The Pitcher

General Fiction, Young Adult

By William Hazelgrove

Publisher : Koehler Books

ABOUT William Hazelgrove

William Hazelgrove
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.




“I never knew I had an arm until this guy called out, “Hey you want to try and get a ball in the hole, sonny?” I was only nine, but mom said, “come on, let’s play.” This Carney guy with no teeth and a fuming cigarette hands me five blue rubber balls and says if I throw three in the hole we win a prize. He’s grinning, because he took mom’s five bucks and figures a sucker is born every minute. That really got 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.”

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 the tradition of The Natural and The Field of Dreams, this is a mythic story about how a man and a boy meet in the crossroads of their life and find a way to go on. You will laugh and you will cry as The Pitcher and Ricky prepare for the ultimate try out of life.

My mother in law told me an old pitcher lived across the street from her in Florida. One night my son and I went out there to play in the street. I could see the old pitcher by his ankles with his garage up a quarter of the way. This went on for three nights and then on the fourth night he came out and watched my son pitch. He then gave my son his philosphy of pitching and went back into his garage. I found out later he had won the World Series in 1968. That's how I thought of The Pitcher, the story of a Mexican American boy and and a pitcher at the end of his career who coaches the boy to make the highschool team.

"American fiction is not dead...Hazelgrove has skillfully revived it."

                                                                                           Library Journal