In the American deep south in 1957, the Redbirds battle the Bayou Braves for the championship. Ronnie LeBlanc, the Redbirds’ pitcher, believes that winning the regional title is his ticket out of a dead-end job at the local sugar mill. When the Redbirds suffer a series of losses, the team’s coach quits, and the sole person willing to take the job is a former Negro League pitcher—the only African-American in a still-segregated game.
Ronnie begins to suspect external forces are the cause of his team’s unlucky streak. As he digs for answers, he stumbles upon a secret: Bo Brasseux, the town’s bigoted banker, is scheming to kill the Redbirds’ new coach, throw the championship game, and ruin Ronnie’s family financially. A scout for the Chicago Cubs could be the answer, but will being tapped by the Cubs be enough to thwart Brasseux’s despicable plans against the coach and Ronnie’s family?
Based on a true story, “Stealing First” is only one tale in this collection that offers glimpses of small-town politics, snake-handlers, nosey house-hunters, and the making of a murderer. Each story looks at our prejudices and conceits, our loves in all their variations, and the worst and best of us.