Calico Joe

Calico Joe

3.9 305
by John Grisham
     
 

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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 thirdSee more details below

Overview

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…
 
In John Grisham’s new novel the baseball is thrilling, but it’s what happens off the field that makes CALICO JOE a classic.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Only one player in Major League Baseball history has been hit and killed by a pitch, but bean balls—balls thrown near the head—have ended careers. Grisham's (The Litigators, 2011, etc.) novel imagines the act and its consequences. It's 1973, another magic baseball season. The National League East has six teams contending, among them the traditionally hapless Chicago Cubs, soon jinxed once again when its first baseman is injured. Now the Cubs must add a minor leaguer to the roster. That's Joe Castle, a kid from Calico Rock, Ark. Calico Joe immediately begins to set rookie records, leading the Cubs to the top of the standings. Watching from New York is Paul Tracey, a baseball fan as avid as only an 11-year-old boy can be. In fact, Paul's father pitches for the New York Mets, but Warren Tracey, "accustomed to getting whatever he wanted," is a jerk. Warren is a journeyman pitcher, solid in an occasional game, kicked around from one team to another, never an All Star. Warren also abuses his family, drinks and chases women. The novel unfolds from Paul's adult perspective, with flashbacks. The crucial plot point comes in a flashback when Calico Joe, putting up "mind-boggling" numbers over 38 games, meets Warren in Shea Stadium and hits a home run. During his next at bat, as part of some unwritten "code," Warren goes head-hunting and beans the young player. Calico Joe's career is over, and he drifts home to Calico Rock, partially paralyzed, speech impeded, to work as a groundskeeper rather than earning a plaque in baseball's Hall of Fame. Decades later, long estranged from his father, Paul learns that Warren is dying of pancreatic cancer, and he decides to force his father to confront what he did to Joe Castle. Interestingly, the novel's most fully formed character is Warren, and while the narrative and settings are solid, the story drifts toward a somewhat unsatisfying, perhaps too easy, conclusion. A reconciliation story, Hallmark style.
Steven V. Roberts
John Grisham's legal thrillers are dense and hefty, full of twists and turns and tension. His latest novel, Calico Joe, is not like that at all. It's a sweet, simple story, a fable really. And like all fables, it has a moral: Good can come out of evil; it's never too late to confess your sins and seek forgiveness…if you believe in redemption—and who doesn't—you won't be disappointed. Grisham knows baseball as well as he knows crime.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
Praise for Calico Joe
 
“Grisham knocks it out of the park.”—The Washington Post
 
“An enjoyable, heartwarming read that’s not just for baseball fans.”—USA Today
 
Praise for John Grisham
 
“Never let it be said this man doesn’t know how to spin a good yarn.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Grisham may well be the best American storyteller writing today.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385536073
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/10/2012
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
231,794
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.88(d)
Lexile:
900L (what's this?)

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