Roy Hobbs is potentially a hero : he has an immense natural gift for playing baseball, and the chance of becoming a player unmatched in his time. But it is a long time before he finds a place on a major league team. His first attempt ends violently, at the hands of a crazy girl, and it is years before another chance comes. By that time he is not far off the age at which most first-class players retire. In a few short seasons, or never, he must make the towering reputation that he feels is his right.