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Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Book Review: ‘It Happened in Wisconsin’ by Ken Moraff

April 30, 2014


“It Happened in Wisconsin,” by Ken Moraff is a fictional novel about a ragtag minor league baseball team, the Racine Robins, and their quest to change the world during the Great Depression.

As someone from Wisconsin, I picked up the book because the title caught my attention. When I read the description of the book, I almost didn’t read it; I didn’t really have an interest in reading a book about a baseball team during the Great

Review by Lauren Piek, Staff Writer
Review by
Lauren Piek,
Staff Writer


Thankfully, I decided to give the book a go. “It Happened in Wisconsin” is so much more than just a book about baseball. It’s a book about love, heartbreak and the consequences of the choices we make.

The narrator loves being the pitcher on his team because of the team’s determination to fight the system and give back to those suffering from economic and social destruction caused by the Great Depression.

The Racine Robins travel throughout the Midwest on their Crown Coach Company bus, giving money to each town they play in, whether it’s to a soup kitchen, orphanage or the less-fortunate.

In the book, the narrator discusses how the team actually stands for something, unlike the major league teams, and that’s why people would come to see them play. He says, “If we’d had our chance, we would have beat those pampered boys in pinstripes—because we stood for something, and the crowds knew it.”

The narrator also goes into stories about his past girlfriend, Nancy. He leaves Nancy to be with the team, to give back to the fans they played for. He constantly goes on about fundamental problems in the system, and how he and his team are trying to change things for the greater good of everyone.

The team gets snowed in at the Rockefeller Hotel while driving through Wisconsin. The team meets a man named Spencer, who essentially uses his own daughter to get the team’s star hitter, Mike, to sign a contract with the New York Yankees.

Throughout the book, the team struggles with the temptation of joining the major leagues. Although the baseball players could make more money, which they could give back to the poor, they’d be getting paid by the wealthy people they are trying to take down.

Moraff also has the narrator deal with the outcomes of the choices he makes. The narrator realizes that while he was out trying to fight for the cause, he was missing out on his life with Nancy and what’s really important in life: living.

I enjoyed Moraff’s writing style. He reminded me of Stephen King, in the sense that I could easily see “It Happened in Wisconsin” turned into a movie.

The book is a great read for someone who likes sports but isn’t a die-hard sports fanatic. Moraff has a way of making the book about more than a baseball team, which was a pleasant surprise.

I would recommend “It Happened in Wisconsin” for anyone who wants to read not only about baseball, but also about how actually living is the essential part of life.

5 stars out of 5.

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Book Review: ‘It Happened in Wisconsin’ by Ken Moraff