In this collection of seven original baseball short stories written by an all-star lineup of writers— each of whom understands the game's lore and tactical nuances, as well as its deep roots in American life— mystery and murder take the mound. Compiled by Otto Penzler— the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop and regarded as the world's foremost authority on crime, mystery, and suspense fiction— the stories in this anthology include:• “ Keller's Designated Hitter” by Lawrence Block: Professional hitman John Keller is after a pro ballplayer whose hitting average hasn't kept up with his expensive contract. • “ Pinch Hitter: A Nathan Heller Story” by Max Allan Collins: Fact and fiction mix in this preposterous and amusing whodunit about Bill Veeck, who hires an unlikely pinch-hitter— one who ends up dead. • “ Two Bagger” by Michael Connelly: A gripping and emotional father-son story of an ex-con who meets a pair of cops while at a Dodger game. • “ Strike Zone” by K.C. Constantine: An ex-pitcher goes on a stone-throwing rampage. • “ A Family Game” by Brendan DuBois: Youth baseball causes great turmoil in the life of a former mobster under witness protection in a small rural town. • “ Chickasaw Charlie Hoke” by Elmore Leonard: The little lies of an aging former ballplayer become vividly painful when he exaggerates about his pitiful career. • “ Sacrifice Hit” by John Lescroart: Ghastly adult passions arise when a Little League benchwarmer, who saw more time in the dugout than in the game, suddenly dies of a rattlesnake bite.