Calico Joe

by John Grisham

Hardcover, 2012

Call number

FIC GRI

Collection

Genres

Publication

Doubleday (2012), Edition: 1st, 208 pages

Description

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.

Media reviews

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!
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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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Raven9167
A simple book with a simple tale about boys and their fathers, boys and their childhood heroes, and the regrets some of us carry and our reluctance to face up to them. I enjoyed this book as a baseball fan, and I always like Grisham enough. The story here did bring a tear to my eye from time to time as well, though I will admit that this is far from a rare occurrence when it comes to me and books (or life in general). I felt at times transported back to my youth of watching baseball...while I wasn't alive in 1973 to recall the season that the narrator reminisces upon, I do remember 1998 and being transfixed by the home run race between Mark McGwire and my hero Sammy Sosa (oh, how we live to see our heroes fall...but I digress), so I can relate.

I only rate it at three stars because of its brevity (although honestly, the story didn't require more pages...it's simply that there wasn't a whole lot to say with the plot as it was) and because of my usual criticism of Grisham, namely the unimaginative prose. I've always felt that while Grisham is a good writer, he never transcends with his plots or his characters; instead, like a summer film, he keeps the reader entertained for just long enough to make it worth their while. As someone who simply craves good literature, this, like most of Grisham, misses the mark, but I cannot really fault him for that as it's not truly his strength to begin with. If you like Grisham's previous books, and you like baseball, I can promise you that you will thoroughly enjoy Calico Joe.
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LibraryThing member ctpress
Grisham is not always just law-thrillers - I loved his football-novel Playing for Pizza - this one is about baseball and it's not as good - more moody and for a long time quite depressing actually. But with Grisham you know it will all come nicely together in the end. It's worth waiting for.

There's a great sense of relief in this son-father-reconciliation story. it's predictable and yet powerful. I didn't connect so emotionally with baseball - but I love sports so it didn't matter all that much. This short novel shifts between to time periods and the effect is quite good. I wanted more of the "good old times" but it's in the present that things are being resolved.… (more)
LibraryThing member Beamis12
I usually don't like baseball books, simply because I usually find them boring. That's not to say that I don't like watching baseball, I am actually a huge Cubs fan. Which is one of the ways Grisham got this one right, he picked the cubs to write about and added a very good human interest story in addition. Really liked this book, mentions some Cub greats, and it is narrated by a very likable boy and than man. Parts of it are extremely touching and all of it is very well told.… (more)
LibraryThing member Lesley_Barker
Different from any other book by this author - a simple story of a man and his father. An attempt to achieve reconciliation before it is too late.
LibraryThing member tututhefirst
I've always enjoyed Grisham's legal thrillers, and I found myself learning to love football when I read his [Playing for Pizza], so I was not surprised to find another rip roaring tale of manly pursuits.  The surprise however was the story. Yes it's about baseball, but it's so much more.

The story is based on a pitcher/hitter duel - hard charging rookie super-star hitter against aging, has-been, over-the-hill pitcher, and the pitch that made history.  That's the baseball story.  But the father-son story is woven into and around the baseball story, giving us a moving portrayal of a cantakerous, some might say abusive, old man and his hard-headed, determined-not-to-forgive son.  It's high drama, but it's also a quiet, soothing and introspective look at how the relationship between a father and son can be redeemed even after years of neglect--especially if baseball is the glue that can seal the break.

It's a great book for the baseball lovers in your life, and a wonderful book for fathers and sons. I won't spoil a really good story by telling you anymore about it.  I loved it, I know my husband (who played baseball up to age of 65!) will love it, and my children will also love it.   I'd sure take a look at this one for the Father's Day gift list.
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LibraryThing member MaryinHB
MY THOUGHTS
LOVED IT

There is no crying in baseball. That phrase has been uttered thousands of times in my lifetime. I grew up around baseball, my son played baseball and I have been hearing that phrase forever. This story about family and redemption with roots in baseball that will have you trying not to get too emotional but still tearing up like a Hallmark special. The story revolves around Paul Tracey, both as a child and adult, his father Warren Tracey, who hits the up and coming star of the Chicago Cubs by the name of Joe Castle, nicknamed Calico Joe from his home town and takes him out of the game. Warren is a mean man, both to his family and other players, but whether the pitch hits Joe intentionally or not is really not the point on this story. It is about one moment that forever changes the lives of three men. Paul, like the rest of America, worships the rookie and his father, Warren is a bit jealous, so when Joe is hit by one of Warren's pitches and takes him out of the game forever, the world turns against him and takes him even further into his bitterness.

