Joe Castle could very well have been the next Chicago Cubs legend. He might have been right up there with names like Ernie Banks, Gabby Hartnett, and Hack Wilson. Unfortunately, he has two things going against him: his career was ended prematurely by one nasty pitch, and also, he never actually existed. He is an invention of John Grisham in his latest novel, Calico Joe. Inserted among very real players of the early 1970s like Ron Santo and Don Kessinger, Joe Castle is the putative savior of the ever-faltering Cubs, going on an unprecedented tear after bring called up from the minor leagues midway through the 1973 season. He hits three home runs in his first three Major League at-bats and is an unstoppable force throughout July and August, pushing the Cubs into a pennant race with the New York Mets. His instant success rubs struggling Mets pitcher Warren Tracey (also a Grisham invention) the wrong way, and the confrontation between these two ballplayers is at the center of this novel. Told from the perspective of Tracey's now-adult son, Grisham blends baseball history with themes of family, regret and forgiveness in this brief but satisfying book.
Submitted by Brett @ Central