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The Legend of Mickey Tussler: A Novel Paperback – April 1, 2012

133 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nappi (Echoes from the Infantry) has produced a knowledgeable yet unsentimental book starring an autistic teenager with a fearsome fastball. Milwaukee Brewer's manager Arthur Murphy recruits 17-year-old farm boy Mickey Tussler as a pitcher for his team. And though Mickey's slowness enrages his impossibly cruel father (who abuses his wife and derides Mickey as a "retard"), the boy's dad is happy to collect his son's pro baseball salary. In short order, Mickey achieves local stardom despite his mental disability and his teammates' clubhouse pranks. Lefty Rogers, the Brewers' southpaw ace, resents Mickey's triumphs on the mound and plots to sabotage his rival's budding career. At the same time, Murphy romances Mickey's much-abused mother and leads his resurging team in a hot pennant race. The writing is clear and direct, and there's no confusing who's a good guy and who's a bad guy. The baseball elements really sing; baseball fans will find much to appreciate, while the sports treatment of triumphing over adversity adds crossover appeal to the YA market. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


In an age where scandal has taken over sports, especially baseball, it was refreshing to finally be transported to an age where the game is all that matters. Nappi does an incredible job bringing these people and players to life. A great read.  -- Brian Kilmeade, author, The Games Do Count

A touching story of finding one's dream even when the cards dealt to one are poor. -- Midwest Book Review

The Legend of Mickey Tussler is a very good story that I'm sure will resonate with those readers who have experience with special needs children and teens... --

Praise for THE LEGEND OF MICKEY TUSSLER:  "In my work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America I see all kinds of challenges facing kids today, and this book does a very good job of treating gifted kids and teenagers with sensitivity and understanding in coping with and meeting these challenges." --Alex Rodriguez

"A compelling tale that will touch the hearts of fans of the game everywhere." —Fergie Jenkins, Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame Pitcher

"A story with something for everyone. "THE LEGEND OF MICKEY TUSSLER "is" "a walk off homerun." —Larry Izzo, New York Mets Scout

"A powerful baseball story, certain to rank among the best ever written.” —Don Williams, retired sports columnist, Newark Star Ledger

"Riveting. Rewarding. THE LEGEND OF MICKEY TUSSLER reaches the heart the way Alex Rodriguez reaches the bleachers." - Bill Madden, New York Daily News


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Product Details

  • Series: Mickey Tussler
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Sky Pony Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781616086589
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616086589
  • ASIN: 1616086580
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty five years. His debut novel, ECHOES FROM THE INFANTRY, received national attention, including MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction. His follow-up novel, THE LEGEND OF MICKEY TUSSLER, garnered rave reviews as well, including a movie adaptation of the touching story "A Mile in His Shoes" starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder. Nappi continues to produce quality work, including SOPHOMORE CAMPAIGN, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story and the thriller, NOBODY HAS TO KNOW, which received an endorsement from #1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille. The third installment of Nappi's Mickey Tussler series, WELCOME TO THE SHOW, is due out in the spring of 2016, and he is currently working on his next thriller, AS LONG AS WE BOTH SHALL LIVE. Nappi lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Betty L. Dravis VINE VOICE on December 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've been a huge fan of author Frank Nappi ever since I read his inspiring, heart-breaking debut novel Echoes from the Infantry: A Novel," a WWII story of a young soldier who returned from the war a changed man. Nappi wrote about the soldier's post-war family life and his relationship with his wife and son. It moved me deeply and was my favorite debut novel of 2005.

When I reviewed Nappi's "Echoes," I predicted he would be a "force to be reckoned with in the literary field," and in writing another brilliant novel he is proving me right.

