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"Jaime came out swinging. He began with the argument that had brought an objection in his opening statement.
“It may be a kid’s game, but it is played by adults who are armed with a potentially deadly weapon. I ask you to listen to the judge’s description of the definition of a deadly weapon because you have the right to draw a conclusion that by using a deadly weapon, the defendant Charles’ purpose was to cause serious bodily injury resulting in death. Pass the ball around again and imagine the impact that would cause at 95mph at just 60 feet away, and you will have no question in your minds that it qualifies as a deadly weapon
Jaime Brooks, lead prosecutor, in his summation to the jury"
A Pitch for Justice - Harold Kasselman
"Phillies manager Buck Sawyer to his team calling for retaliation
“Men,” he began, “you know I’m old school, and I’m proud of it. There are certain basic rules that still remain a part of baseball. One of them is that you gotta protect your own if they’re thrown at, or when somebody takes out one of us on a dirty play. We have to play hardball, and that means playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played. We need to respect each other enough so that we do what is necessary to protect our baseball family.
We lost our all-star second baseman for several weeks because of a purpose pitch that was thrown without any provocation from us. Today, we blew an opportunity to respond in kind with Wynne at the plate. Sometimes paybacks are a bitch, but we must send the Mets a message that we aren’t going to turn the other cheek. I want to read a line from Joe Garagiola’s book, Baseball is a Funny Game.
Garagiola said, ‘Baseball is a game played by human beings and governed by unwritten laws of survival and self-preservation

A PITCH FOR JUSTICE: A unique legal thriller

Phillies' rookie pitcher Tim Charles anguishes over his manager's order to retaliate against a Mets' batter for the team's honor. He throws a high inside pitch that crashes off the batter's head, but no one can foresee the unthinkable consequences.

   Tim becomes the target of a grand jury investigation for murder when an avenging widow pressures officials to prosecute. A baseball feud between the Mets and the Phillies ignites into a shocking and suspenseful criminal drama played out in the courts.
   Veteran prosecutor Jaime Brooks faces his toughest challenge when he collides with Tim's defense team in this unchartered task. Brooks confronts a possible criminal conspiracy among team members, an uncompromising widow hell bent on getting justice at any cost, corruption in the grand jury, and a national furor over the inherent risks of baseball versus the accountability of its players to society's laws.
   Not only is Tim Charles on trial for his life, but the very nature of baseball is at stake as the jury views and hears the emotional evidence.

The Pitcher by Wm. Hazelgrove

I am blown away by this novel. It gave me more chills than "The Field Of Dreams" and "The Natural" combined. I choked up more times reading this, soon to be classic tale, than a team that leaves 11 men on base during a game. I kid you not; it's that moving.
  This is much more than a story of the love of a game, or a mother's dream for her child. This is a perfectly crafted piece of literary fiction that is relevant to contemporary issues of the day.
  You will come to respect and admire Maria and her son Ricky. If you're like me, you will be fascinated by the Pitcher Jack Langford. All I could see when I read about him was Clint Eastwood (about 25 years younger). You'll love his evolution and root for him as well as Maria and Ricky. If this isn't made into a movie, Hollywood is missing out on a potential blockbuster as big or bigger than "Sandlot" or "The Natural".
  It weaves in hot button issues like illegal immigration, health care, and domestic violence in a way that isn't preachy or over the top. It is sentimental but not maudlin.
  These issues and the dream of a mother and child to have "their moment to shine" is brilliantly done in a manner that is at times humorous, tension filled, and totally satisfying. The last 25 % of the book will have you in angst as the the twists of the story unfold into a totally fulfilling conclusion.
  This novel is a must read for men and women of all ages. I just can't put into words how impressive this book is, but I have no doubt that this future best seller is Mr. Hazelgrove's
"moment to shine".

The unwritten rules of baseball by Paul Dickson

I read this back in August of 2010. It is an exhaustive compilation of all those unwritten mores that exist in baseball that on occasion lead to dugouts emptying or "purpose pitches". I found it humorous but filled with the history of these customs that have been passed down from generations to today. Think Zach Greinke and Carlos Quentin or Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper.
This is a must read for baseball fans and those who enjoy the history of the game

Tampa Bay Book review of A Pitch For Justice

Sarasota author delivers purpose pitch

Posted Apr 15, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Apr 15, 2012 at 09:44 PM

Pitching high and tight is a dangerous, yet acceptable part of baseball. Pitchers like Sal Maglie, Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson made their living off chin music, reasoning that fear and intimidation could tip the balance in their favor.

But what if the unthinkable happens and a “purpose pitch” causes a batter’s death?

It has happened before. On Aug. 16, 1920, Ray Chapman of the Indians was hit in the head by Yankees pitcher Carl Mays and died the next day from a severe skull fracture. Mays voluntarily turned himself in to the police, and even though he had a reputation as a headhunter, he was quickly exonerated of all blame.

