The Legend of Mickey Tussler: A Novel

The Legend of Mickey Tussler: A Novel

by Frank Nappi


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In the late 1940s, the minor league Milwaukee Brewers are foundering yet again and manager Arthur Murphy is desperate. When he sees seventeen-year old Mickey Tussler throwing apples into a barrel, he knows he has found the next pitching phenom. But not everyone is so hopeful. Mickey’s autism—a disorder still not truly understood even today—has alienated the boy from the world, and he is berated by other players and fans. Mickey faces immense trials in the harsh and competitive world of baseball while coping with the challenges inherent to his disorder. An honest and knowledgeable book about overcoming adversity, and the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes, Mickey’s powerful story shows that with support and determination anyone can be triumphant, even when the odds are stacked against him.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616086589
Publisher: Sky Pony
Publication date: 04/01/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 756,074
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 12 - 16 Years

About the Author

FRANK NAPPI has taught high school English and creative writing for over twenty years. Frank lives in Massapequa, New York, with his wife
Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.

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Legend of Mickey Tussler 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shows how no matter what's wrong with you or what you don't have in common can always lead to something amazing. Just like how Mickey overcame being a so called retard to a pitching freak.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story of young Micky Tussler was beautiful and inspiring. I felt as if I were right alongside Micky every step of the way. Micky was mildly autistic and has a hard life and a difficult father. He has a terrific arm and when the baseball coach of The Rats saw him throwing apples into a bucket he was blown away by the strength in Micky. I was inspired by this wonderful heart-warming tale.
SudiDA More than 1 year ago
In 1948, Arthur Murphy, manager of the minor league baseball team the Milwaukee Brewers, has been sent out on the road to find some new talent. When he comes across 17 year old Mickey Tussler throwing crab apples into a barrel with fantastic speed and accuracy, he believes he has found the man. He quickly realizes that while Mickey might have the best arm he has seen in all his years of baseball, Mickey's not quite like everyone else. Murph's not worried though. He thinks that Mickey's ability with pitching will overcome any obstacles that will be put in the way. Mickey Tussler has not had an easy life. Mildly autistic, Mickey has always been a bitter disappointment to his father. His ability to throw has opened up an incredible opportunity for Mickey with the farm team. He's unease around the other players is slowly overcome as most members of the team slowly accept him. Pee Wee, a teammate of Mickey, befriends Mickey. He understands the hardships of beings different as his sister is deaf and has always faced challenges and prejudices due to her inability to hear and speak. As the season progresses the team slowly comes together. Most of the players realize that Mickey is a main part of why they are winning and are coming to accept his oddities. One man on the team though is angry. Angry and jealous. Lefty thinks of himself first, last and always. A good pitcher in his own right, Lefty believes he is better than Mickey and the rest of the team. He thinks Mickey shouldn't be playing and is willing to do whatever it takes to get him off the team. This is a moving account of life in the late 1940's after the war, a boy's coming of age, a boy overcoming tremendous obstacles to become accepted in the everyday world and a well written account of the hardships and joys of baseball. A wonderful cast of characters which include Mickey, pitcher extraordinaire but due to his autism an odd duck; Pee Wee, fellow baseball player, a caring and accepting man; Lefty, unable to see anything or anyone but himself; and several other interesting people. The story has a nice even tempo. It starts to pick up pace as the Brewers get closer and closer to the end of the season and a chance at the playoffs. The baseball scenes are well written and give you the feeling of being there in the stands, in the dugout and on the pitching mound. Touches of humor, conflict and friendship keep the story from being flat. The ending however fell flat for me. I just didn't feel it was keeping with the rest of the book. It almost felt like it was tacked on simply to end the story. All in all, a great story that will appeal to many people. This isn't just for baseball fans, it would also appeal to anyone who likes a great people story or for anyone who likes to see the underdog come out ahead. I do look forward to reading Sophomore Campaign which is the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler. I received my copy of the Legend of Mickey Tussler by the author and was asked for my honest review in exchange.
