With baseball at the park, at the little league field, in Little Falls with the Diamond Dawgs and in Amsterdam with the Mohawks, St. Johnsville and the Mohawk Valley have long been enthusiastic about the boys of summer. My mom adored baseball, long championing the Mets, Reggie Jackson and Pete Rose; and just what are they thinking of keeping him out of the Hall of Fame?!?!?!? With the exception of my brother, the rest of the family shook our heads at this interest of hers. Non-baseball person that I am I was a little hesitant to read John Grisham’s novel, Calico Joe for our June book discussion. In a nut shell, I loved the story and would like to recommend it for your summer reading pleasure.
Set in 1973, Calico Joe speaks to the excitement and love of the game; long before it became overloaded with gazillion dollar players and the whispers of rampant steroid use. Anyone who enjoys and follows baseball will find pleasure in this simple novel. John Grisham is not only a fine writer but a good storyteller and Calico Joe is proof of that.
***A surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball…Whatever happened to Calico Joe?
It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injured his back. The team suddenly needed someone to play first, so they reached down to their AA club in Midland, Texas, and called up a twenty-one-year-old named Joe Castle. He was the hottest player in AA and creating a buzz.
In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen. The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.
Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever…
*From John Grisham’s website www.jgrisham.comsee also www.mydiamonddawgs.com