Calico Joe is the story of a flash in the pan rookie on the 1973 Cubs named Joe Castle and how his life intersects with the story's narrator, Paul Tracey, the son of a Mets pitcher. Thirty years later, Paul looks to bring some closure to an incident involving Joe and Paul's dad. It's a very well-told story and it was a very quick read. It's also a fairly short novel, only 198 pages.
Though fiction, Grisham works in many details of the actual 1973 Cubs. Cubs shortstop Don Kessinger is mentioned several times, and he actually read an early draft of the book and gave Grisham some help in making the story more accurate.
Other '73 Cubs with a mention include Jim Hickman, manager Whitey Lockman, Fergie Jenkins and Rick Reuschel.
When Joe Castle broke in with the Cubs, they were on the road and he was given #42. Once they got back home, he was give a more normal number, #15. (I used the picture of a fairly unknown Cub of the era as a stand-in for Joe Castle.)
The only problem I have with the book is the cover, and I'm sure Grisham had nothing to do with it. A modern picture of Wrigley Field was used.
But then some know-it-all editor probably said that in 1973 Wrigley didn't have lights. The lights were removed. Of course, in 1973 there weren't rooftop bleachers, ads on the bleacher doors, expanded bleachers, or a batters eye suite in center field.
Forget the cover and read the book. You won't be disappointed (unless you're a Cubs fan....but then if you're a Cub fan you're used to disappointment!).