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The Pitcher #1 Amazon Bestseller Across the Board

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014 in General News | Comments Off on The Pitcher #1 Amazon Bestseller Across the Board

#756 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Printers Row in Chicago Signing The Pitcher

Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in General News | Comments Off on Printers Row in Chicago Signing The Pitcher

William Hazelgrove will be at Printers Row 313 on Polk Street Saturday and Sunday Signing The Pitcher


The Pitcher Makes Book Club List

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in General News | Comments Off on The Pitcher Makes Book Club List

William Hazelgrove Reading The Pitcher Cliff Dwellers Saturday May 31

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in General News | Comments Off on William Hazelgrove Reading The Pitcher Cliff Dwellers Saturday May 31


No sport is more uniquely American than baseball. After all it is called our national pastime. William Hazelgrove’s recent novel, The Pitcher, relates a marvelous story of the fulfillment of the American dream amidst the balls, bats and bases found on the baseball diamond. I was somewhat hesitant, I must admit, to begin reading another “baseball as a metaphor for life” novel, but somehow The Pitcher grabbed my interest immediately and held my steadfast attention until the end.

William Hazelgrove

Hazelgrove writes a truly “feel good” story about Ricky Hernandez, a Latino teenage boy transplanted

from Chicago to Florida. His single mother, Maria, is working hard to make ends meet after divorcing from an abusive husband, who still lurks terrifyingly in the background. Maria knows that Ricky has natural talent to be a successful pitcher, yet he needs intensive coaching to assure he hone his raw hurling skills.
And who better to learn the craft of pitching from than Jack Langford, the former World Series pitching hero who just happens to live on the same block as Ricky and Maria?  We see how the reclusive and alcoholic Jack, who had been knocked down in the game of life through personal loss, picks himself up from the mat as he is transformed into a caring and loving human being by his evolving relationships with Ricky and Maria.

Although some might question that there is a little too much predictability in the story line, The Pitcher makes for a wonderful read with a true storybook ending where you feel the goose bumps and shed a few tears of joy.

Note: William Hazelgrove is the featured author at the Cliff Dwellers Book Club on Saturday, May 31 where he will discuss The Pitcher. The discussion begins at 11:00 a.m. All are welcome. The Cliff Dwellers is located at 200 S. Michigan, across the street from the Art Institute. If you plan on staying for lunch afterward, please call 312.922.8080 to make a reservation.


Richard Reeder is the author of Chicago Sketches. He teaches literature courses in the Oakton College Emeritus Program.  He created the Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series. Richard is a reviewer for the Noir Journal blog. He has his own literary blog, and serves on the board of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.

The Pitcher Takes off In Latino Fiction Top 100

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in General News | Comments Off on The Pitcher Takes off In Latino Fiction Top 100

The Pitcher has consistently been in the top 100 titles of Latino Fiction. Stories in LA Latino and other publications.

Latinos in Kids How a White Guy Wrote A Latino Novel

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in General News | Comments Off on Latinos in Kids How a White Guy Wrote A Latino Novel

The first question I get is usually: “How could you write in the voice of a thirteen year old Latino boy?” I am about as far as you can get culturally from a young adult Latino just barely hanging on with his mother. But of course, if you are a writer, you are so many people that biographers will never get it straight. It is the same way I wrote in the voice of an old African American man in Tobacco Sticks and in Mica Highways.

Voice is everything. Once you have the voice you have the novel. When I started The Pitcher, I wrote it in third person but quickly realized it would not work that way. It was boring and distant. So I started over and I knew it had to be first person, but who would tell the story? The old pitcher? The mother? No. The boy, Ricky would tell the story. And so I started to play around with his voice. Then I wrote one paragraph:

I never knew I had an arm until this guy calls out, “Hey, you want to try and get a ball in the hole, sonny?” I am only nine, but Mom says, “Come on, let’s play.” This carnival guy with no teeth and a fuming cigarette hands me five blue rubber balls and says I throw three in the hole, then we win a prize. He’s grinning, because he’s taken Mom’s five bucks and figures a sucker is born every minute. This really gets me , because we didn’t have any money after Fernando took off, and he only comes back to beat up Mom and steal our money. So I really wanted to get Mom back something, you know, for her five bucks.

And I had Ricky then. I had the novel. And where that voice came from is anyone’s guess. Maybe it is that kid who messed around in Baltimore City where I grew up. Maybe it was some of the Mexican guys I worked with in security. And the hard times Ricky and his mother go through are my own hard times. And the baseball is my son’s baseball and the coaches and parents are from nine years of being an assistant coach with my son. The immigration issues are from our time.

When I was thinking about writing The Pitcher, I was reading what was going on in Arizona at the time with immigration and the whole stop and ask people for their papers to deport them back to Mexico. When I wrote the mother character Maria I wanted her to have the same outrage that I felt reading about this practice of stopping people and demanding to see their papers. I wanted her to draw the conclusions that this was fundamentally un-American and I wanted her son Ricky to pick up on that especially since he was facing off with a Tea Party mom and her son.

I read a lot of accounts about Dream Kids in this country and how they had made their lives and then were in danger of being deported. That was really how I got the idea of making Ricky a Dream Kid. His mother did come over and make a life and now she was in danger of being deported.

Culturally, I knew Ricky because I know how it feels to be an outsider and to have all the odds stacked against you. Ricky’s dream of becoming an MLB pitcher is my own of becoming a novelist against immense odds.

Then again, maybe it was just Ricky flying around out there waiting to be born. But when The Latina Book Club made it their Monthly Selection or LatinoLA did a story on the immigration issues in the book or I stand up on a stage at the Latino Book Festival in Chicago and read my book that has to be translated to Spanish so the audience can understand what I am saying is…even I wonder how a I came to write a Latino novel.

I guess I just did.


DSC_0020William Hazelgrove is the author of five novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks, which hit the National Bestseller List, Mica Highways, Rocket Man and The Pitcher. 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. 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, and the Chicago Sun Times, among others. His most recent novel, The Pitcher is a Junior Library Guild Selection. He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic.


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