Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Calico Joe” as Want to Read:
Calico Joe
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Calico Joe

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  28,261 Ratings  ·  3,656 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
Published April 10th 2012 by Random House Audio (first published 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Calico Joe, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

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!
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 29, 2016 Brina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 30, 2012 Jay Connor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 15, 2012 Ronna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 21, 2012 Darcy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 31, 2012 Noah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t ...more
Wanda Hartzenberg
May 04, 2016 Wanda Hartzenberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 17, 2012 Malcolm rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
David Walsh
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2012 Marialyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nurse Lisa in Ohio
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
Samantha Yong
Jul 10, 2015 Samantha Yong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 22, 2012 Skyring rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Dec 01, 2015 Suzy rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to
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
Jun 24, 2012 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tim Chavel
May 08, 2012 Tim Chavel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 we ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, baseball
As a serious Baseball fan, I really enjoyed this book. Great summer "fast" read!

Jorge Castanos
Jul 04, 2015 Jorge Castanos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Toni Osborne
Apr 09, 2013 Toni Osborne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
May 31, 2012 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perfect timing - attended a Cubs vs. Phillies game at Wrigley Field (12th row, third baseline near home plate) the day after I finished this book!

You don't have to be a Cubs fan, or even a huge fan of the game of baseball, to like this book. The evoked nostalgia of the players of that time period was lots of fun for me. Reading about the unwritten codes of the game was disturbing, and brought to mind recent incidents in the news not only in the game of baseball, but also in football. The devast
Aug 30, 2012 TAMMY CUEVAS rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
In 1973, Paul Tracey was just another eleven year old baseball fan, with one slight difference from most. His father pitched for the Mets, but not very well. The only thing worse than his pitching abilities were his parenting skills. Paul was happiest when his dad was on the road, but he tried to remain loyal to the Mets. But when a boy wonder from Calico Rock, Arkansas named Joe Castle soared to baseball fame, all of America was mesmerized. Paul couldn't help but secretly cheer for "Calico Joe" ...more
Jun 10, 2012 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
Eularee Smith
May 16, 2013 Eularee Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favs
Dust off the bleacher seat, buy some peanuts and crackerjacks and prepare to enjoy the game of baseball through the eyes of a master storyteller. Since I am life long fan and played catcher in my younger years with better knees, I am perhaps more critical than most. Grisham captures not only the spirit of the game but has all the players he needs to color the pages with the history of the game.

Inspired by the true story of Ray Chapman, the only professional player who was killed by a pitch, the
Dec 20, 2013 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My wife, a long-time Grisham fan, recommended this book to me and I'm glad she did.

I liked this novel for a number of reasons.

1) This book is not 1000 pp long, though long books can also be good. it was a great vacation read. It feels like sometimes some authors have to justify themselves by padding their books to make them unnecessarily long. Grisham doesn't have that problem.

2) Reading this book was almost like watching a movie in my mind, and I hope this one makes the leap to the big screen.

Caitlin Moyer
Apr 28, 2012 Caitlin Moyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A cold, rainy day in April gave me the perfect excuse to lose myself in the story of Paul Tracey, his father, and his hero. This was my first John Grisham novel and I will admit that the only reason I was interested in reading was the subject matter--there isn't a baseball book I won't read. [Nothing against Grisham--I've seen some of the movies made from other novels and they were quite good--I just much prefer to read other types of books instead.]

Anyway, at a mere 200 pages, I finished Calic
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Any good? 26 157 Oct 29, 2014 11:44AM  
Which current players would you cast as Warren Tracey and Joe Castle? 12 79 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  
Free Books, .99 &...: 2 copies of Calico Joe! 2 13 Apr 19, 2012 12:17AM  
  • The Entitled: A Tale of Modern Baseball
  • Francona: The Red Sox Years
  • Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
  • Imperfect: An Improbable Life
  • Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball
  • Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back
  • One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season
  • Bang the Drum Slowly
  • Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game
  • The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
  • Living on the Black
  • Pete Rose: An American Dilemma
  • Stan Musial: An American Life
  • Out of My League: A Rookie's Survival in the Bigs
  • The Yankee Years
  • Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball's Greatest Gift
  • Shoeless Joe
  • Mike and Mike's Rules for Sports and Life
"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...

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…