“I’ve always been haunted by Carl Mays and Ray Chapman,” Sarasota-based author Harold Kasselman said.

If that incident happened now in today’s litigation-happy society, would criminal charges be filed? Would there be a trial? Would it be prosecuted as manslaughter or as a homicide? And what would be the verdict?

“The verdict would come down to a value judgment as to whether the pitch was worthy of condemnation in a criminal court,” Kasselman writes in “A Pitch For Justice,” a thought-provoking novel that combines baseball and legal themes. It is available as an e-book for $2.99 on Amazon.com.

Kasselman, 67, is a lifetime Phillies fan who “cried like a baby” when Philadelphia beat the Rays in the 2008 World Series. He came up with the idea for “A Pitch For Justice” while watching a testy game between the Phils and the New York Mets.

“I was like a man possessed,” Kasselman said from his Sarasota home. “I’m not a writer, not in a million years.

“I sat down and it all came out.”

He wrote his original draft in three months, and then revised it by putting in another subplot just before publication.

Kasselman is no novice to the legal system. For 30 years, he worked for the Camden County (N.J.) prosecutor’s office, spending his final eight years as deputy first assistant prosecutor until he retired from the post in October 2004. He then worked in a private practice until retiring in 2010. Since 2005, he and his wife Robin have spent their winters in Sarasota.

“A Pitch For Justice” is the story of Tim Charles, a Sarasota-born pitcher with pinpoint control and even more sharply defined, high moral values. Charles begins the 2015 season in the majors as a rookie with the Philadelphia Phillies. In a key, late-season series against the New York Mets, the 6-foot-6, 210-pounder is thrust into an uncomfortable position by his tough, old-school manager, Buck Sawyer.

The Phillies and Mets have been having a contentious three-game series, with knockdown pitches and spike-flashing slides. Sawyer wants retribution and tells Charles to deliver the message during a Sunday night game that was being televised nationally by ESPN.

Mets sparkplug Kenny Leyton is the victim. He squares to bunt with two runners on base in the sixth inning, but Charles comes inside and hits him in the head with a 95 mph fastball. Leyton apparently froze as the pitch was delivered, and Charles reacts with dismay and tells the umpire that he did not mean to hit the batter.

Leyton is taken to the hospital and later sent home, apparently with nothing more serious than a concussion. But the incident sparks debate in the sports talk show community and poses this question:

Does that intentional beaning, even if it is part of baseball’s unwritten code, rise to the level of criminality?

That answer comes swiftly enough, as Leyton’s condition deteriorates and he dies from swelling of the brain shortly after returning home. For the first time, the question of prosecution becomes real.

That’s where “A Pitch For Justice” takes off. Kasselman uses his legal expertise to take the reader through the grand jury process, with prosecutor Jaime Brooks assuming the lead role.  It’s a fascinating read, and if you’ve ever wondered how a grand jury works, this is a good way to find out.

Kasselman introduces some interesting characters, including Brooks, a prosecutor who envisions a career someday as a singer in a piano bar; Theresa Leyton, the widow of the Mets player who pushes the prosecution and contemplates taking matters into her own hands; Barbara Jay, a dismissed grand juror who becomes the romantic interest; and Chris Meyer, a corrupt grand juror who will play an interesting role as the novel steams to its conclusion.

Sawyer is a cantankerous character who cannot believe he is even in court. During one memorable exchange, he opts to “take the Fifth Commandment,” to the amusement of the lawyers and the courtroom audience.

“That actually happened in court, but not by a baseball player,” Kasselman laughed.

Sawyer reminded me of Dallas Green, who led the Phillies to their first World Series title in 1980, but Kasselman said the character was mostly a composite of managers from the 1930s era.

Kasselman is a lifetime Phillies fan, who idolized pitcher Robin Roberts and saw his first game at Shibe Park in 1951, a doubleheader against the Pirates (the Phils won both games that day  — June 3 — 11-2 and 8-3).

“I saw Ralph Kiner that day. I loved it. When I saw that green field, I was in heaven,” Kasselman said.

While taking his father to a World Series game in 1980 was a big thrill, Kasselman said his biggest baseball thrill was meeting members of the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 at the Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia.

Back to the book. The romantic subplot between Jaime and Barbara is a good diversion from the legal battles in the courtroom, and Kasselman writes it in a sly, winking style. He switches sports metaphors in one passage, writing that “after some heavy-duty breathing on the couch, just shy of the goal posts, Jamie headed back home ...”

I have to admit I had a good laugh out of that line.

“I still fantasize that George Clooney will play Jaime Brooks in the film of the book,” Kasselman said.

And who plays the Barbara Jay role?

