Much of what occurs in major league baseball is well documented. Away from the bright lights and multilevel palaces of the big leagues are many more people involved in the game at other levels. Players, from rookies to veterans, struggle to work their way to the major leagues. These journeys are repeated annually across the globe. Many of the stories here came first-hand from the people who lived them through interviews with the author. Imagine playing in Japan for the first time, only to discover that your interpreter is still trying to learn English. Or being traded for a bucket of fish. Or having your team bus break down in the mountain wilderness where the closest sign of civilization is a dilapidated country store with heads from freshly killed wildlife staked outside. Or discovering that your two year-old has flushed the last of your family's money down the toilet while your husband was away on a road trip. Or fighting an unexpected case of nerves in your first major league at-bat while facing the legendary Warren Spahn. For every game, every inning, and every out, there are stories. For decades after Jackie Robinson broke the major league color barrier, the fight against racism continued in the minors. Ballplayers and their families who were expecting another typical winter league baseball season in Havana, Cuba suddenly found themselves in the middle of Fidel Castro's revolution. Players are not the only ones to be heard from. Over one hundred and fifty people involved in the game were interviewed for this book. There are umpires who had to flee angry mobs, a baseball broadcaster who was the last to re-create games in a studio, and a manager who had to deal with a playerovercome by the death of Elvis. Fans, family, scouts, owners, front office people, and mascots share their experiences here. The chapters also cover superstitions, pratfalls, promotions, ballpark oddities, first experiences in professional ball, getting the call to the major leagues, and finally hanging up one's glove. The game is filled with colorful characters and antics. There was Casey Stengel, still years away from his legendary major league managerial career, who once threatened to wear a dress on the field. Ed Nottle was one of several ejected managers who got their revenge on the umpires while wearing some bizarre disguises (that didn't include dresses). Players have had to tread carefully on minor league fields, avoiding gopher holes and auto parts. A game was once cancelled due to a frog infestation. Discover why players were burning bats during a game in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Or why a player used a peeled potato in a close game instead of a baseball. Find out which parks you could have won a racehorse in, or perhaps a free funeral. This isn't the baseball you're going to see on ESPN, but it's still a lot of fun.