HaroldTitus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What elevates ¿The Legend of Mickey Tussler¿ by Frank Nappi from the status of good baseball story to excellent work of fiction is the author¿s use of baseball as a metaphor for human aspirations and relationships. Mr. Nappi¿s story has its villains and its beloved, vulnerable characters and an assortment of individuals capable to displaying varied degrees of empathy when their individual needs and ambitions are not interfered with. Failure is determined sometimes -- like a broken-bat single or a homerun hooked suddenly foul -- by chance but more often by selfish, powerful people. Epitomized by baseball manager Arthur Murphy, an aspiring person struggles against adversity and endures setbacks but does not give up. He must find like-minded souls (Molly, Mickey Tussler¿s mother) to sustain him and, possessing empathy, he looks beyond himself to shield the vulnerable (the Asperger¿s Syndrome farm boy Mickey).The baseball aspect of Mr. Nappi¿s story is excellent. The lingo is familiar; the characters are believable; the pennant race is exciting; the author¿s knowledge of the game is clear-cut. Readers are rewarded for this reason alone.However, it is the author¿s writing skills that mostly make this book special. Mr. Nappi has done everything I hope to see a talented writer utilize.Sharp sensory detail that establishes character presence: ¿Clarence [Mickey¿s abusive father] stood leaning against a gray stone mantel, adorned with a yellowing lace doily held in place by an old brass lantern. Next to that was a family portrait in a tarnished frame and a dusty clarinet. Arthur¿s eyes hurt, as if something acerbic were in the air. It smelled like cat urine or perhaps it was just mold spores. Either way, he could not stop rubbing his eyes.¿Visual detail interspersed with economical, purposeful dialogue: ¿`Baseball?¿ he mocked. `You want Mickey to play baseball? Now, what in tarnation is a baseball team gonna do with a retard? Huh?¿`I don¿t understand.¿The farmer was scratching his head. His amusement brought forth a smile, foul and yellow.`What my husband meant to say, Mr. Murphy, is that Mickey is a little ¿``I said exactly what I meant to say, woman,¿ Clarence barked, raising his hand in mock attack. `Don¿t you be correcting me. He¿s a retard.¿¿Concise expressiveness: ¿Mickey glared at Lefty, his feelings sharp and bent in the intruder¿s direction. He sat still now, Oscar [Mickey¿s pet pig] by his side, left alone to face the wickedness of a world of which he understood so little.¿Back stories to add dimension to secondary characters: ¿McGinty [the shortstop] was definitely the best fit for Mickey. His dad had died when Elliot was just eleven years old. Consequently, young Elliot became responsible for looking out for his mom and his younger sister, Emily, who was born with a degenerative hearing condition that had rendered her deaf by age four. The little girl struggled, drifting through life diffidently, unable to keep pace in a world that moved too swiftly and carelessly to allow for her needs.¿Subjective narration that communicates abstractions: ¿She [Molly] had survived all these years by not focusing on the vast parameters of the world at large but on what was immediately around her. It usually worked. She could lose herself in the mixing of animal feed or the husking of corn. ¿ But occasionally, this vapid existence preyed upon her more tender sensibilities, awakened now and again by glimpses of what could have been, and she cried out in painful protest for the life she really desired but had yet to cultivate.¿Theme: ¿`And there¿s always another at bat. A chance to redeem yourself. You could be washed-up one day, and a hero the next. Truly. Nobody is tied to their fate.¿ ¿ Once again, it appeared, time and events had conspired against him. He was being played with, manipulated by a capricious wind blowing him everywhere. ¿ Murph shrugged his shoulders, as if to suggest that it didn¿t really matt
iluvvideo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An intriguing character study about Mickey Tussler, a 17 year old young man, trapped on a small farm with his mother and a very abusive father. Mickey exhibits what today would be called autism. Unfortunately, back in the 1940's when this story is set Mickey is viewed much differently.Enter, completely by accident, Arthur Murphy, the manager of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, a farm team of the Boston Braves. A baseball lifer, Murphy is on a scouting trip to see a young phenom he hopes will be the missing player to ignite his mediocre team. After watching Mickey toss apples into a basket target, to get them ready for Oscar the pig to eat, Murphy decides to take Mickey back with him and try him out as a pitcher. This is a fun read, full of old timey baseball cliches, several us vs them subplots and the excitement of a pennant race. Unfortunately it pales by comparison to other period baseball books. It would be a great YA novel, but it contains some graphic sex and violence that make it inappropriate for younger teens. Some of the plot devices were passable at best, including Murph's ongoing relationships with Mickey's parents. I liked the ending (hokey though it was) mainly because by the time I read it I was expecting a written by the numbers outcome. It was not and provided a surprise twist that I didn't see coming. So I liked it, but wished it could have been executed a little better.
