Anxious People by Fredrik Backman


Okay, bear with me on this one.

Fredrik Backman is a wonderful Swedish author. There have been four Swedish-born players in MLB history, but none of them were born after 1900, so the Swedish-born angle was out.

There is a father-son (Jack and Jim) pair of police officers in the story, and there have been plenty of father-son combos in Major League Baseball. There was Jim Bagby and Jim Bagby Jr; Jim Campanis was preceded by his father Al; Jimmy Cooney had two sons play big league ball, Jimmy Jr. and Johnny; Jack Doscher’s father Herm played in the majors; Jim Hegan saw his son Mike follow in his footsteps; Jim Heise’s father Clarence pitched, as did Jim Mains’ father Willard; and Jack Graham’s father Peaches (yes, his real name) caught for four different teams. But there has never been a father-son MLB duo named Jack and Jim.

And even if there had been, which one would I choose?

There has never been a Fredrik in Major League history, although there have been two Backman’s. Les Backman last played in 1910, so he was out. But Wally Backman was a possibility, and another reason to look up Wally Backman managerial blow ups is always a plus.

And yet, I didn’t go that way. No, this felt like it needed a little more than just a name connection. So, here we go. Anxious People is a story about police officers, an apartment viewing, a bridge and two attempted suicides. It’s also a story about a bank robbery and a hostage situation. During Spring Training in 2000, Morgan Ensberg and four of his teammates were held hostage in their hotel room by two gunmen. When teammate Aaron Miles was heard next door, the gunmen brought Miles in to join the group. Miles eventually wrestled with one of the gunmen, biting him in the forearm and tearing off a piece of flesh, and subduing him until the police came. Miles had the better performance that day, but Morgan Ensberg’s career WAR of 13 is twelve points higher than Miles’ 1.

Plus, I found Ensberg’s card before I could come up with an Aaron Miles.

Heres my ranking of Fredrik Backman books:

  1. Beartown
  2. A Man Called Ove
  3. Us Against You
  4. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
  5. Britt-Marie Was Here
  6. Anxious People
  7. The Deal of a Lifetime
  8. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
  9. (I have not read Things My Son Needs to Know About the World)

One thought on “Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

  1. Morgan Ensberg may not have been born in Sweden, but he must be of Swedish or at least Scandinavian extraction. Wikipedia tells me that there’s an Edsberg Castle in Sweden and a town of Esbjerg in Norway. Maybe in the early 2000s there were Swedish baseball tourists following Morgan Ensberg from ballpark to ballpark, like the Austrians who came to see Blauser, Lemke, and Benzinger in the ’90s.

    Liked by 1 person

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