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Calico Joe by John Grisham

Calico Joe (edition 2012)

by John Grisham

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1,548898,707 (3.69)43
In this novel, the careers of a golden boy rookie hitter for the Cubs and a hard-hitting Mets pitcher take very different paths. The baseball is thrilling, but it is what happens off the field that makes this story a classic.
Title:Calico Joe
Authors:John Grisham
Info:Doubleday (2012), Edition: 1st Printing, Hardcover, 208 pages
Collections:Your library

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Calico Joe by John Grisham


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Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
I will start with a confession. I am an attorney, and as such, have had absolutely zero interest in reading any of Mr. Grisham's legal thrillers. That may surprise some people but I am sure that Mr. Grisham would completely understand.

However, I am a baseball fan and absolutely love to read books about baseball. This is a great baseball book. One of the best that I have ever read. Mr. Grisham obviously loves the game and he knows of what he speaks.

He is also a very talented writer. I started this book at around 10 o'clock in the evening and read straight through until I finished. This is a story about a son who became a very good man despite having a father who never was one. It is about making someone do the right thing, not because it will change them in any way, but simply because the right thing needs to be done. A small gem of a novel. I quickly added A Painted House to my wish list and look forward to reading more Grisham.

One note, if you are not a baseball fan, don't hesitate for a second because of that. This story is about baseball because much of the action takes place on a baseball diamond. It is at heart a story about a father and a son. It is a story of how children age to understand their fathers, and in some cases forgive them. ( )
  ChrisMcCaffrey | Apr 6, 2021 |
It was a fun read, typical of grisham. If you like baseball it is a good one for you. ( )
  Rick686ID | Jan 27, 2021 |
I enjoyed this book even though I'm not at all into Baseball. ( )
  MustangGuy | Dec 12, 2020 |
Enjoyed this. Loosely based on the true story of the only man in baseball to die from a beanball and some of Grisham's own experience with the sport. A nice change from all the legal thrillers. ( )
  aldimartino | Nov 24, 2020 |
Enjoyed this. Loosely based on the true story of the only man in baseball to die from a beanball and some of Grisham's own experience with the sport. A nice change from all the legal thrillers. ( )
  Andy_DiMartino | Nov 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Review Written by Bernie Weisz, Historian Pembroke Pines, Florida, U.S.A. September 30, 2012 Contact: BernWei1@aol.com Title of Review: The Code of Baseball, A Ruined Childhood & A Trip Down Memory Lane!
Anyone that became a teenager in the early 1970's will immediately take to John Grisham's "Calico Joe." Especially one that grew up in New York and liked baseball. I know, I was one of them. Grisham's book revolves around a washed up, aging picture for the New York Mets named Paul Tracy and his mercurial, volatile relationship with his son Paul. Added in is a rookie phenom for the Cubs named Joe Castle. Castle, dubbed "Calico Joe," sets major league records in his 1973 rookie debut for consecutive games safely hit. Paul Castle fell in love with Calico Joe, even keeping a scrapbook of his accolades unbeknownst to his father. Grisham portrays Warren as a philanderer, a beanball artist, a drunkard and an abusive husband and father. Shades of the Tony Conigliaro incident are introduced when the Cubs come into town to play the Mets with the National League East pennant on the line. With Paul and his disgruntled mother in the stands at Shea Stadium, the two watch as Castle goes up against his father after successfully pounding Warren for a hit his first time up.

The "code of baseball" is introduced, at least Warren's conception of it. If a batsman shows up the pitcher in any way the previous at bat, or is a cocky rookie, the next at bat will surely be a beanball. However, Warren was a cruel, mean "headhunter," and demanded Paul be like him in playing Little League. Without any remorse, the senior Tracy will throw at anyone's head as revenge, rarely missing. In Castle's second at bat, the lives of both the Castle and Tracy are forever changed. The ironies involved and the unpredictable twists of fate make this novel truly amazing. The names thrown out, e.g. Tom Seaver, Bobby Murcer, Ron Santo, Ferguson Jenkins, etc., bring back such vivid memories of a reader's lost youthhood that it is impossible to not love and embrace this fantastically written novel. Even more realistic are the memories Grisham introduces, such as his descriptions of the Long Island Railroad being ridden, Willets Point in Flushing and both old Shea and Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field, etc., with fitting descriptions of the temperaments of the fans of each. Grisham fast forwards forty years later and cleverly plays out a scenario involving Warren, dying of cancer, a caustic Paul and a forever enfeebled Joe Castle.

The realism is strikingly apparent, regardless of Grisham's introduction of a fictional protagonist. In fact, the author cleverly let former Cub infielder Don Kessinger proof read and correct "Calico Joe" for realism. Kessinger's interjections make this story so absorbing, captivating and realistic that anyone reading this cannot but be spellbound by "Calico Joe." Memories flash of Carl Mays, Ray Chapman and Tony C. Mays was a right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1915 to 1929. Despite impressive career statistics, he is primarily remembered for throwing a beanball on August 16, 1920, that struck and killed Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians, making Chapman the only Major League player to die as a direct result of an injury sustained on the field. Similarly, Tony Conigliaro nicknamed "Tony C" played for the Boston Red Sox during their "Impossible Dream" season of 1967. He was hit in the face by a pitch from Jack Fisher, causing a severe eye injury and derailing his career. Though he would make a dramatic comeback from the injury, his career was not the same afterwards. Whether you like baseball or not, "Calico Joe" has something for any reader, guaranteeing a satisfying read!
added by BERNIE2260 | editAmazon, Bernie Weisz (Sep 30, 2012)
Calico Joe is a typical virtuoso display of Grisham’s natural story-telling skills. Slowly emerging through flashbacks within flashbacks and fragmented conversations is the history of Paul’s unhappy childhood at his father’s hands.

Warren’s treatment of his family goes deep and Paul’s pain will not ease but barriers are broken down.

The result is a superbly written book which, though fewer than 200 pages long, deserves a place on any family bookshelf.
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The tumor in my father's pancreas was removed last week in an operation that lasted five hours and was more difficult than his surgeons had expected.
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In this novel, the careers of a golden boy rookie hitter for the Cubs and a hard-hitting Mets pitcher take very different paths. The baseball is thrilling, but it is what happens off the field that makes this story a classic.

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