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Calico Joe

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  29,497 Ratings  ·  3,743 Reviews
A surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball…

Whatever happened to Calico Joe?

It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injure
Hardcover, 198 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Doubleday (first published 2012)
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Brett Richardson Great Book!! I dislike reading very mud but I found this book to be quite enjoyable. If you like baseball then you'll like this book!

Community Reviews

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Aug 30, 2016 Brina rated it it was amazing
The blurb on the front of the book reads the great American storyteller meets our national pastime. I remember when Calico Joe came out. The Cubs were in the midst of another losing season and the radio announcers had John Grisham in their booth to discuss his new baseball book. I did not get around to reading it until now, and of course I finished in 3 hours, as it's the time of year where I binge on baseball books.
Paul Tracey receives a phone call from his father's current wife that his fathe
Jay Connor
Jan 01, 2014 Jay Connor rated it it was amazing
The greatest triumph in today’s popular fiction could be the equal success John Grisham gets from his deepest hatred and his richest love.

Most know that Grisham the author of a number of good and best-selling legal thrillers hates the law. Or more precisely hates the act of lawyering. Fewer probably know that Grisham loves baseball. He coaches his son’s teams and gives mightily to building fields of dreams in both Virginia and, his native, Mississippi.

With “Calico Joe,” Grisham tells a wonderfu
Mar 15, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

John Grisham, obviously, is a very accomplished writer of tense legal thrillers, all of which are best sellers. Every once in a while, he strays from that genre and writes simply fantastic day-in-the-life type books of which I can't get enough. This is one of those books, and fits right along with "Playing for Pizza" and "A Painted House". Those two books weren't well received, but for some reason, I like those a whole lot more that the legal thrillers. There's something about how he c
Apr 13, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Fan of baseball? Not a fan of baseball? Doesnt' matter-this book is a must read! This is so much more than a book about baseball. It's about family, heartache, broken promises, disappointments, growing up...mostly forgiveness and resiliance. You ache for Paul Tracey, his sister and Mom. You are so so disappointed in his father, MLB pitcher, Warren Tracey. He is far from a role model; even farther from father of the year. How could this emotionally charged story have a positive ending-what's the ...more
Mar 01, 2012 thewanderingjew rated it it was amazing
John Grisham has hit this one out of the park. It isn't masquerading as rocket science; it is simply a tender tale of baseball, told with all the glory, and even the horror, that sometimes may accompany the game.

It is hard to know, at first, if this book is for adults or young adults, especially because of the cover which appears a bit juvenile, but perhaps it is for both, even though the subject matter may get dicey, with the inclusion of a dying parent who has also been physically abusive and
May 11, 2016 Marla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
If you are a baseball fan, this is a great read. It's a small book so doesn't take very long.
Apr 21, 2012 Darcy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I feel like I should preface this review by saying that I don't like baseball, in fact I think I would rather watch paint dry, it is just as exciting. So it was with great trepidation that I picked up this book and how very surprised by how much I loved this book by the end. The book isn't really about baseball, it just happens to be the catalyst for many of the actions in the book.

I really liked the dual time periods in the book, the start of Calico Joe's red hot career, his down to earth attit
May 11, 2012 Ronna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A MUST READ for all baseball fans!!! Brings back memories from your own favorite teams---- Cincinnitti pitcher hitting Cardinal's Pujols on his broken wrist last year---remembrance for me. We all love our teams and players!! I happened to finish this book on Friday, April13, when the Cubs beat my Cardinals 8-5, when one of our great pitchers, Wainright, pitched on comeback from Tommy John's surgery. I so wanted him to do great! So, we all have our great memories!!

Hitting on the head-----terrible
May 31, 2012 Noah rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-reviewed
This was a pleasant read; I like baseball, so that made it easy. It wasn't a page-turner in classic Grisham sense, but I read through it pretty quickly anyway. I wasn't on the edge of my seat, which is why the word "pleasant" came to mind - just pleasurable reading. Despite the potential for sentimentalism there really wasn't anyway; it was almost as if the son was disinterested in the whole thing, not as in, not interested, but removed from being concerned about the consequences. Just thought ...more
Oct 16, 2016 Kelley rated it it was amazing
Book read for Book Discussion group

I loved this story! This is, at heart, a story of fathers and sons. Although the father in this story was a pitcher for the Mets, he wasn't the made for TV professional player; he made terrible decisions at home and on the field. His son, Paul, discovers that his father is dying of cancer. He doesn't want to try to mend fences between them, it's far too late for that, but he would like his father to apologize to Calico Joe. His father intentionally threw a pitc
Jul 17, 2012 Malcolm rated it did not like it
The place where this book failed was at the beginning.

