edward Everett was faced with a lot of problems in his lifetime. Ed’s most highlighted problems throughout the book is: playing baseball, his baseball team, and even women.

In addition, Edward Everett played baseball for the St Louis Cardinals, an MLB team. Until, he suffered a bad injury that ended his professional career. Thirty years
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
People always say, “only if.” In this book an a man's entire fate lies on only if.
If you like the the game of baseball and the story of a man's life as he makes his way through the world. This book is for you.

Edward Everett is exactly what the title of the novel suggests, The Might Have Been. Edward has a die hard passion for baseball. He has left all other possible professions behind to pursue his lifelong dream of being a pro ball player. However, the “big guys on the field” don’t see it that
Kev Willoughby
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is so close to being a good book but Schuster didn't quite pull it off. Aside from the protagonist, the characters are not particularly well developed and the plot has just a few more outlandish events than I could take. That said, Schuster nails one thing: his depiction of the longing for success against long, long odds and crummy conditions that low-level was powerful.
I love baseball ... but I found this depressing. One bad event after another - tragedy with the sport, tragedy with relationships, tragedy with child ... I really enjoyed the character and the development - but was glad to see this book end.
Anthony W
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Very readable as I went along, but there was no major conflict driving the story forward. It is a nice look at regret and living with the decisions we make (or rather, let be made for us), but without the overarching major conflict, the book just ... ends.
Greg Zimmerman
Apr 04, 2012 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
Feb 25, 2012 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
Jessica Jeffers
Mar 29, 2012 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
Gary Anderson
Jan 19, 2017 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
Mar 15, 2012 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
Jan 31, 2012 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
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