A story of baseball and redemption, Calico Joe dexterously touches upon the issues of family, despondency, éclat, heartbreaks and more importantly hope, endurance and absolution.
Joe Castle, fondly called Calico Joe, from Calico Rock, Ark, a 21 year old rookie first baseman for Chicago Cubs, was a prodigal yet modest slugger who slowly broke all the rookie records ever set. He won numerous fans in America, including Paul Tracey, the son of Mets hurler Warren Tracey.
A day came when Warren had to confront Joe on the field in Shea stadium. Warren had a reputation for head-hunting, uncouthness, boozing, wife abusing and women chasing. His melodramatic gestures invited controversies and he never consistently stayed in one team. The story is presented from Paul's perspective. As the crowd whooped at Joe's home run, Paul had this ill feeling inside, for he knew his father better than anyone. A beanball is all it took to render Joe crest-fallen.
Years later, Paul contrives a meet between the two. That is the last thing Joe and Warren want after all these years. Joe is now a barely functional groundskeeper at a local high school and Warren is diagnosed of pancreatic cancer. Calico Joe was published on 10th April, 2012, by Hodder Paperbacks, London. It is now available in paperback. Its distinct narrative shifting between 1973 and 2003, with breadcrumbs here and there to feed the reader's curiosity, makes it completely riveting
- This story is inspired by the real life of Ray Chapman, the baseball professional who was killed by a fastball.
- John Grisham's first baseball novel, this book hit the best sellers list of The New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, USA Journal and The Wall Street Journal Hardcore Fiction.