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Book Review: The Last Best League

Posted by cuorange on June 24, 2009

This well written book chronicles the Chatham A’s of the Cape Cod League during the 44 game 2002 season, focusing on a few of the team’s stars as they compete in the best college summer league with wooden bats and outstanding pitching.

The main players are Jamie D’Antona (Wake Forest), Tim Stauffer (Richmond), Chris Iannetta (North Carolina), Thomas Pauly (Princeton), Colt Morton (North Carolina State) and Chad Orvella (North Carolina State).

While the book had extra interest to me because of the ACC ties (and a Clemson signee in Trolia), it was the insight into the struggles and tumult of the season that held my interest throughout.

Most of the starters were superstars at their respective colleges and came in bursting with confidence and swagger. Some left humbled. Others left with buoyed spirits that they could compete and succeed at the highest level of amateur baseball.

There were several stories of small time college players from Princeton, Siena and Maine trying to catch the eye of the scouts for just a chance at pro ball.

Also included in the book is an account leading up to and including the 2003 draft in which incredibly 5 members of the 2002 Chatham A’s were drafted by the San Diego Padres.

The book also combines historical information of the Cape Cod League, how the teams obtain players, operate and market (or not) with the hard reality of big time baseball and the harsh judgment of major league scouts weaved in with the personal stories of the players.

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