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The Pitcher Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Length: 252 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Ricky Hernandez, 13, can hurl a 75-miles-per-hour fastball. If only he could get it near the plate. Scraping by with a single mother suffering from lupus, Ricky is determined to show up the rich bullies, the kids who mock his Mexican heritage—all of them. But it seems like a lost cause until he meets his surly hermit neighbor, who just happens to be one-time World Series MVP Jack Langford. Soon a relationship begins between the Hernandezes and Langford, who begrudgingly agrees to give Ricky a few pointers. Mostly, though, he guzzles beer while forcing the kid to do puzzling things like throw stones at trees for weeks on end. It’s a set-up you’ve seen before—bitter, fallen hero taking on his demons via a brash upstart—but Hazelgrove negates cliché by powering straight through it and embracing the classic nature of the tale, which manages to be both modern and timeless. You can taste the ballpark dust, feel the smack of the ball in your glove, and feel assured that, somehow, these three strongly drawn characters will push on to victory. Grades 5-8. --Daniel Kraus

Review



#1 Amazon Bestseller in Contemporary Urban Fiction
#1 Amazon Bestseller in Teen and Young Adult Sports Fiction

"William Hazelgrove has fashioned a near classic baseball story."
                                                                              San Francisco Review of Books

"With tense moments, unexpected twists, and a few humorous and joyful reprieves, Hazelgrove's writing reflects the dramatic arc of a baseball game."              
                                                                                                        Junior Library Guild

"You can taste the ballpark dust, feel the smack of the ball in your glove, and feel assured that, somehow, these three strongly drawn characters will push on to victory."
                                                                                                                    Booklist

"An enaging well written story with plenty of human drama--this one is a solid hit."  Kirkus

Product Details

  • File Size: 839 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1938467590
  • Publisher: Koehler Books (July 1, 2013)
  • Publication Date: July 1, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JMYIVWO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,667 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author


William Elliott Hazelgrove is the best-selling author of ten novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks, Mica Highways, Rocket Man, The Pitcher, Real Santa and the forthcoming Jackpine and The Pitcher 2. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway's birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. He has been the subject of interviews in NPR's All Things Considered along with features in The New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Richmond Times Dispatch, USA Today, People, Channel 11, NBC, WBEZ, WGN. His most recent novel, The Pitcher is a Junior Library Guild Selection and was chosen Book of the Year by Books and Authors. net. His next book Jackpine will be out Spring 2014 with Koehler Books. A follow up novel Real Santa will be out fall of 2014.
He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway's Attic.

http://www.williamhazelgrove.com


Authors Own words
Born in Richmond, Virginia, and carted back and forth between Virginia and Baltimore, I blame my rootless, restless personality on my father. He was and is a traveling salesman with a keen gift of gab, great wit, a ready joke, and could sell white tennis shoes to coal miners.

It was during these sojourns up and down the east coast I soaked up the stories that would later be Tobacco Sticks and Mica Highways. I think authors should exploit their family history before raping the rest of the culture for material.

Dad finally got tired of the east and moved to the Midwest when I was fourteen. We settled outside of Chicago. It is here I came of age and went off to college for seven years -- two degrees and one novel later I returned to Chicago and lived in many different apartments, trying to get a little two hundred page manuscript called Ripples published.

When a local printer said he would take a chance on my book, I jumped and had my first novel published by a man who had never published anything. Great reviews and moderate sales put me back to my jobs as a janitor, baker, waiter, construction worker, teacher, real estate tycoon, mortgage broker, professor, security guard, salesman -- anything to make a buck and keep writing. The printer lost his mind and published my second novel, too. That landed me with Bantam after some rave reviews and a paperback auction for my second novel, Tobacco Sticks.

A third novel, Mica Highways, was sold on less than one hundred and fifty pages to Bantam and then I did a strange thing -- I settled down to writing in Ernest Hemingway's birthplace in Oak Park, Illinois. I have since been looking for the Great American Novel up in the old red oak rafters and I think I might have finally found one.... My new novel, Rocket Man, is an exploration of what the American Dream means today. A man moves to the suburbs and his life falls apart in one week. It is a satire but with events now, it seems very timely.

A fifth novel, The Pitcher will be out in September 2013. The story of a boy with an incredible arm but no way to make the highschool team. When an old World Series pitcher agrees to coach him, he finds that a dream is sometimes all you have.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read many baseball novels throughout the years from Harold M. Sherman's books written in the 1930s, the TAB Books of the 1950s, like "The Kid Who Batted 1.000" and the many books of John R. Tunis, up through my adult years with books such as "The Natural," and the Crabbe Evers series and the excellent mysteries of Troy Soos. Many of these, and others, are quite decent, if not, excellent baseball novels. But none of these ever came close to leaving me with the intense sense of wonder that I felt after, and while, reading Mr. Hazelgrove's, "The Pitcher." "To Kill a Mockingbird" combined with the coach from "The Bad News Bears" might point you in the same direction, but, obviously, these two books cannot be combined. Although grounded in the trappings of reality, this book is magical.

