**Review Contains What Could Be Considered Spoilers**
Calico Joe is a fantastic novel.
When Joe Castle comes up to the big leagues he has an unbelievable run, especially for a rookie, taking the league by storm and whacking homers at an unbelievable clip. Being from the small town of Calico Rock, Arkansas the press tagged him with Calico Joe.
Joe Castle, meet Warren Tracey, an average pitcher and a horrible human being. Mean spirited to his family and teammates, and seemingly embittered by his mediocre career, despite making millions and being one of the elite few in playing major league baseball.
And Warren Tracey lived by "the code" but and maybe a little beyond it, as he was known as someone who frequently hit batters, and often aiming for the head. One day Calico Joe hit a homer off Warren Tracey. His next at bat Tracey made in pay with a heinous act that ruined both of their careers.
Warren Tracey's son Paul was there that day. And he idolized Joe Castle. And hated his father. Years later he wanted to set things right for Joe Castle.
This novel is told from the point of view of Paul Castle and it is both nostalgic and sad. The entire novel is wonderful and the ending fantastic.
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About the reviewer
Doug Baker (cdbaker)
Avid reader and football fan.
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Q: What's your favorite baseball team? A: St. Louis Cardinals. My father was a Cardinals fan, as was my grandfather. When I was a kid growing up in the rural south, everyone listened to the Cardinals on the radio. We seldom missed a game.
Q: What's your most memorable game--as player, coach, or fan? A: I played a lot of baseball when I was a kid and teenager, but I do not recall making any spectacular plays. When I coached baseball, my teams usually lost. As a fan, Game 6 of the World Series last year, Cardinals vs. Rangers, comes to mind.
Q: Have you played or coached baseball? What position? A: I was an average high school baseball player with big dreams. I tried to play in college, but got myself cut in the fall practices. I was an outfielder with a weak arm.
Q: Why are there seemingly more baseball books--both fiction and nonfiction--than other sports? A: Baseball is a uniquely American sport, and it is the oldest organized sport in the country. It has a rich and colorful history, and up until the last generation, it was the most popular sport for kids to play. Sadly, that is changing.
Q: Who was the Joe Castle of your childhood--a player you revered? And was there a Warren Tracey? A: I was never much of a Red Sox fan, but I adored Tony Conigliaro. He was a great player, and a certain Hall of Famer. The beanball that struck him in the eye ruined a great career.