In addition, the book is a character study of Stanton’s boyhood heroes. Some, like Ernie Harwell, turn out to be more than worthy of his admiration; others, including players and the journalist who inspired Stanton to become a writer, fall short of the mark.
Along the way, we meet a fan who may have the world’s largest collection of Norm Cash memorabilia. Another fan vows to hide out and spend a night in the stadium. Vendors, parking-lot attendants, elevator operators and others who drew subsistence from the stadium and its neighborhood also weigh in, all sharing their stories with grace and grit.
Grandpa’s house is now (in fine Motor City tradition) a vacant lot. The stadium is in disuse. The reunion doesn’t come off quite as hoped. The team still stinks. Doesn’t matter. The Final Season is a warm and compelling read for lovers of our town’s history, its sports teams or of baseball’s most famous address. Evoking the time when all you needed was the game, a place to watch it and maybe a beer, it casts a long shadow over Ferris wheels, carousels, bobble-head dolls and all the other nonsense that distracts from the most important stuff, the stuff happening on the field.
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