The son's ambitions and hopes combined with his mother's support are what the book is all about. But, throw in a down-at-the-heels, former star player, and the book becomes one that should be read slowly, and savored, in order to enjoy every nuance of the plot. Again, this book is magical.
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I am blown away by this novel. It gave me more chills than "The Field Of Dreams" and "The Natural" combined. I choked up more times reading this, soon to be classic tale, than a team that leaves 11 men on base during a game. I kid you not; it's that moving.
This is much more than a story of the love of a game, or a mother's dream for her child. This is a perfectly crafted piece of literary fiction that is relevant to contemporary issues of the day.
You will come to respect and admire Maria and her son Ricky. If you're like me, you will be fascinated by the Pitcher Jack Langford. All I could see when I read about him was Clint Eastwood (about 25 years younger). You'll love his evolution and root for him as well as Maria and Ricky. If this isn't made into a movie, Hollywood is missing out on a potential blockbuster as big or bigger than "Sandlot" or "The Natural".
It weaves in hot button issues like illegal immigration, health care, and domestic violence in a way that isn't preachy or over the top. It is sentimental but not maudlin.
These issues and the dream of a mother and child to have "their moment to shine" is brilliantly done in a manner that is at times humorous, tension filled, and totally satisfying. The last 25 % of the book will have you in angst as the the twists of the story unfold into a totally fulfilling conclusion.
This novel is a must read for men and women of all ages. I just can't put into words how impressive this book is, but I have no doubt that this future best seller is Mr. Hazelgrove's
"moment to shine".
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Let me start by saying that I am not a sports fan, and I do not generally read sports-themed books. But, the good reviews of this book led me to give it a try. I'm very glad I did. This is a very well-written book that is about far more than just baseball. It's about not giving up on your dream. It's about finding your way back after you go downhill. It's about not giving up hope for a better life. It is well worth the time it takes to read it. You won't be disappointed.
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If you love baseball then read this book. I had the image of Clint Eastwood as the pitcher. Had me crying for a minute.The pitcher is rough and gruff but you know he is a good guy.I was waiting for the boy to be great in the game.read it!
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Take a mother who is extremely ill and wants her sons dream to come true, a "beano" as her son Ricky is referred to in school, Mr. Langford who is a broken down World Series pitcher and put them together and what do you have? A truly fascinating and warm story that will bring tears to your eyes and make you cheer for the underdogs.

When Ricky was nine years old at a carnival the man who was watching him try to get three balls into the hole says this boy really has an arm.
Maria, his mom has always felt that way but they cannot afford to get him private lessons so she tries to teach and coach him as best as she can.

They have a neighbor who lives across the street who spends all of his time in the garage watching TV, smoking and getting drunk. Mr.Langford had helped the Tigers win the World Series in 1978 with his pitching but now he is nothing more the a recluse who never goes anywhere.

Take one determined mom, who is not going to give up on her sons dreams and approaches him to coach her son so he can make the High School team. Of course he is not interested and as events unfold we see the tough man having his layers pealed away and we get to see a softer, caring and giving side, which is not at all expected, from this man.

I felt the story was wonderful as it does encourage people or all ages and race not to give up on your dream and if you have a gift such as a talent anything is possible. You don't have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this story it is just touching from page one till the end.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I've read many sports novels, and The Pitcher stands out as one of the best. What makes this story truly special is the authenticity of the characters. Ricky Hernandez, a young pitcher with aspirations of making his high school baseball team, narrates with a voice that bleeds from the open wounds of poverty, academic struggles, discrimination, an abusive father, and the inability to control the raw power in his throwing arm. When Ricky, in dire need of a pitching coach in the weeks running up to the high school try-outs, ventures into the lair of Jack Langford, a retired World Series pitching legend who has gone to seed in the worst way, the stage is set for a memorable tale in the tradition of the great coach/athlete sports stories.

Langford, confined to his garage to avoid the memories of his deceased wife (where he watches an endless series of ballgames in a stupor of alcohol and tobacco), wants nothing to do with Ricky until his mother unleashes her considerable charm, fury, and stubbornness on him. What follows is an unorthodox set of lessons, every bit as entertaining as those in the Karate Kid movies, in which both teacher and student help one another to heal their respective wounds.

Adversity abounds, in the form of abusive visits from Ricky's father, a rival pitcher who benefits from all the privileges money and connections can buy, and the unwillingness of Ricky's mother to allow her life-threatening illness interfere with Ricky's dream. William Hazlegrove handles this weighty material with the ease of a master storyteller, the result being polished gem of a novel that will be sure to please a broad audience. This is my second Hazelgrove novel (both of which earned a rare five-star rating), and I'm now a devoted fan.

-Kevin Joseph, author of The Champion Maker
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