Shadows of Swayne Field

The Search for the Abraham Lincoln Baseball

Fiction - Sports
232 Pages
Reviewed on 03/08/2021
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Ronald R. Harrington earned his bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College in Albany, New York, in liberal studies with a concentration in history. He is a diehard Detroit Tigers fan, as was his grandfather before him. Ron has had a passion for storytelling and creative writing since he was a kid. He works as a registered nurse at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. B + F = NP

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Shadows of Swayne Field: The Search for the Abraham Lincoln Baseball is a sports mystery novel written by Ronald R. Harrington. Punky and the old Lucas County Recreation Center had a history, even beyond the 1860s vintage baseball game he was playing that hot August day in a full Civil-War-era baseball uniform. He was forty now and loved the vintage games which allowed him, even at the advanced age of 40, to experience the thrill and joy of being at bat and racing for first base. For Punky, having his son, Ronson, in the stands added to the thrill as did remembering his own childhood and being there with Grandpa Hash all those years ago.

The magic that is part of every baseball game seems to carry over into just about every novel and memoir that I’ve read about the sport, but some are even more magical than the rest. Ronald R. Harrington’s Shadows of Swayne Field is one of those rare and very special baseball stories that might even sway the most devoted hater of the sport and get them to see for a moment at least what the rest of us experience. Harrington gets it so well in this amazing tale that blends history, magic and fantasy into a synergistic force that is so much bigger than its parts. I loved getting to know the irrepressible Grandpa Hash and seeing the tight bond he and his grandson share is a joy indeed.

And while I read the book, it seemed as though I were part of the magical weekend the two share as well -- and I don’t think I’m the only one who will feel this way. Anyone who begins this singularly good story is bound to have the same nearly mystical experience that the author shares with us. The plot is a corker, for sure, the mystery of the Lincoln ball is tantalizing, and the adventures Hash and Punky embark upon on their baseball weekend are legendary. The characters? Well, some even those who religiously avoid baseball will still recognize and others you’ll love getting to know as much as I did. Shadows of Swayne Field: The Search for the Abraham Lincoln Baseball is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this year; it’s most highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Shadows of Swayne Field: The Search for the Abraham Lincoln Baseball is a work of fiction in the sporting category with plenty of interpersonal drama and intrigue, and was penned by author Ronald R. Harrington. Following the partial destruction of the family home, our hero Punky, along with his son and nephew, discovers an old box that sends Punky down memory lane as he reminisces about two baseball games he attended with his grandfather in 1984. But the weekend of baseball also included a wild chase for an old family heirloom; a baseball signed by none other than President Abraham Lincoln that had long since been thought lost.

Author Ronald R. Harrington has crafted a truly classic adventure tale that will certainly entertain audiences of all ages and could be enjoyed by different generations as a great family read. The central theme of sports is used in a really warm and beautiful way to connect people, places, and events through some lovely narration of memories and adventures. I found the dialogue to be a particular highlight of the work, one which not only served the characters and helped us get to know them, but was indicative of the attitudes and relationships at the time too. The plot was well constructed and thought out to have many edge-of-your-seat moments, and although it moves at a breakneck pace, it is crafted with clarity, precision, and great timing. Overall, I would certainly recommend Shadows of Swayne Field: The Search for the Abraham Lincoln Baseball as a high quality read for sports and adventure fans alike.

Foluso Falaye

While Ron helps to clean up his mother's attic, he comes across an old box that reminds him of the wonderful time he had with his grandfather 32 years earlier. As Ron reminisces about his adventure with his grandfather in 1984, he shares about their search for a family heirloom: a baseball that was signed by Abraham Lincoln himself! They eventually encounter a mysterious force that takes them back in time to a particular baseball game that his grandfather missed as a teenager in 1928. Join Ron and his grandfather as they meet their favorite baseball heroes and delve into the history of the delightful sport in Shadows of Swayne Field: The Search for the Abraham Lincoln Baseball by Ronald R. Harrington.

Part adventure, part fantasy and comedy, Shadows of Swayne Field is a novel about the shared love for a sport and the beautiful memories created as a result. You don't have to be a baseball fan to enjoy the story. I loved the way Ronald R. Harrington expertly inserts some natural and everyday occurrences into the narrative: love for mashed potatoes and "crunchy" hot dogs, fun invented words shared within the family, and some fond nicknames. The story perfectly intertwines historical facts with fiction that leaves you wishing the imaginary scenarios were real. The gripping narrative is so vividly written that it feels like your mind is switching back to your body when you take a break from the book. I loved the cheerful and endearing atmosphere in Shadows of Swayne Field. Ronald R. Harrington is one amazing writer. Watch out for him!