The Story Of Heathcliff's Journey Back To...

H . . .

July 12, 1992|By KAROL V. MENZIE SUPER SCOUT: THIRTY-FIVE YEARS OF MAJOR LEAGUE SCOUTING. Jim Russo with Bob Hammel. Bonus Books. 222 pages. $19.95. | KAROL V. MENZIE SUPER SCOUT: THIRTY-FIVE YEARS OF MAJOR LEAGUE SCOUTING. Jim Russo with Bob Hammel. Bonus Books. 222 pages. $19.95.,LOS ANGELES TIMES

H . . . THE STORY OF HEATHCLIFF'S JOURNEY BACK TO WUTHERING HEIGHTS.

Lin Haire-Sargeant.

Pocket Books.

304 pages. $20. It's a matter of debate if, however much readers want to read it and however much someone wants to write it, any author should ever attempt to complete the work of another. For the record, I think such efforts are doomed; they never have the fire of the original, and authors writing out of their own voices generally sound stilted and derivative.

Having said that, I have also to say that Lin Haire-Sargeant's "H.," which "fills in" a three-year gap Emily Bronte left in the life of Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights," very nearly topples such objections. The first half of the book, at least, captures the darkness and eccentricity of the Gothic form; it feels and sounds authentic, and the characters are compelling. Heathcliff is especially well-drawn, with all his contradictions and passions.

The story tangles in its own feet and falls over, however, when Ms. Lin-Sargeant tries to weave in another Bronte story (Charlotte's, this time). Heathcliff is overpowering enough; which perhaps why Emily sent him away in the first place. Finding out where he got his money would have been enough.

@ Jim Russo never pitched an inning for the Orioles. He never knelt in the on-deck circle. He never even kicked the home team's water cooler.

Still, his contributions to Orioles teams of the 1950s through the world championship season of 1983 were enormous. He scouted and signed Dave McNally and Jim Palmer to their first Orioles contracts. He spent the final month of the 1966 season bird-dogging the Los Angeles Dodgers, losers to the Orioles in the World Series, making helpful notes about Don Drysdale's control and Sandy Koufax's fastball.

Mr. Russo also is the guy who tried to convince Manager Earl Weaver that a young infield prospect (Cal Ripken Jr.) would be most at home as the Orioles' third baseman. Hey, who's perfect?

In this memoir, Mr. Russo traces his route from small-town broadcaster to part-time scout to one of the game's top talent evaluators. For Orioles fans, the more interesting chapters concern his dealings with, and impressions of, the famous and infamous Orioles.

This book isn't likely to find a place on Hank Peters' coffee table. Mr. Russo has harsh words for the former team general manager, who he complains made more promises than he kept -- specifically in promising coaching jobs to former players Lee May and Al Bumbry.

MARK HYMAN

GRAND INQUESTS: THE HISTORIC IMPEACHMENTS OF JUSTICE SAMUEL CHASE AND PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON.

William H. Rehnquist.

Morrow.

303 pages. $23.

The title of this book by the chief justice of the United States isn't strictly accurate, for only about half of "Grand Inquests" concerns the ultimately unsuccessful impeachments of Samuel Chase (in 1804) and Andrew Johnson (in 1868). The remainder is background, the relevance of which is at times obscure.

Mr. Rehnquist obviously wants to put these events in historical context, but the result is a volume that often seems like a drawn-out civics textbook. When he gets to the heart of these matters, however, "Grand Inquests" is effective, for his factual descriptions are generally fair-minded and clear. Mr. Rehnquist's overarching point is conventional: that the failure of these two impeachments, brought largely for political ends, "surely contributed as much to the maintenance of our tripartite federal system of government as any case decided by any court."

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