‘Calico Joe’ by John Grisham

It’s the summer of 1973, and Paul Tracey, an 11-year-old baseball fan, becomes captivated by the record-breaking play of one Joe Castle, just called up from the minors to play for the Chicago Cubs.

Castle is breaking records, homering three times in his first game, and garnering lots of publicity. He becomes ‘Calico Joe,’ named for his hometown of Calico Rock, Ark.

While young Paul catches the Joe Castle bug, his father most decidedly does not. Warren Tracey is a pitcher for the Mets, a hard-drinking man known for his erratic and combative personality.

Finally in August, the Cubs come to town to play the Mets. But as he’s watching his father pitch, Paul knows what is going to happen – and it’s going to change the lives of Calico Joe, Paul and his dad.

The story follows father and son that summer and again 30 years later. With his father dying of cancer, Paul decides Warren should do one thing before he dies. He should visit Calico Rock.

I enjoyed this book – and I am just a casual baseball fan, having attended only a handful of games in the last 20 years. But Grisham tells a fast-paced tale and uses real-life names of players of the 1970s. The scenes of boys keeping scrapbooks and talking about their favorite players ring true.

(Grisham advises baseball fans at the end of the book that he rearranged schedules and games for the sake of the story, so don’t expect historical accuracy here.)

I definitely recommend this for a quick, summer read.

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One Response to ‘Calico Joe’ by John Grisham

  1. Pingback: Book Buzz | Recently released: ‘Calico Joe’ by John Grisham

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