The Iowa Baseball Confederacy


310 pages
ISBN 0-00-223046-1





Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.


W.P. Kinsella has raised (fictional) baseball to new and mystic heights. His Shoeless Joe surely made the uninitiated sit up and take notice of the great American outdoor pastime. Now, in The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, his magic mixture of baseball, love, and literature is as potent as ever.

Gideon Clarke has inherited, and is fixated upon, his late father’s obsession: an exhibition baseball game played on Onamata, Ohio, in 1908, between the world-champion Chicago Cubs and the all-stars of The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, an amateur league. Gideon cares passionately about this extraordinary game, which lasted for more than 2000 innings, but only he believes that it ever took place. No records of the game can be located. No one else is in the least interested in his tireless study and research. Then, magically, Gideon and his best friend, another baseball freak (this one a loser with a hopeless longing to become a big leaguer) are transported through a crack in time, back 70 years to the summer of Gideon’s beloved game. There he experiences not only the greatest base-ball marathon ever, but the girl he has scarcely dared to dream of, a 300-year-old Indian with a blood score to settle, and President Teddy Roosevelt. The book is wonderfully off-beat fantasy.



Kinsella, William P., “The Iowa Baseball Confederacy,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,