by Frank Nappi
published by Sky Horse
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: Historical Fiction, A to Z, 100 Books in a Year
Frank Nappi has done it again! Just like The Legend of Mickey Tussler, Sophomore Campaign combines baseball with tough issues to create a home run.
After the rollercoaster ride that was the 1948 season for the minor league Milwaulkee Brewers, Arthur Murphy is not quite sure what is in store for him. His girlfriend, Molly, has declared that her autistic son Mickey will not be returning to the team, but his contract for the 1949 season hinges on Mickey returning. Once Molly realizes that baseball is in Mickey's blood, she relents on the condition that if Mickey ever wants to quit, Murph will let him. Happy to have his team back, Murph starts spring training, only to learn that there is something wrong with his team captain and star player, Boxcar. Boxcar refuses to admit anything is wrong or see a doctor, but Murph knows that he must find a good back-up, and he does in Lester Sledge. However, Lester is African-American, and even though Jackie Robinson has made his professional debut, that type of cosmapolitan thinking has not made its way to Wisconsin where Klan activity has recently resurfaced. Can Murph keep his team together - and keep his job - in the face of all this adversity?
Sophomore Campaign is a wonderful follow-up to The Legend of Mickey Tussler and does not suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump. Nappi's writing easily transports the reader back to what seems to a be more simpler time until you really get there. And with adding in issues such as autism, racism, and debilitating illness, Nappi brings to light the real mid-20th century. Sophomore Campaign is filled with memorable characters and a story that will stay with the reader long after.
Frank Nappi has definitely hit his stride with Sophomore Campaign. Hopefully, he has more in store for Murph and Mickey.