When Paul finds out his estranged father is dying and that he has never shown remorse for hitting Joe, he tries to reconnect with his father and make amends. The story covers over 30 years through flashbacks of why Warren has so much hate inside him and the history of this makes some of his actions more understandable. I loved how Grisham weaved baseball lore throughout the story and it felt so natural that I truly believed Calico Joe existed. I think this should appeal to young adults and especially right now since it is the start of baseball season. I can really see this one as a movie since the author has that rare talent of making you visual each scene through his economy of words.
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LibraryThing member CandyH
This was an interesting story by John Grisham--totally different than anything of his that I have read. It is the story of a young baseball player starting his career in an amazing way and of a seasoned pitcher who has a problem dealing with not being the center of attention. The pitcher's son brings the two players together to try to right a horrible wrong the pitcher has caused. The story has a very poignant ending and it is well worth reading.… (more)
LibraryThing member Twink
John Grisham is one of the most recognizable names in fiction today. He is well known for his legal thrillers, but has also written a number of novels outside of that genre. His latest - Calico Joe - fall into that category.

Paul Tracey gets a call one day - Warren, the father he hasn't seen in years, is dying. Paul's reaction? "After a few minutes, I admit the truth - life without Warren will be the same as life with him."

But this call does stir up old hurts, memories and unfinished business. We're taken back to Paul's childhood for the beginning of the tale. Warren made it to the big leagues - he was a pitcher for the Mets in 1973. He was also a womanizer, a hard drinker, a man with a temper and a man with a family who was happy to not have him home. Paul loved baseball as well. He played himself and could cite the stats on any team. When a young phenom named Joe from Calico Rock, Arkansas is called up to play for the Cubs, he takes the country (and young Paul) by storm. Never before has there been such a player. And then the Mets and the Cubs face off...

Yes, Calico Joe is a sports story, but it's much more than that. It's the story of a father and son and redemption. I played ball when I was younger, so the sports stats didn't throw me at all and won't detract from the story for non sports readers. They really set the scene for the emotional strings that Grisham deftly pulls as he carefully builds the story of Calico Joe, young Paul and his father.

Calico Joe is listed as a novel, but I thought of it more as story telling. I could picture myself listening to this one over the radio in days gone by or sitting listening to a retired player sharing a tale from the old days. As one character in the book says "But it doesn't matter: he loves to talk and tell stories....I am delighted to be here and happy to listen."

As was I. A one sitting read and another home run from Grisham.
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LibraryThing member Al-G
I would argue for John Grisham to be one of our top contemporary story tellers and this book is vintage John Grisham. On the surface this story is about baseball - but it is, in reality, about so much more. It is about relationships and choices and above all about life. And as in life, if you are looking for a happy ending, you will be disappointed. There is no fairy tale ending for this one. But there is forgiveness, grace, and redemption.

For the baseball aficionado, this is a nostalgic trip to baseball as it once existed, a story about the great players and the challenges and joys of the sport, and Grisham has incorporated enough factual information to help build the book's believability. But it is a novel, and for both the baseball lover and those who aren't the least bit interested in sports, the book is much deeper and more complex. Grisham has written a wonderful novel about a personal quest for redemption. As usual, his characters are modeled and shaded with enough depth that they almost leap off the page. And this is what truly draws the reader into the story. It is a fast read and like most of the Grisham novels I have read, it was difficult to put down.

