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The Pitcher
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The Pitcher [Kindle Edition]

William Hazelgrove
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $0.99
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Book Description

A boy with a golden arm, but no money for lessons. A mother who wants to give her son his dream before she dies. A broken down World Series pitcher who cannot go on after the death of his wife. These are the elements of The Pitcher. A story of a man at the end of his dream and a boy whose dream is to make his high school baseball team. In the tradition of The Natural and The Field of Dreams, this is a mythic story about how a man and a boy meet in the crossroads of their life and find a way to go on. You will laugh and you will cry as The Pitcher and Ricky prepare for the ultimate try out of life.


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

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."
                                                                                                                    Booklist

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 673 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1938467590
  • Publisher: Koehler Books (July 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JMYIVWO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,315 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful!! 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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The stuff that dreams are made of" 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love a good baseball story September 5, 2013
By linda
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 game.read it!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dont Give Up On Your Dreams July 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very nicely written - some discrepancies but easy enough to overlook.
Published 28 days ago by Beej
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story.
Good story...well written. Now that the season is over it was fun to read about baseball again...good history there also.
Published 1 month ago by M. Truman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
this book made me feel good when I finished reading it. All wantabes to baseball should read it.
Published 1 month ago by Marge Hitchcock
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Decent read, as much about racism as learning to pitch.
Published 1 month ago by B.D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Inspiring story with a significant balance between current cultural realities in our country and personal development through life's circumstances.
Published 1 month ago by Alan L.
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't finish this book.
I didn't finish this book because I thought it was going to be something different. Sorry, Mr. Hazelgrove. It's not my cup of tea.
Published 1 month ago by Carol Boutin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great baseball story
Really enjoyed the book. As a baseball lover the story showed the hard work and dedication need to compete and excellent.
Published 1 month ago by Jay P.
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent
Sedentary not the best baseball book I have seen in my life. But it's good no the less. I just hope that there are better baseball books available
Published 2 months ago by Prerna Jagadeesh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
If you like baseball and kids you will like this book.
Published 2 months ago by Faye C Olson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good Read.
Published 2 months ago by Jeanne Justice
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More About the Author


REAL SANTA MOVIE RIGHTS SOLD Vicki Rocco of Modern Family optioned the movie rights of William Hazelgrove's Real Santa for her production company Small But Mighty Productions with an eye to a feature or a made for television movie. Ms. Rocco has to her credits, Modern Family, Arrested Development, Stand and Deliver, U23D, Empire Dreams, Heather, Britany Spears Live, and sees Real Santa as a classic that will pull in people hungry for a new take on the Christmas movie. "No one has done this. No one has taken on the physics of being Santa Claus. It is funny and heartwarming and has all the things we look for in any great Christmas movie."
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William Elliott Hazelgrove is the best-selling author of eight 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.

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