Grisham, a gifted writer of course, made a choice to write in the point of view of a boy whose father is a baseball player, and has since grown up. Much of the book is this man looking back about events and decisions that happened around his father -- especially one event inside baseball.

The problem with choosing this point of view is that everything the boy saw and remembered later was from the outside -- from the stands, from far away. I al
Jane Stewart
It’s not my kind of book because it was sad and depressing. But it was well done if you like this genre.

Most of the book has me thinking about the terrible tragedy (view spoiler) But it didn't feel good to me. It felt too-little-too-late. There
Mar 10, 2012 Suzanne rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
For years, superstar author John Grisham has wanted to write a novel about baseball. Unfortunately, the story just never came to him. Then, a couple of years ago, Grisham read a story about Ray Chapman, a baseball player who was killed by getting hit with a fast pitch. There was much speculation about whether the player was “beaned” intentionally. Grisham thought this would make an excellent basis for a story, and so we have his latest novel, Calico Joe.

I was sent an advance review copy by the p
David Walsh
Jul 15, 2012 David Walsh rated it it was ok
If your write 24 novels and have a number of them made into movies, your reputation is already set. You don’t have to beg publishers to read your latest work, to take a chance and publish it, to fund your book tour.

So John Grisham gets a pass for a thin book like Calico Joe. The story has been written many times: rookie rises to the major leagues as part of a losing team, goes on a tear at the plate, breaks a few records, the team lands in first place, crowds come to see him at home and away. Na
Nurse Lisa in Ohio (PRN Book Reviews)
Yes, I am a big baseball fan (GO REDS!)...However, even if one knows ZERO about ANY sport, this is a really good story. I finished it in just a few hours but will think about it for a long time.

I like when Mr. Grisham veers off his typical (very enjoyable) legal thriller path and gives us something different (i.e. "playing for pizza"-I think).

Bottom line: I wish we could give half stars as I feel this novel would be a solid 4.5. I am very frugal with my "fives" and am again in this instance as I
Wanda Hartzenberg
May 04, 2016 Wanda Hartzenberg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
What a truly amazing book. I listened to this on Audio and I know already I will listen to it again. And again.
Now. You need to understand something. I am about as interested in sports as I am in watching my grass grow.
But a few years back I read a book by an author who convinced me that I should not close down this genre as a matter of course. And thus I gave this book a try and I am totally delighted that I did.
Like most books in this genre in my limited experience sport is a subplot. This
Apr 14, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
A great Grisham tale that takes us outside the law firms and onto the fields of America's pasttime. Grisham delivers an excellent branch off and great read for this short novella, as he examines the game of baseball and the issues that plague one family surrounding it.

Dealing in two timelines; 1973 when a rookie amazes the baseball world, and the present day when the son of a former great (and fan back in 1973) is dealing with events back in 1973, the book seeks to bring as closure that has been
Jessie Frederick
Jun 02, 2016 Jessie Frederick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans
Shelves: 2016, owned
I like to assign the tag "24 hour read" to books that only take me a day to get through. Calico Joe falls into that bunch, but in reality it only took me about 18 hours with a night of sleep thrown into the mix. You do the math. A quick book that, overall, kept me interested and engaged.

I guess I'll start with the reasons this book earned 4 stars. I like the story. I like looking into the father/son relationship, especially when it's rocky and tumultuous. Unfortunately, I can very much relate, s
Jun 27, 2012 Marialyce rated it liked it
Shelves: may-2012
This was a very nice read requiring no great thinking to understand its message. I am not very sports minded so being that this book dealt with baseball, I did not think I would enjoy it as much as I did. Grisham has written a short story of what life in the sport's lane, which involves high powered players, is like. It is not always a happy place for the family members to be involved in.

Very much reminding me of The Great Santini, the father in this book is arrogant and abusive to his son and h
Oct 18, 2016 Suzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short book (only 4 1/2 hours of listening) packs a punch on many levels. It alternates between the summer of 1973 and present time and is a story about baseball fans and players, fathers and sons, redemption and forgiveness.