But ultimately this story is about the way our poor choices impact not just ourselves, but countless other people who must deal with the consequence of our choices. It is about the journey of one man to find his redemption by seeking to help another overcome the poor choices that he made. It is, ultimately, about the depths of grace and forgiveness that can occur even in the worst of circumstances. This may be my favorite of Grisham's novels, and as far as I am concerned this one cements his place at the top of a short list of great American storytellers.
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LibraryThing member shazjhb
Quick easy read but very enjoyable. For some strange reason I love books about baseball.
LibraryThing member SamSattler
With Calico Joe, John Grisham finally takes a stab at the baseball novel he says that he has wanted to write for the last twenty years. It is the story of two very different baseball players, one an aging pitcher in the decline of a mediocre career, the other a rookie who seems destined for one of the most amazing careers in the history of the game. When the two face each other for the first time, their careers will be changed to a degree that neither could have imagined just one week earlier.

The rather slim novel (my edition, including the Author’s Note, numbers only 198 pages) is told from the perspective of the pitcher’s son, now a grown man who has been estranged from his father for years. The heart of Calico Joe, however, is told in flashbacks to the summer of 1973, when the Chicago Cubs – in desperate need to cover injuries to two position players – bring Joe Castle up all the way from Double-A ball and plug him in to their starting lineup.

Joe, a youngster from little Calico, Arkansas, turns out to be much more than the Cubs expected. After less than a dozen games, he is breaking rookie records that have stood for decades and displaying hitting skills that could turn him into the best hitter in the history of the sport. Joe, though, is still making his way around the league for the first time, and pitchers expect to find the batting weakness that can be used to shut down his remarkable start.

Paul Tracey should be living a boy’s dream life; his father, after all, is a major league pitcher with the New York Mets. Warren Tracy, however, is just barely hanging on to his job as a Met starter and he takes his problems out on Paul and his mother. Seldom does Warren bring Paul to the ballpark or even talk baseball with his son. However, despite his father’s resentment of baseball, Paul is still an avid fan of the game, and his favorite player in the summer of 1973 is Joe Cast Castle – a choice greatly resented by his jealous father. Thus, is the stage set for the initial meeting of Joe Castle and Warren Tracey.

Grisham’s plot is one that baseball fans, especially those who enjoy the intricate recordkeeping of the game, will find intriguing. But, although Calico Joe has all the makings of a great baseball myth, along the lines of Malamud’s The Natural, most of its characters are not developed deeply enough to make them entirely believable. Surprisingly, this is the case with both of Paul Tracey’s parents and, when the book moves back to the present, with Joe Castle’s brothers – key characters, all of them. This left me both wishing for a book twice the length of the one Grisham produced, and having a difficult time believing the book’s ending. This one could have been so much more.

Rated at: 3.5
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LibraryThing member mistyd10
good story about forgiveness
LibraryThing member teeth
This novel is a story about baseball but so much more. Paul Tracey is the son of a majopr league baseball playerwho wants to idolize his fatherbut the father is abusive. Warren Tracey ruins Joe Calico's career and years later apoligizes. A very sad but touching story.
LibraryThing member thornton37814
Paul Tracey, the son of Mets pitcher Warren Tracey, wants to look up to his father and be loved by him, but his father is a jerk -- at home and on the baseball field. Paul idolizes the Cubs rookie Joe Castle from Calico Rock, Arkansas. Castle has wowed the baseball world with his performances after being called up from the minors. Then something tragic happens that ends the careers of Castle and Tracey. I'm not the world's biggest baseball fan (although I do watch games on TV and sometimes in person), but I loved this book. I don't know enough baseball history to know how much of Grisham's story is fictional and how much is fact-based, but his author's note makes it clear that both are part of the book. This is a wonderful story about forgiveness.… (more)
LibraryThing member NeedMoreShelves
Who knew John Grisham could get me to care about baseball? This novel made me actually interested in the game, which is ia feat. I found Joe's story quite compelling, and thought this was the best Grisham I've read in years.
LibraryThing member skinglist
A really quick and light read that made me think of Mitch Albom's "5 People You Meet in Heaven" in its sap level. At first, I found it confusing. I didn't understand what Tracey's father had to do with Joe Castle, but then it all began to make sense. I liked the interweaving of the narrative with the real baseball players and history.