lnommay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book talk: not appropriate for middle school due to sexual referencesI loved this book and could not wait to finish it!
LFrankel999 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book about fictional autistic pitcher, Mickey Tussler. I thought that the cover showing a ball in a mitt illustrates the role of the catcher in Mickey’s development into an extraordinary pitcher. The rapport that Boxcar, the Brewers’ catcher, develops with Mickey is integral to the story of Mickey’s success. I read the sequel to this book, Sophomore Campaign, before this one. I was interested enough in the characters to want to know more about their backgrounds. Author Frank Nappi wisely left some things for me to discover in The Legend of Mickey Tussler that weren’t mentioned in the second book. I didn’t feel that I already knew the entire plotline and all the information about the past of the characters. I was surprised at several points while reading The Legend of Mickey Tussler. I was most astonished by Molly, Mickey’s Mom. I understood her and identified with her because of what was revealed about Molly in The Legend of Mickey Tussler. Reading this book also caused me to appreciate how much she grew in the sequel. The author’s style was another reason to read the first Mickey Tussler book. I was convinced that I’d find some passages that were noteworthy for their elegance as I did in Sophomore Campaign. This turned out to be a correct assumption. Nappi is a class act, and the editing is also a winner. I only found one typographical error, but many more instances of lovely prose. Yet the one haunting passage that I recorded in my book journal runs counter to the philosophy of Sophomore Campaign that prejudice can be overcome. So The Legend of Mickey Tussler is a darker book than the sequel. Both the tone and the resolution are darker. I concluded that Nappi continued writing about Mickey to give us more hope for him, and all those who have been victimized by prejudice.
Santosh More than 1 year ago
The Legend of Mickey Tussler by Frank Nappi Determination vs. The odds A desperate manager of a minor league baseball team of a small town of Milwaukee in 1948, Arthur Murphy knows that the only thing that can happen to get things back on track in his unsuccessful career is, perhaps, a miracle – and he does encounter one in the face of seventeen years old Mickey, who was skilfully throwing apples into a bucket. When Arthur persuaded Mickey's parents to sign him for the team as a new pincher, he did not know how much life in a small town is about to change. Alienated from the world and the people and unable to understand them, Mickey suffers from autistic disorder, which makes everything very, very complicated. Autism is not fully understood still nowadays, but late 40's were definitely not the time of tolerance or support for anyone who was different. Mickey's joining the team affects fans, team-mates, and rivals profoundly and in unexpected ways, revealing things that should have been under cover. Although Arthur and Mikey's mother do their best to protect "wonder boy" from his abusive, greedy father on the one side, and jealous and cruel rivals and teammates on each other, evil keeps on taking over. What can they all do to make a difference in people's minds? A heart-breaking if not shocking story of Mikey Tussler, has become a best-seller and a basis for a television movie, "A Mile in His Shoes" by William Dear. Although the latter was not really praised by critics, the book had a great influence. Proper rhythm of the narrative and enjoyable writing uncover Nappi's in-depth research on psychology and people, making the book a great choice for everyone who is interested in human nature. I am rating this book 4 out of 5 stars. Thanks.
