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The Pitcher

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  371 ratings  ·  83 reviews
What a mother wont do for her son. A boy with a golden arm but no money for lessons. A mother who wants to give her son his dream before she dies. A broken down World Series pitcher who cannot go on after the death of his wife. These are the elements of The Pitcher. A story of a man at the end of his dream and a boy whose dream is to make his high school baseball team. In ...more
Paperback, First , 252 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by Koehler Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)


Winning the World Series is the dream of every baseball player, no matter what level, position or ability. So when you are a young man struggling with your pitching just before the high school team’s tryouts and you discover your neighbor was a pitcher who DID win a World Series, you want him to help you make the team, right?

That is the premise of The Pitcher, a coming-of-age book about Ricky, a young man being raised by his mom Maria. They are of Mexican
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
The story is okay, but one thing really bothers me. When an author tries to write a book about baseball he needs to make sure the details of the game included in the book are correct. While it is not impossible it would be extremely unusual for a world series pitcher to hit a game winning home run and I don't think two opposing pitchers in a world series game have ever homered in the same game. Also, at a dramatic point in the book the hero balks and the author has the umpire tell the batter to ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
So, have you ever had a dream? That’s a question that every person is asked time and time again. Do you have a dream. If you’re Ricky Hernandez, your dream is the same dream as everyone else. He wants to be the American Dream. A kid from nothing that turns into something.

“The Pitcher” is a book about dreams. The dreams of kids. The dreams of parents. The dreams of immigrants. The dreams of a man who’s lived the dream. And it’s all brought together in the mind of William Hazelgrove.

So, let’s put
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book Review: The Pitcher By: William Hazelgrove. This book is very good and the whole focus of this book is around baseball, so if you are a sporty person this is the book for you.
This book that I just read is realistic fiction but some of the events in this book have taken place on earth but other events haven’t happened so I would have to say this book is realistic fiction. The setting of this book takes place mostly in the main character (Ricky’s) neighborhood and on some sort of field rangi
Lara Lillibridge
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My 12 year old stayed up reading this several nights in a row, and he asked me to read it once he finished. He couldn't wait for me to finish it and kept asking where I was in the book so he could talk about it. I got him the sequel and he finished it in one night.

At 44 years old I am not the target market for this book, but I still found it a good story that was easy to get sucked into. As a mother I appreciated that the book was teaching my son about privilege without it being a lecture from
Josh Klug
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book. This book takes place in Florida during a very hot summer. This book revolves around Ricky, a 13-year-old Mexican kid that finds out he has a great arm and he can pitch the ball fast, but he cant control it. His mom, Maria, scraps up money to get him onto a baseball team so he can get better. His goal is to make it onto the high school team but his mom is poor and they cant get him a coach to help him control his fastball. His tries to help but she just doesn' ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
`In baseball games it's all about momentum and the crowd sniffs who has it.'

William Hazelgrove continues to `bat a thousand' with this, his latest impressive novel, THE PITCHER. He so very well understands a child's point of view and the adult response and all the friction, love, agony, passion, and joy and disappointment that the interaction between these apparent poles implies. He has the gift of writing honestly and with utter conviction about relationships between youngsters and adults, show
Sam Sattler
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball, young-adult
Whether they will admit it or not, most guys still react to a heart-tugging baseball novel the same way they reacted to one when they were kids. Almost every boy, at one time or another - even if only for a moment - has probably dreamed of becoming a professional athlete, and in my day, that usually meant dreaming of major league baseball. And, reliving those dreams for a day or two via a good baseball novel is still quite a kick for guys like us. The Pitcher, William Hazelgrove’s new novel allo ...more
Daniel S.
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"And like all good baseball novels, The Pitcher is about more than just baseball" - Billy Lambardo

This pretty much sums up everything about all sports books. You can't write a whole story, just about baseball. And in this book, Hazelgrove did exactly that, even with the limited amount of characters he choose to put in the story. This is probably one of my favorite books I have read in a while (and that's saying something).

Ricky learned that he had an arm when he was 9 years old, at a carnival ga
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Ricky is 9 years old when he learns that he has a great arm for pitching, which he's excited about because he doesn't feel like he's good at very much. He's now 14 and practices in front of his house with his friend Joey. He plays on a city team and his arm is pretty wild and he needs to learn control. His mother doesn't have money to pay someone to coach him so she looks on the internet for tips to help him. She does enlist the help of the Pitcher who lives across the street from them. He's a f ...more
Grace Stevens
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
In The Pitcher, a story of Ricky and his amazing gift of pitching is told. We are told about Ricky’s life and all the struggles he goes through to become a great pitcher. Ricky’s mom wants everything for him and she even puts her own health behind her and almost dies because she didn’t take care of herself. They both never give up and they show others how tough there little Mexican family is.
Hazelgrove did a very good job of making the reader want to keep reading. He made the characters experi
Harold Kasselman
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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 h
Betsy Ashton
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a child, baseball enchanted me. I wanted to pitch for my beloved Dodgers. Something got in the way. Not lack of talent, but being a girl. Reality stepped in and changed my dreams. Not so with William Hazelgrove's The Pitcher.

