Re: RARA-AVIS: Charlie Huston's Caught Stealing

From: Stephen Burridge (
Date: 01 Jan 2007

I just read "Caught Stealing" a few weeks ago. There's very little about sports in it, except as it relates to the main character's emotional development -- golden boy athlete whose potential career was ended by the incident at 3rd base, which destroyed his leg, for athletic purposes at least. I vaguely recall the "ERA" point, but I think I assumed that his
"arm" enabled him to be a starting pitcher as well as outfielder, which it seems to me might be possible at the high school level. With respect to the fact that he apparently wasn't actually "caught stealing" in the play that ended his hopes of an athletic career, I think this may be more a matter of a slightly awkward attempt to use the book title in describing the incident than of ignorance of the rules of baseball.

Maybe I'm making excuses for the author because I enjoyed the book so much. Obviously these fairly minor (imo) issues didn't bother me. However, inaccuracies that indicate careless research or lack of knowledge often do bug me, though they may not prevent me from finishing a book.

Stephen Burridge

On 12/30/06, T. Kent Morgan <> wrote:
> For purposes of full disclosure, I want advise list members that
> that I read the messages in the archives about this book before
> posting this comment. Because of my interest in sports
> mysteries/fiction, I picked this book up not long after it came out.
> Most reviews/blurbs mentioned that Hank Thompson was an ex-
> ballplayer who now was tending bar in NYC. Finally last night I took
> it off the shelf and was turned off by page 7.
> First of all, the extent of Thompson's ballplaying was high school.
> Here's the first bit that turned me off. Huston has Thompson
> remembering his high school career.
> "You're a four-tool player: bat, glove, arm and legs. You play
> center field. You lead the team in homers, ERA, RBI, stolen bases
> and have no errors."
> Anyone who knows baseball knows that ERA is not a batting statistic,
> but a pitching statistic that stands for earned run average. Maybe
> Huston meant BA for batting average.
> Here's the next paragraph.
> "In the regional championship game you are caught stealing third.
> You slide hard into the bag as the third baseman leaps to snare a
> high throw from the plate. Your cleats dig into the bottom of the
> base and as you pop up out of your slide, the third baseman is
> coming down with the ball. He lands on the ankle of your caught foot
> and as you continue up, he falls down with his full weight on your
> lower leg."
> Caught stealing, I don't think so. Clearly, Thompson was safe, not
> out, so he had a stolen base and was not caught stealing. I assume
> that the title, Caught Stealing, refers to more than this incident,
> but I'll never know. With those errors, Huston (and his editor) lost
> me as a reader for this book and the others in the series.
> Am I the only person who can be turned off this quickly by mistakes
> of this type?
> Kent Morgan

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 01 Jan 2007 EST