MinTwinsNY More than 1 year ago
Rating: 4 of 5 stars (very good) Review: Autism wasn’t diagnosed or understood in 1948 as well as it is today, and the main character of this interesting novel by Frank Nappi has that condition as he is dealing with how to use his tremendous talent to pitch a baseball.  Mickey Tussler is a 17 year old pitching phenom who was discovered by scout and manager Arthur Murphy.  Murphy is the manager of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers and when he sees the youngster fire apples into a barrel from 100 feet away, he thinks he can make Mickey into a pitcher for his struggling team. Mickey does indeed become a pitcher for the team, where he has to learn to adapt to not only a new lifestyle away from his parents Clarence and Molly, but he also has to play a game in which the rules and nuances are completely unknown.  This is where I felt the character of Mickey was a little unrealistic, as how can he field and hit (no DH in 1948) to play in these games?  The baseball scenes don’t talk about Mickey doing anything other than pitching, so these left me wondering. I also noted one other puzzling baseball scenario, but that is mainly because of the year the story is set.  Since this is 1948, when Mickey gets to meet Warren Spahn, the latter hasn’t reached his legendary status he eventually would attain during his pitching career for the Milwaukee Braves.  Had Mr. Spahn been simply introduced as a major league pitcher to Mickey, that would have been a little more plausible. But this book is much more than just a baseball book.  It illustrates how an autistic child (and yes, at 17 I will call Mickey a child) affects everyone around him.  How his teammates accept him (like Pee Wee and his catcher Boxcar) or don’t accept him (like fellow pitcher Lefty) make for good reading.  Passages that are set on the farm where Mickey grew up will address other topics such as domestic abuse.   One other note about the baseball scenes – it is a wild ride for the Brewers during the 1948 season as they soar to first place after Mickey gets in a groove.  Then he disappears after a night at the bar with teammates when he leaves with a mystery woman – and the team promptly has a lengthy slump.  When Mickey returns, the team picks it back up again.  I won’t give away any more about the season or the story – but I will say that it wasn’t what I expected at all. Baseball fans, readers who enjoy young adult novels and anyone who just wants to read a feel-good story with some twists will enjoy this novel.   I wish to thank Mr. Nappi for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Did I skim?  No as I needed to read each chapter carefully to fully understand the situation and characters.  Did I feel connected to the characters? Yes - some of them.  I could relate to Arthur Murphy’s struggles to help Mickey adapt to the life of minor league baseball.  Molly was also a woman who the reader will cheer for.  However, I couldn’t quite connect with Mickey because I can’t imagine being afflicted with that condition, and I also thought Clarence was a despicable character.  That says more about Mr. Nappi’s development to make him someone so easy to dislike.  Pace of the story: Overall it reads fairly quickly.  I felt it was a little slow at the start as Nappi was building his characters, especially Mickey.  Once Mickey started pitching for the Brewers, I felt the pace of the book was much faster.  Do I recommend? Yes – for readers who enjoy good baseball sequences as well as a moving story about a teenager afflicted with a condition that wasn’t clearly understood at the time the story is set.  Book Format Read: Paperback
ruthhill74 More than 1 year ago
First of all, I do not like baseball. I chose to read this book because it was about autism and sounded good. Some of the portions of the book did not interest me, but the descriptions of baseball games are not overly involved. I think if you only have a simple understanding of the game (like I do), you should basically be able to follow the story. I was drawn to this book long before I read it. I always love to read about people overcoming disabilities. Yes, this is fiction, but it reads like a true story. There are times it really gets to me. The descriptions of how he and his mom were treated by Mickey's father were chilling at times. My heart went out to both her and Mickey. I can't imagine how an autistic boy could get along in the 1940's. To see him overcoming his issues and being accepted for his talent was really nice to see. I think this is a perfect example why children born with disabilities don't necessarily need to be aborted. They can go on to accomplish amazing things, and Mickey sure did. I appreciated the way the author added in suspense and even a bit of corruption into the