Top Amazon Reviewer Charles Ashbacher Five Star Review of The Pitcher

Jul 31, 2013 by

While the theme is about baseball, the story is about life, the struggles, major setbacks that we all face and then being able to triumph and emerge victorious. Hazelgrove is an excellent writer, he uses situations to evoke powerful emotions in the reader, and you find yourself rooting for the characters while at times you want to give them a virtual slap in the face and yell, “Get your head out!” Ricky is a Hispanic boy growing up in Chicago and while he is otherwise nondescript, he has a whip for a pitching arm. Ricky lives with his mother (Maria) and they are struggling financially, his father (Fernando) only comes around when he wants money. Fernando is also a violent man that does not hesitate to punch Maria or Ricky. Never having had a coach or any other training, Ricky has no idea how to pitch; he has the raw talent but does not know how to properly channel it. Ricky also has inherited his temper from his parents, he is easily rattled while he is pitching and his opponents know this and use it against him. Jack Langford (the Pitcher) lives close to Ricky and he was the World Series hero in 1978, pitching his team to victory. After his wife died, Jack collapsed and now all he does is sit in his garage, drinking beer, smoking, dipping Skoal and watching baseball on television. Ricky’s mother is a very determined woman that has no fear of anyone so she goes over and asks the Pitcher if he will coach Ricky. She is not a person that it is easy to say no too, so the Pitcher agrees. The path after this is strewn with many virtual pieces of flesh as Jack seems unable to rise above his chosen path of very slow self-destruction. There are times when it appears that he is going to channel his winning talents to Ricky, turning him into a true pitcher while helping Maria overcome her difficulties as well. The writing is so good that the reader is emotionally grabbed and truly cares what happens to Jack, Ricky and Maria. There are some passages that are so good that I reread them two or three times just to savor the intensity of the feelings, not all of them good, that reading those segments generated. (I reread a few of them while writing this review.” This is a sports book that could be placed in the romance section and outperform many books that have “romance” on the cover.

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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. [read more...]

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