“The most striking pages… tell the tale of Texas Rangers All-Star Josh Hamilton’s astoundingly precocious talent.
“At the age of 6, Hamilton could throw a baseball 50 mph — his first peg from shortstop in Little League knocked his bewildered first baseman to the ground. Shortly thereafter, he was elevated to a ‘Majors’ team in North Carolina’s Tar Heel League, where his manager (also his dad) batted him ninth behind boys twice his age for the sake of propriety. The first-grader punched his first home run over the left-center field fence off a pitcher who must have had at least the beginnings of pubic hair.
“It was Hamilton’s earliest spiritual moment: ‘It’s hard to explain, but on contact, I felt nothing. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.’ ”
— From a review of “Beyond Belief” in the literary magazine n + 1 (June 16, 2009)
Hamilton, born and reared in Raleigh, turns 30 today. Not the happiest of birthdays: The Rangers have sent him to the minors to rehab a leg injury.