In the late 1940s, the minor league Milwaukee Brewers are foundering yet again and manager Arthur Murphy is desperate. When he sees seventeen-year old Mickey Tussler throwing apples into a barrel, he knows he has found the next pitching phenom. But not everyone is so hopeful. Mickey’s autism—a disorder still not truly understood even today—has alienated the boy from the world, and he is berated by other players and fans. Mickey faces immense trials in the harsh and competitive world of baseball while coping with the challenges inherent to his disorder. An honest and knowledgeable book about overcoming adversity, and the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes, Mickey’s powerful story shows that with support and determination anyone can be triumphant, even when the odds are stacked against him.
Nappi (Echoes from the Infantry) has produced a knowledgeable yet unsentimental book starring an autistic teenager with a fearsome fastball. Milwaukee Brewer's manager Arthur Murphy recruits 17-year-old farm boy Mickey Tussler as a pitcher for his team. And though Mickey's slowness enrages his impossibly cruel father (who abuses his wife and derides Mickey as a \x93retard\x94), the boy's dad is happy to collect his son's pro baseball salary. In short order, Mickey achieves local stardom despite his mental disability and his teammates' clubhouse pranks. Lefty Rogers, the Brewers' southpaw ace, resents Mickey's triumphs on the mound and plots to sabotage his rival's budding career. At the same time, Murphy romances Mickey's much-abused mother and leads his resurging team in a hot pennant race. The writing is clear and direct, and there's no confusing who's a good guy and who's a bad guy. The baseball elements really sing; baseball fans will find much to appreciate, while the sports treatment of triumphing over adversity adds crossover appeal to the YA market.