I was delighted to learn that Nappi had written another powerful novel,The Legend of Mickey Tussler, and couldn't wait to read it. This is another masterpiece, the story of Arthur Murphy, manager of a local baseball team, and Mickey Tussler, an autistic seventeen-year-old boy with a "fearsome fast-ball." When Murph signs the boy for his team, he soon realizes, as another reviewer aptly describes it, that Mickey "comes with a blessing and a curse": the blessing is his caring mother, the curse, his abusive father.

In the 1940's timeline of this novel, this disability was unknown and misunderstood; those suffering this affliction were thought of as "slow," and called "retarded" by less sensitive people, including Mickey's father.

I was hooked from the first page and couldn't wait to learn how the game of baseball helped young Mickey Tussler come to terms with and overcome his disability, despite his father and jealous teammates undermining the boy's confidence, hindering his progress.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sally A. Cooke on June 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
While reading The Legends of Mickey Tussler I never wanted to put it down. It's one of those books that you need to know whats going to happen to the characters, or what is going to happen next. Nappi's story about how a 17 year old with autism is brought into the game of baseball is exciting, but a little sad at times. Just picturing how this boy is able to pitch the way he does is incredible. I am not a big fan of baseball, but this story made me more interested in the sport by the end of the book. As I was reading the book I was able picture what was happening with Mickey on and off the baseball field. By the end of the story made me want to read more, and keep following Mickey's story. This is definately a great book, and everyone should read it at some point.

-Shannon Cooke (or Shannona)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linda Bulger VINE VOICE on February 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I like to keep a little baseball in my life, and when a wonderful book like The Legend of Mickey Tussler comes along just brimming with baseball action, it's the perfect antidote to winter doldrums -- OR the perfect complement to the sandlot-and-stadium season. Author Frank Nappi has given us a lot to think about in this book, and the game action furthers the characterization and builds the drama.

The story is set in Milwaukee in 1948. Arthur Murphy is the manager of the minor-league Brewers, stuck in a going-nowhere career path. Driving through farm country on a scouting assignment for the team, he stops at the Tussler farm and is astonished to find big, slow Mickey firing apples into a bucket of pig slop. Never mind his awkward demeanor and his unusual delivery, the boy can PITCH! Arthur persuades Mickey's parents to let him take the boy to the team. Arthur's known for bringing in odd-balls for the team but Mickey's the oddest of all.

Mickey, of course, is autistic, though the nature of his condition isn't named or elaborated on. He recites poetry when stressed and knows how many pitches each member of the rotation threw in each of their games; but he knows nothing of social encounters, girls, jealousy, or the world in general. When his stunning fastball makes him the new team ace, there is no shortage of enemies from rival teams and even among the Brewers' pitching cadre.

Nappi's style showcases the characters, some just a little too good, some unremittingly mean.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Hamann on September 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I wrote a book review for The Legend of Mickey Tussler for the online magazine In that review I describe how Frank Nappi, the author, has a firm grasp on bringing forth a magical history through his novel, weaving in a sense of how a baseball team in the high minor leagues confronts its challenges throughout the season and how history played a part in the development of this story.

A thorough reading of this story reveals much more. Make no mistake, this is a novel of fine proportions. I found the story telling compelling, and the notions surrounding its evolution to be true to the game of baseball. Nappi presents this tale within a context which is exciting, without resorting to gimmickry. It's honest and true writing which belies the author's familiarity with the intricacies of diamond action, to say the least.

The historical aspect of the story is kept in perspective, but it's also a story with a lesson in dealing with people who are different from the status quo. The central character, Mickey Tussler, starts his career as a humble farm boy who knows nothing of the outside world, but quickly learns to adapt to it, for better or for worse. He is not painted as a hero but more as a tragic figure who confronts difficult adversities and rises above those challenges.

Nappi's story contains examples of baseball writing which captivated me. Throughout the story I felt this was the best baseball fiction I'd read.

Nappi does not overwork the baseball angle. His careful interweaving of subplot says a lot about his talent as a storyteller. He stays true to the game but balances his approach by including issues of a more personal nature. Therein lies the beauty of this story.
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