Paul Tracy, the son of a Mets pitcher, tells the story from the vantage point of his 12-year-old self and from his 40-ish married father-of-two self. Calico Joe Castle, a phenom of the 1973 Cubs team, is called up from the minors and starts his career with 12 hits in 12
Tim Chavel
Dec 11, 2013 Tim Chavel rated it it was amazing
My wife knows how much I enjoy reading Grisham so when she saw this book on sale at Target she bought it. It is a very easy read but an excellent read. Calico Joe is a rookie playing for the Chicago Cubs. He is setting all kinds of records and is on pace to be the all time rookie ever until his career is cut short when a pitcher throws and hits him in the head. The son of the pitcher years later when his father is dying sets off to meet Joe and try to sit up a meeting between the two. Grisham ...more
Aug 13, 2016 Thom rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The author is a pretty big baseball fan and it shows in this story, part coming of age and part reconciliation. Told in two eras, this is the story of a rookie hitter and a veteran pitcher in 1973 coupled with the story of an aging, distant and difficult father and his son.

I found the baseball credible (though the rookie accomplishments cross the line to in-credible) and the story believable. Both the characters and small town America are well fleshed out. This is the first John Grisham novel I
Jun 07, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, baseball
As a serious Baseball fan, I really enjoyed this book. Great summer "fast" read!

Apr 22, 2012 Skyring rated it it was amazing
In many ways, baseball is the perfect game. Unlike the open-ended contest between bowler and batsman in cricket, baseball limits the interactions and the tension mounts. Pitcher and batter are playing a game of wits and strategy, something like tic-tac-toe in the simplicity of the formula but with the element of chance and skill. A tiny angle on the bat can mean the difference between a grand slam home run and a foul ball. A keen eye can pick up a weakness in the opponent - or in the fielders.

Toni Osborne
Apr 09, 2013 Toni Osborne rated it really liked it
"Calico Joe" is a breezy little novel coming just under 200 pages , it is the first-person account of a fictionalized beaning of a Chicago Cubs prodigy by the name of Joe Castle, from Calico Rock , Ark. The story is narrated by Paul Tracey, son of Warren, the head-hunting power pitcher for the New York Mets who aimed a fast ball at the head Joe Calico and took him out of the game and ended his career.

In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder and the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen
Samantha Yong
Jul 10, 2015 Samantha Yong rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2015 Anbu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: john-grisham, sports
John Grisham’s Calico Joe, the novel based on a base ball player’s life or that is what I thought when I got to know the novel’s theme is base ball. But the novel turned out to be a wonderful read on an infamous incident (fictional only) in the view of the guilty person’s son and his attempts at a redemption.

John Grisham is a superb story teller who makes you think that you are reading a real memoir, not a fictional novel. The highlight of this novel is the reality. If he published this book as
Jun 24, 2012 Lynn rated it really liked it
Loved it! Story is about a young baseball player, a phenom, who comes roaring out of the minors into the majors, breaking all kinds of records and receiving praise and adulation from all fans, other players, sports writers, etc. He is a Cubbie, and people everywhere love him.

Then there is the aging, mid-30's pitcher who wants so badly to be awesome like this young player. He has convinced himself that he still has the right stuff to be awesome. He also wants his family and fans to love him. But
Jorge Castanos
Jul 04, 2015 Jorge Castanos rated it really liked it
Calico Joe es una novela corta (unas 200 páginas) que se publicó en abril del 2012 y que narra una historia de familia, decepción, perdón y baseball.

Encierra en sus páginas una historia simple pero poderosa, que fácilmente te pondrá al borde de las lágrimas dos o tres veces. Es una historia memorable con repercusiones morales y que usa el campo de baseball como zapata.

Al ser una novela corta, es difícil para mi poder abundar mucho tanto en el argumento como en la opinión de la misma. Pero puedo
Wayne Sutton
May 28, 2012 Wayne Sutton rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved it. I call it a modern day "Shoeless Joe"/Field of Dreams story mixed in with "The Natural". As a baseball lover and a true believer that it is America's pastime this story hit home. I remember my first ball glove and bat my father gave to me. Baseball has always been an important part of my life. But this story takes an interesting twist on that father-son baseball analogy and does it well. The story is a page turner and just makes you want more. Baseball fans will love the ...more
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Any good? 26 157 Oct 29, 2014 11:44AM  
Which current players would you cast as Warren Tracey and Joe Castle? 12 80 Oct 27, 2013 10:56AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Calico Joe 1 3 Jul 26, 2012 09:35AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Calico Joe 1 2 Jun 03, 2012 12:56PM  
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"Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of
More about John Grisham...

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“After a leisurely slide into second, Joe bounced to his feet, looked at Marichal, shrugged, smiled, and spread his arms as if to say, "You throw at me, I'll make you pay.” 2 likes
“were in town. At dawn, NBC, along with the rest of the baseball world, awakened to the irresistible story of Joe Castle and his stunning debut in Philadelphia. Suddenly the biggest game of the day was” 0 likes
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