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The Pitcher Kindle Edition

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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


Movie Rights Sold to Gigantic Pictures

#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."

"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, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,123 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.

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Arthur L. Hellyer on August 27, 2013
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By honest Abe on August 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition
While the theme is about baseball, the story is about life, the struggles, major setbacks that we all face and then being able to triumph and emerge victorious. Hazelgrove is an excellent writer, he uses situations to evoke powerful emotions in the reader, and you find yourself rooting for the characters while at times you want to give them a virtual slap in the face and yell, "Get your head out!"
Ricky is a Hispanic boy growing up in Chicago and while he is otherwise nondescript, he has a whip for a pitching arm. Ricky lives with his mother (Maria) and they are struggling financially, his father (Fernando) only comes around when he wants money. Fernando is also a violent man that does not hesitate to punch Maria or Ricky. Never having had a coach or any other training, Ricky has no idea how to pitch; he has the raw talent but does not know how to properly channel it. Ricky also has inherited his temper from his parents, he is easily rattled while he is pitching and his opponents know this and use it against him.
Jack Langford (the Pitcher) lives close to Ricky and he was the World Series hero in 1978, pitching his team to victory. After his wife died, Jack collapsed and now all he does is sit in his garage, drinking beer, smoking, dipping Skoal and watching baseball on television. Ricky's mother is a very determined woman that has no fear of anyone so she goes over and asks the Pitcher if he will coach Ricky. She is not a person that it is easy to say no too, so the Pitcher agrees.
The path after this is strewn with many virtual pieces of flesh as Jack seems unable to rise above his chosen path of very slow self-destruction.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By linda on September 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Frisco56 on August 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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