Thursday, October 17, 2013

"The Pitcher," by William Hazelgrove

The Pitcher, by William Hazelgrove

"I've read many baseball novels throughout the years from Harold M. Sherman's books written in the 1930s, the TAB Books of the 1950s, like "The Kid Who Batted 1.000" and the many books of John R. Tunis, up through my adult years with books such as "The Natural," and the Crabbe Evers series and the excellent mysteries of Troy Soos. Many of these, and others, are quite decent, if not, excellent baseball novels. But none of these ever came close to leaving me with the intense sense of wonder that I felt after, and while, reading Mr. Hazelgrove's, "The Pitcher." The son's ambitions and hopes combined with his mother's support are what the book is all about. But, throw in a down-at-the-heels, former star player, and the book becomes one that should be read slowly, and savored, in order to enjoy every nuance of the plot. This book is magical." -- Amazon reviewer

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This Junior Library Guild Selection is a classic story of baseball, the price of dreams, and the lessons of life. A mythic baseball story about a broken down World Series Pitcher is mourning over the death of his wife and an underprivileged Mexican-American boy who lives across the street and wants to learn to pitch. This is a mainstream contemporary novel about dreams lost and found. In the great tradition of books like, The Natural. This is a novel with the mythic themes, readability, and appeal to be a mainstream bestseller.

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Meet the Author

William Elliott Hazelgrove is the best-selling author of five novels: Ripples, Tobacco Sticks, Mica Highways, Rocket Man and the Pitcher. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway's birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man was chosen Book of the Year by Books and He has been the subject of interviews in NPR's All Things Considered along with features in The New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Richmond Times Dispatch, USA Today, People, Channel 11, NBC, WBEZ, WGN.

His most recent novel, The Pitcher is a Junior Library Guild Selection and was chosen Book of the Year by Books and Authors. net. His next book OneUp will be out Spring 2014 with Merit Press. A follow up novel Real Santa will be out fall of 2014. He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway's Attic.

Author's Own Words

Born in Richmond, Virginia, and carted back and forth between Virginia and Baltimore, I blame my rootless, restless personality on my father. He was and is a traveling salesman with a keen gift of gab, great wit, a ready joke, and could sell white tennis shoes to coal miners.

It was during these sojourns up and down the east coast I soaked up the stories that would later be Tobacco Sticks and Mica Highways. I think authors should exploit their family history before raping the rest of the culture for material.

Dad finally got tired of the east and moved to the Midwest when I was fourteen. We settled outside of Chicago. It is here I came of age and went off to college for seven years -- two degrees and one novel later I returned to Chicago and lived in many different apartments, trying to get a little two hundred page manuscript called Ripples published.

When a local printer said he would take a chance on my book, I jumped and had my first novel published by a man who had never published anything. Great reviews and moderate sales put me back to my jobs as a janitor, baker, waiter, construction worker, teacher, real estate tycoon, mortgage broker, professor, security guard, salesman -- anything to make a buck and keep writing. The printer lost his mind and published my second novel, too. That landed me with Bantam after some rave reviews and a paperback auction for my second novel, Tobacco Sticks.

A third novel, Mica Highways, was sold on less than one hundred and fifty pages to Bantam and then I did a strange thing -- I settled down to writing in Ernest Hemingway's birthplace in Oak Park, Illinois. I have since been looking for the Great American Novel up in the old red oak rafters and I think I might have finally found one.... My new novel, Rocket Man, is an exploration of what the American Dream means today. A man moves to the suburbs and his life falls apart in one week. It is a satire but with events now, it seems very timely.

A fifth novel, The Pitcher, came out in September 2013. The story of a boy with an incredible arm but no way to make the high school team. When an old World Series pitcher agrees to coach him, he finds that a dream is sometimes all you have.

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