The Genius Who Saved Baseball is the feel-good novel America has been waiting for. Robert E. Ingram has created a rollicking story in these pages that will have baseball fans and book lovers completely feeling he has hit a home run with his engaging tale of how young Charlie Collier teams up with a country music superstar, Big T McCraw, to bring Nashville’s first baseball team, the Knights, to the World Series.
The story begins when Charlie’s father, Rex, is hired by Big T McCraw to be part of his team of executives for his newly formed baseball team. Big T wants his team to win, so he has his executives meet and discuss various strategies that might help the team surpass the competition. While many ideas are offered, none of them seems like the winning formula the Knights need.
Enter Charlie. At one of the executive meetings, Rex mentions that his son Charlie is a teenage genius. Although only fourteen, Charlie is already in college, and he has written a paper arguing that modern-day baseball analytics are not only ruining the game for the fans, but affecting the quality of the players’ performance. Charlie’s professor is skeptical about Charlie’s argument and only gives him a C-, the first time Charlie doesn’t receive an A. But this upset only motivates Charlie to prove his theory, and when Rex mentions the theory to Big T, Big T instantly wants to hear more and flies Charlie and his mom to Nashville to share his ideas.
You can imagine what happens from there-the team decides to adopt Charlie’s theory, known as Project Baseball, as their winning strategy that will take them all the way to the World Series. Charlie’s theory is proven to be fact and even the naysayers end up convinced.
Admittedly, the novel’s plot is predictable, but the characters are not. Ingram creates a plethora of dynamic, quirky, and very believable characters whom it is easy to love. There’s Maddy, the coffee shop barista who wants to become a country music singer and songwriter; there’s Rex’s uncle Frank and his best friend Dustin, who grew up playing baseball and support Charlie’s dreams; there’s The Rammer, the Knights’ executive consultant, and Ms. Scully, who also works for Big T-need I say a little romance develops between them. Of course, we can’t forget Alfred, Charlie’s best friend, and there are many, many more-I didn’t even mention all the standout players for the Knights.
Author Robert Ingram is clearly a huge baseball fan, and he sprinkles baseball terms, trivia, and history throughout the book; for those not as familiar with America’s greatest pastime, a glossary of terms is provided. Regardless, anyone who likes a heart-warming story will embrace this book.
Of course, Charlie and his friends have a few obstacles along the way to becoming successful-I won’t go into those so I don’t spoil the fun for you, but I assure you The Genius Who Saved Baseball is full of heartfelt moments, humor, and strength of character that will inspire anyone to overcome their own obstacles. It’s a bit of a self-help book, too, since at the end, Ingram includes his “Nine Inning Bonus,” which focuses on nine key lessons from the book, beginning with “Develop a Positive Outlook on Life,” and then discusses how Charlie and his friends exemplified each lesson.
I heartily recommend this book. I’m not a baseball fan myself, but who doesn’t love a story of winning against all the odds? I absolutely fell in love with the characters and didn’t want the story to end, and I believe you will feel the same way when you read The Genius Who Saved Baseball.