Tourtellotte: The Roy Hobbs All-Star Team

From SABR member Shane Tourtellotte at The Hardball Times on June 20, 2012:

The mythology of baseball holds a cherished place for the one-year wonder. A new player comes up to the majors, maybe quite young, maybe quite old, and starts tearing up the league. His name becomes a meteor blazing across the sky—and then like all meteors, he burns out, or crashes to Earth. He disappears, never to play again, at least not where it matters.

Baseball writing has a pretty fair number of these prodigies. The most famous is probably Roy Hobbs, the anti-hero of Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, who gets his late second chance and makes the most, and least, of it. (I understand they made it into a movie, too.) Douglass Wallop took a more fantastic route, having Joe Boyd make a deal with the Devil to become Shoeless Joe Hardy in The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. (They made a play and a movie of that one.) And just this year, prolific novelist John Grisham chimed in with Calico Joe, involving the incredible rise and fall of almost supernaturally successful Cubs rookie Joe Castle. (I haven’t looked, but odds are 50-50 that’s already been optioned for a movie.)

We respond to tales like this, the brief taste of glory followed by a plunge back into obscurity. So what about its parallels in real life? What players have followed the same trajectory, getting their season in the sun and no more?

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Originally published: June 20, 2012. Last Updated: June 20, 2012.