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Recommended Reading | The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League – by Dirk Hayhurst

September 19, 2012

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A couple of months ago I posted my first ever Recommended Reading article in which I gave a quick review of Dirk Hayhurst’s second book about his life in professional baseball; Out of My League: A Rookie’s Survival in the Bigs.

Not a collecting theme to the series of articles really, but I figure that fellow sports fans may enjoy a good read once in a while as I do, so I may as well share some of my favourites with them.

Well, I enjoyed that book so much that at the end of that article I mentioned that I had immediately gone to Amazon and ordered his first book, The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran.

And that book is what today’s post is all about.

Just as was the case with the last book, if you’re a baseball fan and are interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a professional player then this book is a must read.

Hayhurst released this, his debut book back in 2010, which was also my last year working for the Blue Jays’ charitable arm, Jays Care Foundation.  I had heard from colleagues in the organization during the 2009 season that Hayhurst spent with the organization.

Ever since then I had wanted to read this book, something that only increased after learning that it had become a New York Times Bestseller.

As was the case with Out of My League, I enjoyed this book from the first page through to the last.

Reading about the juvenile antics of a bunch of minor leaguers brought back fond memories of my university days.  Granted, the pinnacle of my athletic career were more along the lines of intramural flag football championships and not professional baseball titles, but the goofiness and camaraderie described in The Bullpen Gospels reminded me of some of the fun and stupid things I got myself into with my own teammates.

This book was definitely a more light-hearted look at Hayhurst’s career, only briefly delving into the more personal issues he shared with his readers in Out of My League.

Sure, there’s some pretty deep stuff being discussed in this book, but it’s not with the same intensity that was displayed in his follow-up novel. 

The parts that stood out the most to me in this book centered on the childish antics of his teammates, the fun ways he passed the time in the bullpen with his fellow relief pitchers, and the glory of his team rebounding from a sub par stretch of performance to eventually win the league championship.

While this was definitely an entertaining read, I do wish I had read The Bullpen Gospels before reading Out of My League.

First off, the timelines in The Bullpen Gospels and Out of My League overlap somewhat.  The Gospels actually gives some added context to Out of My League, things that would have been more helpful for me to know in advance of reading the follow-up, but were made redundant when getting the less detailed version of events from the prequel.

Out of My League also seemed to be a little more polished in terms of the writing style and content than The Bullpen Gospels did, a natural occurence as a writer develops in his/her craft.

Aside from those things, which were due solely to the fact that I read the books in the opposite order and were in no way a fault of Hayhurst’s, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommended it to anyone who enjoys a good sports read.

A word of warning if you decide to pick up a copy of your own, there is some pretty strong language used in the book.  Definitely not a surprise to me to see it included as it helps paint the picture of the minor league lifestyle, but it’s also not exactly junior-reader-friendly.

If you’ve read The Bullpen Gospels the please share your thoughts with me by posting a comment, sending me an email at, or connecting with me on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Also let me know if you have any books, blogs, or other resources that you think I should read and potentially share here on the blog.

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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