story. But never fear. There is a surprise ending, and it was this fantastic, inspiring ending that made me know I had to give this a 5-star rating. That's right--it was getting a solid 4 before I reached the last couple pages. I look forward to reading the next book! As a side note, I was going to mark the book down for the following reason. This book is targeted at young adults, I do believe. The profanity was rampant throughout the book, and that bothered me greatly. I realize that many books out there are loaded with profanity and other inappropriate elements. But when a book targets a certain audience, I have higher expectations. As you can see, I chose not to mark it down, but I can assure you that I would not want my daughter reading this book until she was well into her 20's. There were a couple minor sexual discussions, but I could handle that.  The strength of the story is phenomenal and touching. It never came across as sappy or cheesy. It was real! I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Did I enjoy this book: I really enjoyed this book. I read it every free chance I had. It was endearing, sweet, and totally engrossing. The scene was set beautifully by Mr. Nappi. I was there...I could smell the dirt of the infield. I could smell the grass of the outfield. I could smell the summer breeze. I could see the crowd and the players. I was there. It was a reading experience that I rarely have, but Mr. Nappi put me in the game.  Mickey is such an amazing individual as is Arthur Murphy for taking a chance on such an exceptional person. I loved Mickey. But I think I loved Arthur more. He took a big chance and I admire him for that. Arthur also helped Mickey's mother, Molly, come out of her shell and begin to rediscover herself despite her overbearing husband, Clarence. My other favorite character was Boxcar. He was like the big brother/father-figure on the team. He was there for his fellow Brewers. Boxcar cared and kept everyone in line. The way he accepted Mickey and helped him was wonderful. PeeWee was another teammate that accepted Mickey completely and watched out for him.  All of the characters that Mr. Nappi wrote were fantastic. You really got to know each of them. You rooted for some, you were happy with others, and there were a few you just could not get behind. Bottom line: I loved this book. Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book to anyone...especially baseball fans and those who love the feel good books about people dealing with or overcoming adversity. Will I read it again: I just might.
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
This book is the basis for the movie 'A Mile In His Shoes'. Both book and movie are excellent though they are only partially the same.  In this instance, both book and movie approach the subject of autism in meaningful ways.  So little was known about autism in the 1940's, when the story in the book takes place, but the time line is not as evident in the movie, which seems more present day.  Therefore, the happier ending for the movie makes good sense. Mickie Tussler is a teen autistic farm boy, whose ignorant,  mean spirited father is ashamed of his 'retard' boy, and believes that his wife should 'know her place' or feel his wrath.  Mickey's Mom loves Mickey regardless of his differences. Her own spirit is often crushed by her domineering husband.   Arthur Murphy is the manager of the baseball's minor league, Brewers.  On a search for some new players, 'Murph' run across Mickey as he is throwing apples into a barrel nailed to a tree.  This is his method for smashing the apples to feed his beloved pigs.  The fact that each 'pitched' apple is a bulleted bulls-eye causes Murph to get the Tusslers to allow Mickey to come with him to try out with his team. Micky is a phenom but his autism continues to cause him trouble.  At first he is teased, but when his pitching is winning games for the loosing Brewers, his abilities and strange ways cause him to be a rallying force for the team and all the fans.  It also causes the rival team to figure ways to destroy him. Beatings and teasing, along with new found friendships and respect affects Mickey's outlook on life.  The descriptions of all the relationships around Mickey make this book terrific, but the descriptions of the baseball games adds a degree of excitement that takes this book steps above a mere book on autism.  Picturing the games and feeling the players emotions made me feel I was right there amongst the fans.  I would recommend this book for all baseball fans, and for everyone to learn more about autism!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like it but it is mean to call your own son a retard. That is just like me going up to my gf and saying youre a retard. If you agree type agree in you review.
