This is the first of what I hope will be a semi-regular series reviewing books on baseball, especially those that are relevant to the Red Sox, here at Over the Monster. There is an endless supply of great writing on the sport and I would like to do my best to honor it and help spread the word.
Pinstripe Defection from writer Clay McKinney is a fascinating David and Goliath tale, pitting
The book follows the legal proceedings revolving around the strange signing process used to acquire Michel Hernandez, a Cuban catcher coveted by the Yankees. In unraveling the case of a disputed contract, McKinney touches on the dangers Cuban players faces as they defect to pursue life, liberty and baseball fortune in America and glimpses the often unsavory dealings teams undertake in their quest to get at baseball’s largest untapped mine of talent.
The story begins with the chance meeting of attorney Jason Browning, a legal advisor for several agents and an MLBPA certified agent himself and Gustavo Ricalde, owner of the Yucatan Leones of the Mexican League at the 2002 winter meetings. Ricalde tells Jason about a contract he holds that calls for the New York Yankees to pay
The main flaw with Pinstripe Defection is the lack detail and development outside of the specifics of the legal proceedings. While
That aside, the book makes for a good read. The narrow focus and singular point of view keep this book from being essential reading on the world international baseball scouting, but as a legal drama, Pinstripe Defection succeeds admirably. Red Sox fans will need little convincing to root for Jason Browning as he goes up against baseball’s wealthiest team, but even the most die-hard Yankee fan would find it hard to begrudge him of their admiration after reading this book. . Red Sox fans who remember the circus surrounding Jose Contreras’ defection, might enjoy a look into another defection case and gain a bit more perspective on players like Contreras or Sox prospect Juan Carlos Linares.
You can purchase Pinstripe Defection here.