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Showing 1-10 of 126 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 172 reviews
on August 27, 2013
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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on August 31, 2013
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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on September 5, 2013
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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on September 11, 2013
I'm picky about what I read, particularly when it comes to YA fiction and books about sports, as both are difficult nuts to crack for any author. I've read TOBACCO STICKS and ROCKET MAN, two of Hazelgrove's previous book, and while I enjoyed both, I was skeptical about his ability to create a narrative that melded these two new categories together into a story that would draw me in.

So when THE PITCHER was recommended to me by a friend who knows that SHOELESS JOE, THE CATCHER IN THE RYE and WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS are three of my favorite books, and FIELD OF DREAMS and BULL DURHAM are two of my all-time favorite movies, at first I ignored him. Then a second friend chimed in, unsolicited, with the same recommendation, so I gave it a chance.

I'm glad I did.

Hazelgrove has pulled off something not many authors can do -- he has created is a story that manages to be a breezy read, while also being sweet, powerful and heart-felt. There are a thousand tales of kids reaching for their dreams, encouraged by a special "Obi-Wan"-esque mentor, but despite that THE PITCHER manages to come off as fresh and even original in its point-of-view of this tale as old as time.

As I said before, I've read other books by the author. As much as I liked them, though, I have to say that THE PITCHER feels the most authentic. Hazelgrove has found his voice in this book, through these characters and with a story that feels personal and real. A good writer, like a good actor, can make almost any material work (though it will likely still come across as wooden), but no matter how good an author may be, he or she can't force their writing to live and breathe...that comes only from a well-grounded connection to the material. That's what Hazelgrove has accomplished here.

Want to feel good? Read THE PITCHER.
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on August 29, 2013
In a nutshell, this is a very, very good book. Even though I had an idea where the story was going I still couldn't put it down until I had read the last page. I am far from being a teenager but I think any teenaged athlete or sports fan would love this book.
Fine work Mr. Hazelgrove!
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on August 27, 2013
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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on September 5, 2013
Wish I had read something like this as a teen. It would have given me the hope and inspiration all boys need.

This is just a story of a boy and a man, of dreams, and a strong mom who would not let her son fail. I have long maintained that a boy needs a man in his life, a positive role model. And, in order to be successful at any vocation or skill, one needs a mentor. It is almost impossible to succeed without strong and loving guidance. Ricky had the best of both worlds: mom and man as mentors.

Being from the North Side, I resent that the author didn't use a Cub as The Pitcher. The book shares fond recollections of Wrigley Field and Chicago; thank you. Of course, since The Pitcher starred in and won a World Series, that would have changed the book from a novel to pure fantasy!

Read it; you'll love it.
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on September 2, 2013
This is one of the best books I've ever read, and now that I just finished it, literally moments ago, I'm cast adrift wondering what to do now. I have my own book to continue writing, but can't settle down to it because The Pitcher keeps filling my head, and I'm writing about horses, not baseball, so no help there.

If you only get to read one book this year, choose this one. It is a treasure on its way to becoming a classic. if they turn this into a film, I will be rooting for Kevin Spacey to play the Pitcher. It will be Academy Award stuff.
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on September 6, 2013
I would rate this as a 3.5 stars... but because I love baseball, I bumped it up to a 4 star book. It's a great story with really good characters. I really liked the story and recommend it to any fan of baseball. The writing style wasn't my favorite, but the story made up for it. I'd even be interested in reading the same story from the perspective of the Pitcher. Overall, it was a good read!
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on September 13, 2013
I really liked this book. Because the mother in the story played ball and helped coach her son appealed to the inner Tomboy in me.

Because the book is written in the first person I felt that some of the ancillary characters were a bit underdeveloped but that did not detract from the story.

I'm not sure why this is promoted as a children's book. It could be appropriate for older teens but I think it might be a little to dark in some places for younger children.

I would recommended this to my friends in a heartbeat.
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