iluvvideo More than 1 year ago
An intriguing character study about Mickey Tussler, a 17 year old young man, trapped on a small farm with his mother and a very abusive father. Mickey exhibits what today would be called autism. Unfortunately, back in the 1940's when this story is set Mickey is viewed much differently. Enter, completely by accident, Arthur Murphy, the manager of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, a farm team of the Boston Braves. A baseball lifer, Murphy is on a scouting trip to see a young phenom he hopes will be the missing player to ignite his mediocre team. After watching Mickey toss apples into a basket target, to get them ready for Oscar the pig to eat, Murphy decides to take Mickey back with him and try him out as a pitcher. This is a fun read, full of old timey baseball cliches, several us vs them subplots and the excitement of a pennant race. Unfortunately it pales by comparison to other period baseball books. It would be a great YA novel, but it contains some graphic sex and violence that make it inappropriate for younger teens. Some of the plot devices were passable at best, including Murph's ongoing relationships with Mickey's parents. I liked the ending (hokey though it was) mainly because by the time I read it I was expecting a written by the numbers outcome. It was not and provided a surprise twist that I didn't see coming. So I liked it, but wished it could have been executed a little better.
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
Not being a baseball fan or even knowing much about the game or the cheering throngs who have made the sport part of the definition of 'America', this reader approached this novel with some hesitation, believing that if Frank Nappi could write so powerfully in ECHOES FROM THE INFANTRY, then surely this book deserves reading. And, once again, Frank Nappi has demonstrated his polished skills as a writer. Yes, the story is about baseball with all the excitement, romance, and obsession that sport engenders, but it is so much more. This story is about overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds of physical afflictions that will serve as a comforting and challenging guide to readers familiar with those struggling with autism among other differences.

Arthur Murphy is our baseball manager guide through this 1940s tale of the rise of Mickey Tussler, a Wisconsin farm boy of only 17 years of age whose problems with autism produced abusive reactions not only form his father but form nearly everyone with whom he came into contact. That is, until Arthur Murphy discovers his natural gifts as a pitcher extraordinaire and places him on the mound with the Milwaukee Brewers ¿ and a legend is born. This could have been the end-all as a success story in other writers' hands, but Nappi fleshes out this tale with all manner of intrigue, love affairs, and examples of human behavior run amuck in the presence of one person with 'differences'. His characters are three dimensional, credible and stay with us as Nappi spins his story to conclusion.

Frank Nappi has now demonstrated how authoritatively he can write about war and about sports. We can only imagine the source of inspiration for his next novel - and await its appearance, hopefully soon. Recommended. Grady Harp
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
When his car breaks down in during a routine scouting trip, Milwaukee Brewer's coach Arthur Murphy never expected to stumble upon an autistic, seventeen-year-old pitching phoneme. Nor could "Murph" have imagined that introducing young Mickey Tussler to the world of minor league baseball would spur his losing team into a heated race for the playoffs against the Brewer's number one rival, the Spokane Rangers.

Despite his team's drive to glory, Mickey remains an outsider; a fragile soul, locked inside a world that most people can't even recognize, let alone understand. What price will Mickey have to pay in order to become a legend?

THE LEGEND OF MICKEY TUSSLER is an intense, complex, nuanced study of the post-WWII minor league microcosm. Frank Nappi does an excellent job delving inside his characters' heads, whether he's detailing Murphy's desolation, star pitcher George "Lefty" Rogers' arrogant bravado, catcher Raymond "Boxcar" Danvers' stoic endurance, or the unspeakable affliction and difficulty an autistic youth like Mickey must have faced.

