Monday, April 15, 2019

Review of "Southpaw Speed," by Joe Archibald

Review of
Southpaw Speed, by Joe Archibald

Four out of five stars
 Like many books of adolescent sports fiction written in the sixties, this one has a deep moral and the sports star has no interest in girls. In fact, his mother is the only significant female character in the entire book.
 Billy Wade has been throwing a ball very fast since he was nine years old and in high school his ego has grown out of proportion to his emotional maturity. He was extremely successful in youth league baseball and he is convinced that it is transferable to pro baseball all the way up to the major leagues. His father and a public relations man feed his ego and overgrown belief in his abilities, leading to Billy’s having trouble in making friends when he enters pro baseball. He believes that he can throw a ball past all hitters and there is no need to let up or put a bend in the pitch.
 When he injures his arm, Billy is devastated and on the verge of quitting baseball. However, he realizes that the game is now in his blood and with his virtual tail between his legs, he goes back and asks for another chance, he is now willing to learn other pitches. Billy becomes a short stint relief pitcher, which allows him to throw hard, but only for short spurts.
 The lesson of the book is clear, veterans are to be listened to rather than laughed at. Once Billy learns that and accepts his teachers and his role on the team, he is someone that is easy to like and now even his teammates are rooting for him to make it in the major leagues. A simple lesson, but one that parents that push their children should pay attention to as well.

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