I liked the character of Clarence Rook and the small town hospitality with which Paul Tracey was adopted. Not a book set in Arkansas (what, Grisham? Why hast thou forsaken Mississippi?) without moonshine and I like how Grisham used Rook to tell the story of Calico Joe Castle and the small town values as well.Yet it also showed the underside of professional baseball that oft goes unreported.

I liked the suspense that Grisham created with Warren not immediately agreeing to Paul's request - but at the same time you knew this book wouldn't exist if Warren hadn't gone to meet Joe. I liked that the meeting was done at a distance - with only "family" and the caps were a nice touch. Also a nice touch was Joe Castle & his brothers going to Warren Tracey's funeral. It made you realize why Grisham spent such time harping on what Warren's obit would read.
And I loved that Joe had Paul's letter from 30 years ago - and the donation to the ball field was nice - especially with the references to how well maintained it was.

Now I want to know if Paul or Clarence wrote the story and "the world" saw the pic of Calico Joe & Warren Tracey. Sometimes a lesson in forgiveness is needed.
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LibraryThing member KameronD03
In New York, 1973, a young boy,Paul Tracey, had been treated badly by his stuck up, no good father, Warren Tracey who pitches for the New York Mets. Paul had looked up to his famous rookie major league player, Joe Castle. But when the time comes when Warren Tracey being stuck up selfish jerk, faces Paul's famous hero, Joe. Paul had know idea who to root for. After Joe, on his first time up, hits a deep and long homerun, Warren was furiated. Next time up, Warren selfishly beaned Joe right in the head, ending Joe Castle's career. In 2003, 30 years after the bean ball, Warren, who is dying of cancer, is still lying abou that one pitch. Now before it is too late, Paul wants Warren to apologize to Joe before his death. This is a great novel to read. John Grissom came out with another brilliant book!… (more)
LibraryThing member BERNIE2260
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!
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LibraryThing member brjamo
Calico Joe, by John Grisham, is a really good book. It switches from the point of view of a MLB pitchers son, to third person of a rising star. The kid is Paul Tracey, son of the pitcher Warren Tracy, and the star is named “Calico Joe.”Joe has been schooled by his brothers in the art of baseball since he was a little kid, and now he has made it to the big time. Paul switches from his childhood when Joe was rising up, to his adult life, when he is trying to talk to his father for the first time in years. When he was a kid, his childhood life, and his fathers, comes down to one pivotal pitch that will change baseball forever. Remember, this is a fictional story.
This is my fourth John Grisham book that I have read, and he never disappoints. He writes exceptionally well, and has great flow in his writing. John used to be a lawyer, so he normally writes books about the law, or that have something to do with it. This book really broke out of his normal range, since it was about baseball. Even though it was different than his usual work, I still loved. It was a very interesting book, so much that I couldn’t put it down.
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LibraryThing member smcamp1234
Quickest read in a long time. Mr. Grisham has put together a baseball book that kindles the spirit of baseball and the relationship between father and son. Now this wouldn't be your ideal relationship by far, but being a husband and father of two it helps reinforce the effort you place in being a good dad and husband or makes you long to be better.

The descriptions and approaches during the moments when Joe Castle are playing baseball is great. It's just enough to satisfy a baseball obsessed fan and not too much for those new to the game.

