Mickey was right-handed but was a South Paw pitcher. As Lolich tells it, this singular physical attribute occurred as a result of him breaking his left collarbone in two places as a young boy. His left arm was put in a sling for weeks and his arm atrophied. He underwent extensive physical therapy on his left arm and one of the motions in therapy had him rotate his left arm up over his head. It was a perfect pitching motion. To make sure the left arm grew stronger his parents actually tied his right arm behind his back. As a kid, Mickey loved to throw things including rocks, dirt clumps, balls, and even figs. His grandfather had a fig tree and one of Mickey's favorite pastimes was to get on his grandfather's garage roof (apparently with his right arm tied behind his back) and throw figs at Portland's city buses with his left arm. It was a good 150 feet throw in order to hit a bus. Doing this day in and out developed tremendous strength in his left arm and when he started Little League ball he naturally threw left-handed. Years later a bus driver told Lolich he liked it when the figs ripened because they didn't dent the bus and could be easily washed off.
In his entire career, Lolich had one stolen base and one home run. The latter occurred in the 68 World Series. The book is filled with great stories about the game, including the stolen base and home run, and his teammates. He tells why he refused to throw at opposing batters and a hilarious story of the time Lolich went shopping in Macy's with Bill Freehan, the Tiger's catcher, who walked into the lingerie department and asked the stunned and outraged clerk if he could buy some "falsies."
When you went to Tiger's Stadium and Mickey Lolich was on the mound the experience was always worth every dime you paid for the ticket. The same can be said for this book.
Joy in Tigertown: A Determined Team, a Resilient City, and Our Magical Run to the 1968 World Series, by Mickey Lolich with Tom Gage. Triumph Books, 2018, $19.95
This reviewer was surprised by the total absence of swearing, vulgarity, or even the hint of sex, let alone sexual tension. Some readers, I am sure, will appreciate the absence of all the above. For a murder mystery, the book is even light on violence of which there is one brief scene. With all the missed typos and the jarringly inadvertent dropping of articles preceding a word, the book could have used a more thorough proofreader.
Admittedly, this is not my favorite mystery sub-genre. The murder of the dead equestrian is satisfactorily solved while the question of which man Emily will choose is obvious from the first fluttering heartbeat. Those elements of the plotline were, for me, always secondary to the description of life in a Michigan small town, the rebuilding of Emily's relationship with her father, and the questions concerning her mother's death. This is an involving mystery that's short on violence and long on character development and setting.
The Coroner by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush. Crooked Lane, 2018, $26.99
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