A steadily paced, first-rate work of fiction, whether you're a baseball lover or not -- this is a novel you can't pass up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe the best baseball novel ever written. There is so much here. The author has done an extraordinary job relating baseball to life and the challenges associated with special needs individuals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wrote a book review for The Legend of Mickey Tussler for the online magazine In that review I describe how Frank Nappi, the author, has a firm grasp on bringing forth a magical history through his novel, weaving in a sense of how a baseball team in the high minor leagues confronts its challenges throughout the season and how history played a part in the development of this story. A thorough reading of this story reveals much more. Make no mistake, this is a novel of fine proportions. I found the story telling compelling, and the notions surrounding its evolution to be true to the game of baseball. Nappi presents this tale within a context which is exciting, without resorting to gimmickry. It's honest and true writing which belies the author's familiarity with the intricacies of diamond action, to say the least. The historical aspect of the story is kept in perspective, but it's also a story with a lesson in dealing with people who are different from the status quo. The central character, Mickey Tussler, starts his career as a humble farm boy who knows nothing of the outside world, but quickly learns to adapt to it, for better or for worse. He is not painted as a hero but more as a tragic figure who confronts difficult adversities and rises above those challenges. Nappi's story contains examples of baseball writing which captivated me. Throughout the story I felt this was the best baseball fiction I'd read. Nappi does not overwork the baseball angle. His careful interweaving of subplot says a lot about his talent as a storyteller. He stays true to the game but balances his approach by including issues of a more personal nature. Therein lies the beauty of this story. As a baseball historian I had bones to pick with Nappi's handling of the old Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association. There were times when I felt more historical detail could have enhanced the story. For example, giving the readers a better sense of what type of ballpark Borchert Field was could have improved the story. Then again, historical details were not the central issue of this novel and the story line could have been diminished with an abundance of secondary information. Critics might take Nappi to task for being less faithful to the historical angle, but, in so doing, might miss the point of the story. There were times when I lost my sense of place, but I tempered my expectations by realizing this was a tale told to highlight the nature of the challenges involving the main character, and the effects of those issues. They are challenges which are confronted daily by those who do not seem to fit in with their peers and which affect us all on a human level. Nappi does a wonderful job of bringing those challenges to the fore within the context of baseball. Whether as a baseball fan or as someone who simply enjoys the pretext of sports action, you will not be disappointed by the telling of this poignant and relevant tale.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a sea of baseball novels, this book is not just a home run, it's a Grand Slam! As a father of two handicapped sons playing in the Little League Challenger Baseball program, The Legend of Mickey Tussler connected with me in ways you can't possibly imagine. However, any ardent follower of America's Pastime will find this book to be an engaging, pleasurable read. Author Frank Nappi has such wonderful command of the English vocabulary and utilizes his lexis like a venerable college professor. Although this book is written as a novel, it is entirely possible that this scenario could one day play itself out. And I'd like to believe that in today's handicapped-sensitive society, Mickey Tussler might enjoy a happier ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Legend of Mickey Tussler combines artful writing, whimsical, memorable characters, and a host of truly delightful baseball moments in one unforgettable tale. This book will entertain from the very first pitch!
