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Nine Bucks a Pound

My second novel, Nine Bucks a Pound, was released in February 2014. It’s available in both ebook and print versions (use the links in the column to the right). Here’s the description from the Amazon page:

Nine Bucks a PoundFor every A-Rod or Manny Ramirez seeking to boost his game to elite levels via illegal means, there have been scores of unheralded players toiling in the minor leagues, desperate to impress the brass enough to simply survive and advance. Young men who have dreamed of playing in the big leagues since they were old enough to swing a bat. When their natural ability alone isn’t enough, the black and white blurs to gray, their fear of getting caught using banned substances outweighed by a more consuming fear of failure.

Three seasons into his professional career, Del Tanner can read the writing on the wall. A contact hitter at a power position, he recognizes his days in the Twins organization are numbered if he can’t match the production of the other first basemen in the system. When his aspiring agent suggests he try steroids, Del makes a choice that will shadow him for the rest of his career.

In his second novel, James Bailey (The Greatest Show on Dirt, 2012) humanizes the players fans are so often quick to demonize. Nine Bucks a Pound ponders life on baseball’s fringe and the dreams that tempt a young man to heed the devil on his shoulder. ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark says, “Bailey hasn’t just given us a great read. He’s given us an important window into a topic we can’t seem to stop talking about.” Adds Russell Rowland, author of High and Inside, “Bailey expertly explores how the desire to succeed at any price can lead to unexpected consequences, mostly involving a man’s relationships with others, not to mention with his own conscience. This is a powerful story about the perils of success at any price.”

I was fortunate enough to receive some very flattering blurbs from some writers I respect quite a lot, including two who have released their own excellent baseball novels in recent years, Russell Rowland and Joseph Schuster. Here’s what they said:

“Almost everything that’s been written about PEDs and baseball reads like either a chemistry textbook or a morality play. So I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to immerse myself in a book that actually tells the human side of this story. James Bailey hasn’t just given us a great read. He’s given us an important window into a topic we can’t seem to stop talking about.” –JAYSON STARK, senior baseball writer, ESPN.com

Nine Bucks a Pound is a timely novel, the story of Del Tanner, a minor league baseball player whose inability to break into the majors leads him to experiment with performance enhancers, just to see whether it will take him to that next level. Like many men in his position, Del soon learns that there’s a reason these drugs are banned, and popular, as his production rises dramatically. Nine Bucks a Pound is more than a sports novel, though. James Bailey expertly explores how the desire to succeed at any price can lead to unexpected consequences, mostly involving a man’s relationships with others, not to mention with his own conscience. This is a powerful story about the perils of success at any price.” –RUSSELL ROWLAND, author of High and Inside

“For most outside of baseball, the PEDs issue is black-and-white. Players who use PEDs are bad, those who don’t are good. In his wonderfully compelling novel, Nine Bucks a Pound, James Bailey puts a human face on the players tempted to give their game some artificial help. He’s not endorsing PEDs, just giving us a vision of why some players may choose to do them. Even beyond that, his novel is a hard-to-put-down, first-rate baseball story about characters who step off the page and seem very much like living, breathing, flesh-and-blood human beings.” –JOSEPH SCHUSTER, author of The Might Have Been

“The characters make this book, but it’s also the little details. James Bailey knows the life. He understands the ups and downs and now we learn he knows the shadows as well. Nine Bucks a Pound doesn’t name names, but it’s the most inside look at the temptations of any player struggling, told he just needs to be a bit bigger, a bit stronger, often just code for find a dealer. If you love baseball, you should read this.” –Will Carroll, author of The Juice and lead writer at Bleacher Report

Nine Bucks A Pound is a worthy and terrific read, with compelling characters dealing with real life on and off the field. The baseball is awesome, but just like real life, it’s never just about baseball. Enjoy!” –ERIC KARABELL, ESPN.com senior writer

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