Fielder's Choice

Fielder's Choice

4.6 3
by Rick Norman

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Andrew Jackson Fielder wants to pitch in the major leagues. It should seem a distant dream to a kid in Smackover, Arkansas, in 1939. But for Jackson, it comes true, partly due to the afternoons he and his brother spend practicing pitches in a pipe yard down in the south Arkansas oilpatch.


Andrew Jackson Fielder wants to pitch in the major leagues. It should seem a distant dream to a kid in Smackover, Arkansas, in 1939. But for Jackson, it comes true, partly due to the afternoons he and his brother spend practicing pitches in a pipe yard down in the south Arkansas oilpatch.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Norman's accomplished first novel is full of historical detail and rich with an understanding of baseball and the game's importance in pre-WW II America--prior to the proliferation of TV sports events, when baseball was truly the national sport and played a bigger role than it does now in tying communities together. We follow ``Gooseball'' Fielder, small-town Arkansas boy, as he makes his way to the major leagues as a pitcher for the 1941 St. Louis Browns. But the rookie pitcher's short career will eventually founder in humiliating failure: he ``chokes,'' balking in the winning run and losing the pennant on the last day of the season. He joins the Air Force as the war begins and, after a failed bombing raid, is imprisoned in a nightmarish Japanese POW camp. Near death, and half a world away from home, he is sustained by his memories of baseball. He's rescued and befriended by a U.S.-trained Japanese officer who recognizes him as a former major leaguer, a development that spurs charges of treason when Fielder returns to the U.S. Reminiscent of Mark Harris's wonderful fictional major leaguer, Henry Wiggen, Gooseball is in his own right an original and engaging addition to baseball literature. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Andrew Jackson Fielder is a decent pitcher with a great gooseball. He blows his chances in the majors during a pennant race in 1941 when his chronic inability to make decisions costs the St. Louis Browns the game on a balk. When his brother is killed in the South Pacific, Jax enlists. His rescue from a POW camp by a Japanese admiral who admires his pitching leads to a charge of treason. This book is Jax's account, to army investigators, of what he did and did not do. This is less a story of baseball than a story of growing up in difficult times. Jax is a decent, simple man, and his story is both funny and touching. Recommended.-- Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Daven
School Library Journal
YA-- Jackson Fielder has a heck of an arm. Everyone in Smackover, Arkansas knows it, and so do the St. Louis Browns. Drafted right out of high school, he tears up the league with his signature pitch, the unhittable gooseball. He's a 19-year-old sensation headed for greatness--until, in the 1941 championship game against the hated Yankees, he walks home the deciding run. Fielder tries to escape the shame by joining the Air Force; after being shot out of a B-52 over Japan, he ends up in a prison camp. Following months of abuse and torture, he is ``recruited'' by a Japanese admiral, a Yankee fan, who wants his son to pitch like a pro. The boy, a kamikaze pilot, and his determination to throw the gooseball even though he will not live to play another game, put Fielder back in touch with his love for the baseball. During the course of the book, he sees the consequences of poor choices and bad decisions, his own and others. Beneath the baseball and the shuck-and-jive narration is a story about a young man learning to live his own life. YAs will sympathize with his indecision and suffer along through its consequences.-- Phillip Clark, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA

Product Details

August House Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 8.57(h) x 0.51(d)
950L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 18 Years

What People are saying about this

W. P. Kinsella
This is a bright piece of baseball fiction...funny, touching, and memorable.

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Fielder's Choice 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Raphals More than 1 year ago
The book I read was Fielder¿s Choice. It was a pretty good book. It had some baseball in there and some pretty brutal war battles for you war junkies. It was written by Rick Norman. This book is like a sports book a sports book for those of you that love baseball I would recommend this one. The main conflict in this book is the main character is stuck in this prisoner of war camp and they locked him up in this pipe. He was locked up in there for about three weeks and he wants to get out so he can play in the big leagues again and to go marry his dead brother¿s wife. The setting takes place in three different locations, Nebraska, Mexico and Japan. The characters in the book are Jax Fielder, the main one in the book, Dixie the girl next door and his two brothers Jude and Jugs. I would recommend this book for people who love baseball and reading about WWI. This book was a pretty easy read. It only took me three days to read it. This book is a book for middle school and high school kids. My rating on this book would be a four out of five stars. The book was a hundred and ninety-nine pages long.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fielder's Choice was the most halirious novels I've ever read, but at the same time it was touching. It brings back those childhood memories that we all love to go back to. Its a one of those books that once you open to the first page you won't put it down till the last. I definatley reccommend it to anyone even if your not a baseball fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the finest stories I have ever read. I find it hard to belive that this author and this book are not more famous. On one page I laughed out loud on the first paragraph and by the time I got to the bottom of the pageI had been so moved that I teared up. Great read, great story, well written.