"Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home is far too complex to be regarded as just a baseball book. Gregory Jordan is a master storyteller, expertly weaving a narrative that is both fascinating and disturbing while ever mindful of the human spirit." --Tom Verducci, senior writer at Sports Illustrated
From World Series hero to prison inmate, Willie Mays Aikens' story is one of tragedy, belief, and the ultimate comeback
Willie Mays Aikens was ascendant in the 1980s, establishing himself as one of the top sluggers in Major League Baseball as a member of the Kansas City Royals, alongside George Brett and Hal McRae. But a promising career quickly turned disastrous when he fell into drug abuse and was ultimately sentenced to 20 years in prison, a reflection of the era's harsh federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine and a criminal legal system intent on punishment rather than rehabilitation. Safe at Home
is an intimate portrait of a tortured player and a redemption story for the ages. Through extensive interviews with Alkens himself, his family, friends, teammates, cellmates, and dealers, Gregory Jordan has woven this comeback tale with compassion and unique intensity.
Readers will gain unvarnished insight into Aikens' impoverished childhood in a slow-to-desegregate South Carolina town, the rollicking Kansas City Royals' locker room, the go-go drug culture of America in the 80s, prison life at Leavenworth, and the grace and stability Aikens has found as a coach and mentor.