Nothing Down - Kindle ebook - by Mike Reuther

New York Yankees rookie pitcher Homer Newbody is a breath of fresh air for Major League Baseball in an era tainted by steroids, big money and overall cynicism. When he announces to the world he would be happy to pitch for nothing after throwing two no-hitters in his first two games, he encounters both praise and criticism - from teammates, opposing players, the media, even the team owner. This is a story about what happens when one man walks to the beat of his own drummer.

5.0 out of 5 stars A throwback set in the modern era August 9, 2013

Although the setting is in the modern era of baseball with astronomical salaries and free agency, this book is a throwback to the baseball fiction books of the forties and fifties. It reminded me of the classic "The Kid From Tomkinsville" by John R. Tunis, where a naïve boy from a rural background becomes a star in major league baseball. Even the first name of the main character (Homer) sounds more like a rural farm boy.

Homer Newbody grew up in a very small town in Pennsylvania called Centre Town and all his life his passion has been baseball. His uncle Hal Newbody had worked with Homer all his life, catching his pitching, reading baseball encyclopedias and then talking about the players. The story opens with Hal being buried and Homer going off to the Yankees spring training site. While Homer was a local semi-pro sensation, that fame was not national and he had to write letters in order to get permission to attend the spring training tryouts.

Homer quickly demonstrated that he was a talented pitcher and it was not long before he was playing for the Yankees and he had an amazing debut, throwing no-hitters in his first two starts. Now living his lifelong dream, Homer announces that he is so happy to be where he is that he would play for just the meal money. This sets him at odds with some of his highly paid teammates, members of a carnivorous press and even some of the fans.

Homer's environment is now very different and he struggles to cope with the newfound fame and scrutiny of him, his family and the people of Centre Town. While some are supportive, most see him as a means to their ends, even those that sound the most sincere. It is an excellent story with an ending quite different from that of most sports fiction books. The story is more about life, pursuing your passion so that you can live your dreams than it is about sports and baseball. It is also about loss, having to cope with unfamiliar environments and dealing with the harsh reality of business climates.