Book Review: Lost in the Sun

Title:  Lost in the Sun, Roy Gleason’s Odyssey from the Outfield to the Battlefield

Author:  Roy Gleason as told to Wallace Wasinack with Mark Langill

Published:  2005 by Sports Publishing LLC; 242 pages; ISBN – 1-58261-944-1; $24.95 new, used from $1.00

This book is the amazing true story of Roy Gleason, an LA Dodgers "bonus baby" who was a September, 1963 call-up for the pennant- and World Series-winning Dodgers.  Gleason appeared in eight games, primarily as a pinch-runner, scored three runs and hit a double in his only plate appearance.  He never appeared in the majors again, but his story doesn’t end there.  He is subsequently drafted, served in combat in Vietnam, and was wounded.  Gleason claims to be the only player that, after playing in the majors, saw combat duty in the Vietnam War.

Gleason’s story reads like part Roy Hobbs (The Natural) and part Crash Davis (Bull Durham).  He was a promising high school and minor-league baseball star, was signed for $55,000 in 1961, but had difficulties breaking onto the strong ’60s Dodger rosters.  After serving in Vietnam and recuperating from serious injuries sustained in combat, he was making progress on a baseball comeback.  But then, he was hurt again in a car accident, effectively ending his baseball career.

A quote from the Roy Hobbs character in The Natural certainly applies to Gleason:  "My life didn’t turn out like I’d planned."  But the book does have a feel-good ending of sorts.  SABR members would enjoy reading about it.

Author(s) background: Roy Gleason was born in Illinois and grew up in Los Angeles.  This is his first book and he has written several articles for newspapers and online.  Wally Wasinack is a business writer, educator and consultant.  Mark Langill was publications editor and team historian for the Los Angeles Dodgers.     

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