Time often slows and even stops in the small town of Cottage Park Iowa. In fact time is best measured not by the hands of a clock but by the innings of a baseball game. Praying and playing baseball are two of the town's primary activities. Actually they are one in the same in a town where baseball is a religion. Still time does eventually flow on. Much like the Des Moines River just outside Cottage Park time leads to the site of the 1974 Iowa high school baseball tournament.
Cottage Park's Holy Trinity High School has never won the Finals. The team's three elderly coaches vow to at last anoint themselves champions before they retire. For the players the road to the Finals is a confirmation by fire-a rite of passage before they must face adulthood. Fathers sons and the holy ghosts of baseball join together in the quest for the Finals. Along this journey young and old alike ultimately learn you must sacrifice before you can gain and sometimes you must lose before you can win.
Tommy Murray is a retired teacher from the Minneapolis Public Schools. He is the author of one other novel: the forthcoming The Empty Set. Murray is married to Mary Ann and they reside in Shoreview Minnesota. They are the parents of four adult children all of whom are baseball and softball legends in the Shoreview area.
"There are plenty of characters with interesting stories in this book descriptions of baseball games and underlying meditation on aging as well as how important it is for boys to have older men as mentors." -Mary Ann Grossmann St. Paul Pioneer Press
"The Hawkeye State is the setting once again for a captivating baseball novel by Tommy Murray. Murray writes with the perceptiveness of one who has spent decades working with teenagers tolerating their immaturity while refining their mettle. And he shares their precocious insight into the authenticity of the adults around them.
"Murray's novel mixes Pete Hamill's pacing and characters with a touch of Mitch Albom's mysticism. It combines the down-home folksiness of W.P. Kinsella with the throw-at-their heads combativeness of Leo Durocher. Cottage Park is still a hard-drinking quick-tempered world where men wear a sense of justice on their sleeve and never duck a fight over principle.
"Such small town virtues seem a distant nostalgic memory in these disturbing times. If literature-or baseball for that matter-has anything to teach us in this frenetic impatient age of ours it might be the rediscovery of restraint and humility dedication and hard work-virtues that "the olds" instill in all the boys of Tommy Murray's summer." -Jim Swearingen National Book Review
"The action in Murray's novel isn't limited to the diamond and its pop-up flies bunts and double-plays. Murray leaves nobody on base or safe at home as the reader is enlightened about the private lives of high school players struggling with egos angst misbehavior teen pregnancy abuse and death." -The Catholic Globe
"Fathers Sons and the Holy Ghosts of Baseball is a well-executed story of boys old men and the power of the game to shape community and individual lives. Iowa native Tommy Murray has penned a solid novel set in small-town Iowa in 1974.
"As with many a baseball book Fathers Sons and the Holy Ghosts of Baseball uses the game as a jumping off point to consider other themes including issues of faith the relationships between fathers (and father figures) and sons the nature of community and the inevitability of change-sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. The friendship of the three coaches and their individual relationships with young men in need of guidance are at the heart of the story. Murray crafts these affiliations with care tracing the ups and downs of vulnerable people forging strong bonds." -Rob Cline The Gazette (Cedar Rapids)