Calico Joe by John Grisham

Calico Joe by John Grisham

Having become a lover of the game of baseball mostly thanks to my 9-year old son’s passion for the game, I was eager to delve into this baseball novel.  I’ve read several of Grisham’s books over the years and he spins a good tale.

Set in 1973, the title character of this novel is Joe Castle, hailing from Castle Rock, Arkansas – a rookie ball player drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1973.  Joe is on fire – a phenom, hitting home run after home run and breaking record after record.  His promising career, however, is cut tragically short by a “beanball” that nails him in the face and renders him disabled.  The beanball is an intentional effort to put this hot young rising star in his place by a bitter, hard-drinking Mets pitcher named Warren Tracy.  Narrated by Warren Tracy’s son who witnessed the fateful game and knew the near-deadly pitch was intentional, this is also a story about heroes and disappointment, broken hearts and redemption.

I really enjoyed this story – more than anything, all the baseball lingo.  The story itself is short and simple (I read it in a day and a half), and if I had anything negative to say about it, it would be that it could have used a little more meat.  The characters, while relatable, did not feel fully developed, and the entire story wrapped up a little too neatly.

Still, if you’re a baseball fan and looking for a quick read, this one’s worth your time.