Guest More than 1 year ago
At the risk of using an incredibly overused cliché, baseball is America¿s favorite pastime. This notion is admirably exemplified through Frank Nappi¿s novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler. A great baseball story is always recognizable, easily identifiable, and never deniable. Though Nappi¿s story epitomizes all of the aforementioned adjectives, it is not without some minor flaws. In The Legend of Mickey Tussler, Arthur Murphy is a contrite minor league manager for the Brewers, who happens upon a prospective recipe for career resuscitation in a mindless hick of a novice pitcher in Mickey Tussler. Murphy, who manages a listless team looking for a spark, is desperate to find anything that can possibly provide a light at the end of his talentless tunnel. Mickey Tussler is an amply built farm boy who is seemingly devoid of anything that resembles mental capacity. Tussler crushes apples by tossing them violently into a crate, which lays about 100 feet away from him, for his abusive farmer father whom he refers to as ¿pa¿. Mickey practices his apple hurling activity in such a flawless and orderly manner that it accidently catches the attention of a beleaguered minor league manager. As the storyline of the book plays itself out, Arthur Murphy deals with various outside interfering parties who wish to tear down his hopes of ever winning anything. Murphy must deal with an overbearing owner, a team full of prima donnas, a vengeful rival manager, an envious south paw, and a star pitcher whose comprehension skills compare to those of a bowl of fruit. Mickey, Murphy¿s discovery, does not meet the baseball life too easily himself. Besides dealing with the pitfalls of mental illness, Mickey must unveil his heaving talents to onlookers who mostly despise him. Some detest Mickey for his lack of brains, some are jealous of his pure talent, and some others implement insidious tactics to bring down the bruising fire-baller altogether. Throughout the course of Nappi¿s tale, personality enriched characters such as Woody Danvers, Lefty Rodgers, and Pee Wee McGinty reveal themselves. Only through reading The Legend of Mickey Tussler yourself can you understand the true witty and inimitably identifiable nature of these characters. Mickey Tussler had never played baseball before, and Arthur Murphy had never managed a decent team before. So when the two team up, it is only suitable that unmitigated magic should occur. Overall, I found Nappi¿s story to be interesting, intellectually stimulating, humorous at times, and even enthralling when the plotlines reached their peaks. My one misgiving about the novel The Legend of Mickey Tussler lies with the writing style of the novelist. Why the grandiloquence Frank? This is supposed to be a baseball story, correct? Not the great American novel. I respect a well versed writer as much as the next reader/critique, but using terms such as ¿vitriolic¿, ¿imbroglio¿, and ¿deleterious¿ causes one to look more like the penman with the thesaurus on hand than it does the modern day literary connoisseur. With that being said, as both a baseball fan and a self proclaimed literary genius, I truly appreciated The Legend of Mickey Tussler even I learned a few buzzwords from Frank Nappi. (thanks Frank). The Legend of Mickey Tussler is a story of two underdogs. Maybe it has been overdone over the course of literary history, and maybe Frank Nappi was a little too eloquently grandiose in his description of this tale. However, if you are either a baseball fan, or a fan of truly genuine literature, then you will appreciate of The Legend Mickey Tussler.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having just finished Frank Nappi's new novel, 'THE LEGEND OF MICKEY TUSSLER,' I am wonderfully reminded of some of the classic baseball stories I have read. Much like 'THE NATURAL,' 'BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY,' 'THE SOUTHPAW' and other works in the genre that have become synonymous with baseball greatness, this story has it all. The cast of characters is colorful and entertaining, the baseball lore is wonderfully done, and the action is first rate. At many moments in the story, I felt as though I was watching a game, rooting hard for the beloved 'Brew Crew' of the 1940's. The manager, Arthur Murphy, is certainly a likeable guy, and his discovery of the magical Mickey Tussler is truly something that captures the interest of all Brewers fans who marvel at his pitching prowess. Some may say that this idea of 'diamond in the rough' has been explored before. True, but never like this. The one compelling difference here is that Mickey Tussler, baseball phenom, is autistic. This is quite a bold move on Nappi's part, and to my knowledge, it has never been done before. What this aspect of the story does is create a mystique and appeal to this character that goes beyond his baseball skill. The reader gets to follow Mickey's rise to local stardom while observing at almost every turn his difficulty in dealing with the day to day nonsense we all take for granted. I think that this book will become one of the baseball novels people talk about for a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In The Legend of Mickey Tussler, Frank Nappi takes the pains of being autistic and blends it with an amazing talent. This story does not only tug at your heart it also portrays the struggles and frustrations of what someone with a disablity goes through. Again, Mr. Nappi scores a big hit mixing fiction with real life situations. This book is a must read for all who realize that life is not always a bowl of cherries. We all take for granted life plays out the same for everyone, no matter the physical or mental challenges that are in front of us. This book reminds us that even though things may look good from the outside, it is the whole person we need to discover.