Overall a great easy read and I'd recommend this to anyone wanting a good flashback at the height of baseball n the 70's, even if it's fictional.
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LibraryThing member mttwomacs
Joe Castle was the most amazing rookie baseball had ever seen. Paul Tracey son of Mets pitcher Warren Tracey worshipped Joe Castle and was in the stands the day his dad threw a hard fastball that would change Joe's life forever. Years later still wondering what happened to Joe Castle, Paul hears his estranges father is dying of cancer and creates a plan for Warren Tracey to talk to Joe Castle, to appologize, to just do the right thing for once in his life. Calico Joe was written by John Grisham, it is filled with emotion, and a quick read.… (more)
LibraryThing member jeff1124
Calico Joe is the story of a boy whose father pitches for the New York Mets. It is also the story of the short and tragic career of "Calico Joe", a young Chicago Cubs player. If you love baseball and good books this is a book you will probably enjoy. If you have the time, it will only take about 2 or 3 hours to read. It is a simple, short and wonderful story, one that makes you feel good. John Grisham is an excellent writer and I think he is at his best when he writes these short novels that are about life and living. He has a knack for creating characters that are instantly likeable or vise versa, but you care right from the start. While I also enjoy most of his thrillers, his short novels are an excellent escape.… (more)
LibraryThing member TigerLMS
Joe Castle was a rookie phenom in late 1973 for the Chicago Cubs. A native of Calico Rock, Arkansas, Castle was called up to the bigs from double-A ball when two big leaguers got hurt. Castle starts with a bang-- literally-- smashing a home run on his first swing. But what catches the attention of Cubs fans, and then the nation, is that no one seems to be able to get Joe Castle out. From the outset, though, the reader knows that something goes terribly wrong, and that Joe Castle's career in the major leagues is but the briefest of flashes: 38 games.
The story is told by Paul Tracy, the now grown-up son of Mets pitcher Warren Tracy, looking back at the summer of 1973 some 30 years later. Paul, as a boy, idolized Joe Castle in a way he couldn't possibly idolize his philandering, drunk, abusive father.
Readers can see these two story lines on a collision course--with Warren Tracy's Mets battling Castle's Cubs in the pennant race, and Tracy's unravelling career and home life at odds with Castle's youth and promise.
John Grisham writes as much about lost possibilities and the power of forgiveness as baseball in this book. Readers ride the triumphant highs of Calico Joe's amazing start, and the horrible lows of Warren Tracy's unforgivable actions. Ultimately, Calico Joe is a sad story-- as is nearly every baseball story. Like former MLB commissioner Bart Giamatti said, the game is designed to break your heart. And so is this story. Unlike Grisham's courtroom dramas, this is not a page-turner. But the story is short enough, and the hook strong enough, to pull you through to the end, even if you're not a baseball fan. Because like most baseball stories, this really isn't about baseball.
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LibraryThing member clark.hallman
Calico Joe, by John Grisham, is a novel about two major league baseball players, their families, and their fans. Most of it is narrated by Paul Tracy, who is the son of Warren Tracey, a journeyman pitcher who finishes his career with the New York Mets in 1973, when Paul was eleven years old. The book jumps back and forth between 1973 and thirty years in the future. It is a wonderful story that immerses the reader in the professional baseball environment. Paul, like so many boys, loved baseball, pitched in little league; and followed his favorite major league players and teams closely, including creating scrapbooks about them and collecting baseball cards. In 1973, Joe Castle, from Calico Arkansas, was brought up from the minor leagues to play first base for the Chicago Cubs after two of their infielders were injured. Unlike most rookies, Joe Castle captured the hearts of all the Cubs’ fans, and most other baseball fans, with a fantastic beginning to his major league career. He broke many previous rookie records, including consecutive home runs, overall home runs, hits, batting average, and stolen bases. He became Paul Tracey’s hero in his first game when he hit three home runs. The story eventually brings the journeyman Mets’ pitcher (Warren Tracey) with his rigid belief in long-standing confrontational baseball traditions, into battle with the rookie savior of the Cubs (Calico Joe) on the field in New York, with Paul and his mother in the stands. The book reveals the continuing consequences of that 1973 battle on Warren Tracey and Joe Castle and both of their families. I really liked this book and found it hard to put down. As you would expect, Grisham crafted it in a compelling way with a great ending for the reader to enjoy. I also liked it because it reminded me of how much I loved baseball and how much I admired certain baseball players with I was a boy. If you like baseball read this book! However, you should also read it just because it is an excellent story about interesting human beings successfully struggling through the challenges that life presents for them.… (more)
LibraryThing member Cubbyfan99
If you like baseball this s a very fun quick read. Very enjoyable.

Pages

208

ISBN

0385536070 / 9780385536073
Page: 0.3542 seconds