“Maybe Jennifer Aniston. When I sign over the movie rights, I’ll let them worry about it,” he laughed.

It’s hard not to have sympathy for Charles, who exudes a wholesome, Tim Tebow-like quality. And surprisingly, it is easy not to have sympathy for Theresa Leyton, whose outbursts during the trial and inflammatory comments to the media make the widow a very abrasive character.

“You do come across a true believer and it’s understandable,” Kasselman said. “Where they are totally inflexible.”

So how does the book end? Is there a conviction? Is a legal precedent set?

Sorry, I am taking the Fifth Commandment on that one. You will have to buy the book to find out. The ending might surprise yo

- See more at: http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/sports/comments/sarasota-author-delivers-purpose-pitch#sthash.DNRPQPEv.dpuf

Williamsport Sun-Gazette review of A Pitch For Justice

On the Bookshelf

Readers enjoy books about baseball, spies

December 20, 2012
Williamsport Sun-Gazette
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At the Sun-Gazette, staff members tend to read. A lot. So we thought we would share what we're reading and let you know how they fare.

Submissions from the community also are encouraged and may be mailed to the Lifestyle Department, 252 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701 or emailed to life@sungazette.com.

We also are interested in what you want us to read and review; just send us an email or give us a call at 326-1551, ext. 3108.

Reader: Mike Reuther, political and business reporter.

What I read: "A Pitch for Justice" by Harold Kasselman

Synopsis: A young Major League pitcher faces possible consequences for unleashing a fatal pitch that kills an opposing player.

Stats: Amazon Digital Services Inc., 325 pages.

What I thought: What would happen if a Major League pitcher threw a ball that struck and killed an opposing player?

Should the pitcher face trial? What criminal charges would he face?

Author Harold Kasselman, a former prosecutor and defense attorney, decided to put together a legal thriller that explores these questions.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Tim Charles is the ballplayer who throws the pitch that kills a New York Mets player.

Jaime Brooks is the somewhat reluctant prosecuting attorney who agrees to take on the case.

He's a big baseball fan and is very much aware that the unwritten baseball code of pitchers throwing at hitters - without necessarily trying to hit them - has long been part of the game.

The author does a nice job introducing the story and the events that lead up to the fatal pitch.

There's bad blood between the Phillies and the Mets, and the task of sending a message to the Mets falls to Charles.

The young hurler is a big talent, capable of throwing a ball 100 mph.

He has never thrown his overpowering fastball at hitters.

But in this case, what actually happened?

That's the big question in this story.

Much of the novel is played out in the courtroom prior to and during the ultimate trial.

Kasselman knows the legal world well.

Beyond that, the characters are believable, especially Brooks, a divorced veteran lawyer thinking of retirement who finds himself falling in love once again.

The Phils manager, a no-nonsense, old-school, hard-drinking sort, is facing trial along with Charles for apparently giving the go ahead for the fatal pitch.

There's the victim's angry widow determined to see justice done, no matter the costs.

The author breathes life into a story that explores some difficult questions while not getting bogged down in too much incomprehensible legalese.

Readers of "A Pitch for Justice" will likely share my experience as they near the end of this story: Clicking away the pages of their e-reading devices to find out if Charles will be convicted or acquitted

Marilou George, Confessionsofareader.com Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Justice vs. Vengeance, January 23, 2013
By The Kindle Book Review (Indianapolis, IN) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: A Pitch for Justice (Kindle Edition)
Author Harold Kasselman has given us a uniquely realistic story of the ramifications that could result from a baseball pitch hitting a batter in the head and ultimately resulting in the death of the batter. Is this a situation that should be handled by the Commissioner of Baseball or is it one that should be treated as a crime and brought before a Grand Jury?

The rivalry between the Phillies and the Mets is palpable and retaliation is the name of the game. Rookie pitcher Tim Charles is embroiled in a conspiracy endorsed by manager Buck Sawyer to throw a pitch to intimidate and hit second baseman for the Mets Kenny Leyton. The pitch hits Leyton in the head and he drops to the ground. He suffers a concussion and against doctor's orders goes home to rest. The next day he is having great difficulty and is rushed to the emergency room where he subsequently dies from his injuries. Leyton's Widow Theresa masks her grief behind anger and vengeance and is determined to get justice for her husband's death no matter what the cost.

This book brings to the surface the competitive nature of baseball and the lengths that players are expected to go to in order to be competitive and support the players on their team. Does the fact that this type of retaliation has always been part of the game make it acceptable?

This is not just a book about baseball; it is also about the morals and values of those in the game and the inner workings of the legal system in their quest for justice. The process of the Grand Jury deciding to prosecute and the inner workings of this process as well as the trial that ensues are riveting and informative. You have a glimpse into the inner workings of the legal system and the compromises and deals that are made before a case gets to trial.

