The Clubhouse Thief

Published: January 2018, New Issues Poetry & Prose
ISBN-13: 978-1-936970-51-3

Agent: None
Availability: Amazon | B & NUPNE
Press Packet: Download PDF

“The historic problem with sports fiction is that the fictional, internal dramas on display can’t compare with what we read in the best of sports biography. But with James Janko’s The Clubhouse Thief, we have sports fiction that rises to the level of art…An absolute triumph.”

––Dave Zirin, Author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States

“This is a romantic fiction of American baseball driven by superstition and enduring loyalty and set against the backdrop of Chicago, its history the converging American center of racial and political turmoil. The passionate desire of the game is threaded through an equal desire for racial equality and social justice and the history of athletes with political convictions.  Narrated by a sardonic aging bench coach, still grasping for a last chance and revitalization and beset by contemporary changes of race and gender to his iconic (white) American game, this romantic comedy is crafted with careful tension, all the gripping pacing and rhythms in play.  Rummaging through and lifting the love letters, poetry, and opinion articles of his team, the bench coach/clubhouse thief gets an education and an epiphany. Not an avid fan nor very knowledgeable about baseball, I followed every pitch, hit, and steal with the same intensity of the telling, and I realize that I, too, really wanted the Cubs to win.  Hilarious and heartbreaking.”

––Karen Tei Yamashita, Author of Letters to Memory

The Clubhouse Thief is a baseball book the way Bernard Malamud’s The Natural is a baseball book. Set in that great American city, Chicago, here is an American story that is at once morality play and entertainment. More than a genre book, yet The Clubhouse Thief mines our fascination with the inner workings of a profession and discipline. How does a baseball player think? Here is a deep exploration of America, and how we create ourselves and our conscience and our country.”

––Maxine Hong Kingston, Author of I Love a Wide Margin to My Life