Calico Joe



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Publisher Quality
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Copyrighted By:
Belfry Holdings, Inc
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Sports, Literature and Fiction
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Bookshare Staff
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5 out of 5

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For once, John Grisham has written a book without a courtroom in it, and I say Thank God! I was sick to death of him writing the same book over and over. Here, he beautifully evokes early 1970s baseball, which happens to be the time I discovered baseball. Particularly in the summer and fall of 1973, the year this takes place in, I followed the Mets religiously as they thundered down the stretch to the World Series, and took 7 games to lose it to Oakland. Grisham mentions 2 of the 3 Mets' broadcasters-Lindsay Nelson and Ralph Kiner, who along with Bob Murphy are all now in the baseball Hall of Fame. Grisham even mentions the Phillies' announcer Harry Kalas, another Hall of Famer, a short plumpish man with the voice of thunder. It's my guess when I kneel in judgment, my Maker's voice will boom as did Harry Kalas' mighty pipe organ. Reading this book, I can hear "Jeremiah Was a BullFrog," coming out of the radio, and the faltering voice of my grandpa who would be lost by the end of that great and terrible year. I can also hear the much less known but equally catchy tune "Brooklyn," the last 45 I asked Grandpa to buy me. He never could manage it. Grisham evokes the pre-Internet days when a kid with a good radio in Jersey could hear ball games from Boston to Washington. The character of Warren Tracey is singularly vicious, even for an athlete. Athletes bullied me all through my teens, and in 12 years as a baseball announcer my regard for them went lower yet, if possible, but Tracey is more heartless than any player I would dare to dream up. The miracle is that his son turned out to be a decent human being, making this book worth reading.