The Legend of Mickey Tussler

The Legend of Mickey Tussler (Mickey Tussler #1) by Frank Nappi




In 1948, Arthur Murphy, manager of the minor league baseball team the Milwaukee Brewers, has been sent out on the road to find some new talent. When he comes across 17 year old Mickey Tussler throwing crab apples into a barrel with fantastic speed and accuracy, he believes he has found the man. He quickly realizes that while Mickey might have the best arm he has seen in all his years of baseball, Mickey’s not quite like everyone else. Murph‘s not worried though. He thinks that Mickey’s ability with pitching will overcome any obstacles that will be put in the way.



Mickey Tussler has not had an easy life. Mildly autistic, Mickey has always been a bitter disappointment to his father. His ability to throw has opened up an incredible opportunity for Mickey with the farm team. He’s unease around the other players is slowly overcome as  most members of the team slowly accept him. Pee Wee, a teammate of Mickey, befriends Mickey. He understands the hardships of beings different as his sister is deaf and has always faced challenges and prejudices due to her inability to hear and speak.



As the season progresses the team slowly comes together. Most of the players realize that Mickey is a main part of why they are winning and are coming to accept his oddities. One man on the team though is angry. Angry and jealous. Lefty thinks of himself first, last and always. A good pitcher in his own right, Lefty believes he is better than Mickey and the rest of the team. He thinks Mickey shouldn’t be playing and is willing to do whatever it takes to get him off the team.



This is a moving account of life in the late 1940’s after the war, a boy’s coming of age, a boy overcoming tremendous obstacles to become accepted in the everyday world and a well written account of the hardships and joys of baseball.



A wonderful cast of characters which include Mickey, pitcher extraordinaire but due to his autism an odd duck; Pee Wee, fellow baseball player, a caring and accepting man; Lefty, unable to see anything or anyone but himself; and several other interesting people.



The story has a nice even tempo. It starts to pick up pace as the Brewers get closer and closer to the end of the season and a chance at the playoffs. The baseball scenes are well written and give you the feeling of being there in the stands, in the dugout and on the pitching mound. Touches of humor, conflict and friendship keep the story from being flat.
The ending however fell flat for me. I just didn’t feel it was keeping with the rest of the book. It almost felt like it was tacked on simply to end the story.



All in all, a great story that will appeal to many people. This isn’t just for baseball fans, it would also appeal to anyone who likes a great people story or for anyone who likes to see the underdog come out ahead. I do look forward to reading Sophomore Campaign which is the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler.




I received my copy of The Legend of Mickey Tussler from the author in exchange for my honest review.