Jonah Keri compares Rick Ankiel, the can't-miss pitching prospect turned Steve Blass disease victim turned - for a few games, at least - slugging right fielder, to Roy Hobbs in The Natural. But Hobbs was an old man by the time he re-appeared in the Show, whereas it's only taken Ankiel a few years to go from pitching trainwreck to starting right-fielder. So the real parallel has to be to Roy Tucker, the Kid from Tomkinsville, and the hero of the greatest boys' baseball books ever written.

I don't know a surer sign of American decline that the fact that in this summer of sporting discontent, Roy Tucker's creator, John R. Tunis, is being considered for deletion by Wikipedia.

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