Cooperstown, New York, in 1979 (the year Willie Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame), is a close-knit community where gossip is sovereign and baseball is the great American religion. Seen through the eyes of Dr. Kerwin Chylak, a psychiatrist who has recently moved to town with his family, the citizens of Cooperstown are a wildly eclectic team of players that includes an alcohol-befuddled mayor determined to be more than a footnote to history; the town busybody who pitches missiles of miscommunication; a disillusioned ex-ball player turned warrior; and a sports writer who detests baseball. Little do these ordinary people know that they are about to be thrust into an extraordinary situation as the construction of a baseball theme park threatens their quaint way of life. Teetering on the cusp of a decade in which commercialism could swallow them whole, they are spurred to action -- with unexpected, poignant, often hilarious results.
Full of baseball legend and lore and featuring an unforgettable cast of unconventional characters, Cooperstown probes the hearts and minds of small-town America. It is a celebration of life in all its struggles, sorrows, and sudden slides into victory.
Reading Group Guide
1) At the end of the first chapter we are told that Frank couldn't stand missing history. Now that we know the contents of the document and what he and his pals believed was on it, what history do you believe Frank was referring to? In what sense would he have been missing out on history?
2) In the beginning of the book Chylak had a different opinion about the residents of Cooperstown, how do you think his opinion has changed? Has your opinion about the residents of Cooperstown changed as well?
3) Discuss the father-son relationships between the residents of Cooperstown. Do you see any similarities between them? Although new to the town is Chylak's relationship with his son in any way similar to that of the fathers and sons raised in Cooperstown?
4) Considering the town of Cooperstown relies heavily on its baseball history and attractions to bring in tourists to further their economic growth discuss why some residents were so against the construction of a baseball theme park. Do you agree or disagree with their point of view?
5) Frank tells the tourists on page 5 that Cooperstown is "a town built upon myths". This same analogy is used to describe Manny on pg 51. Discuss the similarities between Manny and Cooperstown. Why would this analogy be used to describe the town and a man like Manny?
6) On page 9 Pilek tells us that "In Frank's mind, they were their own inaugural club, the real McCoys see more