Fantasy&SF Dec1988.jpg
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Fantasy &Science Fiction
Collected Departures
Genre(s) Fantasy, horror
Publication date December, 1988

"Batboy" is a short story written by Harry Turtledove which was first published in Fantasy & Science Fiction in December 1988 and later reprinted in Departures. It is a vampire story set against 1910s baseball.

The story is an epistolary piece, written as a series of letters from rookie St. Louis Browns player Rip to his brother. Rip and another player, Laszlo Kovacs, soon become convinced that the team's batboy, Zoltan Nagy is a vampire, and resolve to destroy him.

Literary Comment[]

In his introduction to the story in Departures, Turtledove refers to "Batboy" as Ring Lardner pastiche. In 1916, Lardner, a sports columnist, published an epistolary novel called You Know Me Al, which featured letters from protagonist Jack Keefe, a bush-league baseball player, to his friend Al back home. This is the format Turtledove employs in "Batboy", with Rip filling in for Jack Keefe, and Willie substituting for Al.

"Batboy" also shares the epistolary format with Dracula to an extent, although the latter also makes use of journals and diaries, with limited use of letters.

Based on the line-ups that are presented in the story, it takes place from September 3-15 in 1917 (based on Grover Lowdermilk's appearance for the St. Louis Browns and Sam Crawford's appearance for the Detroit Tigers).

Turtledove's later novel The House of Daniel again puts the disparate themes of old-fashioned baseball and vampirism side by side.