This escape into dreams of becoming a pitcher flow effortlessly from page to page, reminding the adult reader that once we were young and had our own seemingly impossible dreams.

A young Mexican-American boy dreams big. He wants to pitch for his high school team. Not in t
Joyce Yattoni
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There are so many reader's hands I want to put this book in! Protagonist Ricky is in 8th grade and has a wicked, but wild fastball. He dreams of making the highly competitive high school team. Keep in mind Ricky is Hispanic and poor and doesn't have the money to spend on private lessons, the best equipment or club/travel teams. What he does have though is a fierce mother. I loved their story because it speaks very plainly about prejudice and not so plainly about white privilege. This book will r ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Pitcher is about a boy named Ricky. Who just graduated the Eighth Grade and is playing baseball with a summer team. His Mom is doing all she can do to help him succeed in pitching. Ricky was having a problem with his pitching though because all he could do was throw a seventy-five mile per hour fastball, but he did not have a different pitch. Ricky and his Mom live right next to a former MLB pitcher who won a World Series with Detroit. Ricky’s Mom was trying to find a way for Ricky to get le ...more
K. East
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yes, it is a predictable. Yes, it is a lot about pitching baseball, which is a bit much if you aren't a fan. But the plot and the characters are very engaging, and I enjoyed this book immensely. The editing was tight, the story didn't drag like so many novels do these days. It was a pleasant two day spin in the pitching world.

My only beef with this book is that it is pitched [pardon the pun] as a young adult novel, but as only one out of three of the main characters is a teen, I think the class
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Overall, the story is quite good. I read into the night to finish it. Even though I knew it would probably have a happy ending, and I was hoping for it, Pollyanna as that might be, I still wanted to see how the author could pull it off. He did it well. It was not cloying at all. At times, I thought the book seemed more appropriate for a middle-grader. I think younger boys might benefit more, overall, from the lessons in the book about family, broken homes, alcoholism, loss, coping, self-control, ...more
Ryan Taffe
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is about a 14 year old pitcher that is playing for his local team. He lives in Florida in a mostly white neighborhood where he is Mexican. He is a huge fan of the Miami Marlins and Carlos Zambrano. He throws really hard but he has no control of the strike zone at all. He wants to make the high school baseball team next year but he has to get more control. His family is poor and doesn't have money to pay for pitching lessons. Their neighbor was an mlb pitcher that won a world series. No ...more
Dakota Riedesel
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book is about a boy that wants to make the high school baseball team but he’s mexican and people call him names and make fun of him. The boy has to go through a lot of struggles. His mom has health issues and does everything for him and helps him with baseball and their neighbor is an ex major league baseball pitcher and he helps him out with his pitching. He plays on a team that’s not very good then the best pitcher the team has transfers teams and they have to play in a tournament in front ...more
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was a great read. My only criticism would be there is something I hate in books : if you tell me some character is good at something but then each scene after that the character is just so bad at the said thing, it's infuriating. The main protagonist, Ricky Hernandez, was sometimes infuriating with his damned attitude too. Anyway, the ending was great and brought some tears to my eyes. This book would make such a great movie. ...more
Chris Malburg
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Knocked it out of the park!

I’m a writer researching my next project—Barbara Anne’s Slider. I just wanted some background. What you gave me was a whole lot more. What an interesting, touching piece. You taught me much and for that along with the pleasure of reading your hard work I thank you.

Shane Csik
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. It had a lot of tense moments in the book, lots of cliff hangers. Overall I like how the author wrote about the game of baseball and what kind of relationships it makes, and what challenges you have to overcome.
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Hard for me to dislike any baseball story. This was pretty good.
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Genovese
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hazelgrove brings on the heat! Brilliant. Beautifully-drawn characters. Sentiment without melodrama. And you don't have to like baseball to enjoy 'The Pitcher'. ...more
Mickie Bernier davidson
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4 Blake P
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked it and it was interesting
Kathryn Svendsen
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, teen
Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall
Amazon Bestseller List for Hispanic Fiction
Amazon Bestseller List for Baseball

No wonder this book was on these three lists! This book is a winner all around. Well-written, relevant to today’s societal issues, this book will engage sports fans and non-sports fans alike. Written with early teens as his audience, William Hazelgrove tells the story from Ricky Hernandez’ point of view.

Ricky’s dream is to be a Major League Baseball pitcher….but first he has to ma
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Pitcher is a heartwarming baseball novel about a young Mexican-American boy's dream of becoming a pitcher, a mother's unrelenting love and support, and a broken former major league pitcher who can't get past the death of his wife.

Author William Hazelgrove weaves a touching tale set in Jacksonville, Florida, and written in the first person narrative that follows the journey of fourteen year old Ricky Hernandez as he overcomes obstacles to chase his dream of becoming a pitcher on his high scho
Nov 25, 2015 rated it liked it
13 year old Ricky Hernandez loves baseball. He is determined to become a pitcher on his upcoming high school team. But he has a problem – although he pitches fast, he can't control the ball. His mom has worked with him on it, but she can't seem to figure out how Ricky can throw fast and accurate.

Across the street from Ricky and his mom lives a former professional baseball player. Jack Langford pitched in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and won the World Series and was made MVP. He's a legend of the game
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