"Phantom of the Bullpen" is a powerful true story about the life of Max Mangum and his lifelong dream of pitching in the major leagues. In a way, this is a tragic story. For most of his life, he had the stuff to be a major league pitcher. His fastball sizzled at over 100 miles per hour. He had the pinpoint control of a laser-guided missile. And he had a love for baseball that is tough to match. He also had something else. Max suffered with paranoid schizophrenia. Throughout this book, author Allen White explores one man's truly fascinating life – his talents, his pain, and everything in between. As Allen seeks to learn more about Max and his past, he discovers quite a bit about himself along the way. Despite an arm like no other, Max never had a chance to break into the big leagues. Mental illness, and its immense burden, was far too much to overcome. Schizophrenia took away so many opportunities, but it never stopped Max from working on his game and perfecting his skills. As Allen got to know Max, he became inspired to go back to college to get a degree so he could teach and coach. Much of this story is about Allen using a short version of "Phantom of the Bullpen" to teach many facets of language arts to his middle school students. It is also about his journey and efforts to find out more about Max's past. And he did. Max Mangum's unfathomable skill at throwing a baseball for such a long period of time is worthy of recognition. That may be the whole reason for writing this story. His dedication to his craft and his perseverance against invisible odds is worthy of recognition, too. Those two things could be more important than his blazing fastball. No. Not really. It's all about the heater.