The characters of Tim Charles the pitcher, Buck Sawyer the team manager and Jamie Brooks the prosecutor and an avid baseball fan are extremely well-developed. They successfully draw you into their lives as the drama and intensity of the legal issues bring them together.

This is a very realistic story written with knowledge and depth. The Author's background as an attorney is evident as he leads the reader through the court system with intelligence and ease. The style of writing is easy to follow, filled with interesting characters and portrays the inner working of the legal system with great fascination.
By: Marilou George The Kindle Book Review

The Guy who writes sports blogs by Lance Smith

 May 16, 2013

Review - A Pitch for Justice by Harold Kasselman

A good mix of baseball and the legal system makes this book a winner.

Title/Author: “A Pitch for Justice” by Harold Kasselman

Genre: Fiction, sports, baseball, courtroom, murder    

Published: February 20, 2012

Length: 326 pages

Rating:  4 1/2 of 5 stars – very good


An intense rivalry between two Major League Baseball teams is boiling over.  The action on the field is getting nastier as runners are sliding with their spikes up and pitchers are throwing closer to hitters.   When one of these pitches strikes a batter in the head and the batter subsequently dies two days later, which laws should be enforced – the laws of baseball, that would state this is part of the game and it was a tragic accident, or the laws of the state, and this was a criminal act that resulted in the death of a human being?

That question is addressed in this novel that is one part baseball story, one part legal drama, a bit of gang crime and a sprinkling of romance as well.  Harold Kasselman combined all of these elements to produce a very interesting and well-researched novel.

The baseball part is well-researched and written.  The author shows his knowledge of not only baseball history, but also of the strategy, the dynamics of teams when placed in tough spots, and also the workings of the front office.    There are the fictional players on the current Phillies and Mets teams (“current” means 2015, when the story takes place), but they are interwoven well with real baseball personnel.  An example is when the current Phillies manager replaced the retired Charlie Manuel.

There is precedence to this, as one player, Ray Chapman, was killed as a result of action on the field in 1920.  There is an extensive section describing this event as part of the build-up to charge Phillies pitcher Tim Charles with murder when Ken Leyton of the Mets suffers a brain hemorrhage and subsequently passes away after being hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Charles.   The bad feelings and brawls that led to the incident are wonderfully painted by Kasselbaum.  The reader will feel like he or she is on the field, in the dugout and in the clubhouse during these scenes.

The legal parts of the story are written just as well.  Kasselbaum’s experience in the courtroom is evident in the excellent writing here.  Details of the judicial events are described in a manner that the reader will understand and enjoy.  These include a grand jury trial, a surprise switch of prosecutors for the trial and the reasons why, and the interactions that take place in these proceedings.  The reader also is a part of the conversations that take place between clients and lawyers. 

A lot of the actions on the part of the prosecuter are not pleasing the widow of the deceased player.  Theresa Leyton’s character is a fascinating person to follow in this book as she gradually becomes more unstable in her quest to secure justice for her husband’s death.  Equally compelling is the character of Tim Charles, who at 20 is seeing his world crumbling before him. 

I will not spoil the story and give away any results, but I can say that both sides of this issue were presented in a balanced way.  It was so balanced that I never was leaning one way or the other how the story would end.  For a book like this, that was perfect.   It was a very good read.

Did I skim?


Did I feel connected to the characters? 

Yes.  The character to whom I was most connected was Tim Charles.  His overwhelming sadness when Ken Leyton was taken off the field and his fear during the arraignment and trial was described vividly.   All the other characters were portrayed realistically as well.   There were only two characters who seemed to be overly dramatic.   These were Meyer, the rogue grand jury member who was living a life of crime, and Theresa Leyton, who went from grieving widow to a very angry woman bent on revenge as the book progressed.  Even with these two characters, however, I could understand their gradual changes, especially Mrs. Leyton. 

Pace of the story:

Excellent – even during the pre-trial and grand jury proceedings, the reader is engrossed in the dialogue and characters.


There were many, as described in the review.  I enjoyed the three game series between the Phillies and the Mets as not only was the baseball action exciting, I felt like I was in the Phillies clubhouse as they were planning how they were going to even the score with the Mets – and it had nothing to do with how many runs were scored.


Personally, I felt that the romance between the district attorney Jamie and Barbara, a member of the grand jury who had to be excused because she didn’t live in the district, was not really necessary.  I understand why it was included, and it may appeal to many readers.   I just felt it was simply included for a diversion.  It was a typical romance that many books include, however, and was tastefully written.

Do I recommend?  Yes.  Not only will sports fans enjoy this book, readers who like legal stories will be engrossed as well.

Book Format Read: ebook (Kindle)

Author Media Links:


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Published on May 17, 2013 06:11         • 37 views         • Tags:           baseball, legal

Is Violence a necessary ingredient of sports?

Is violence a necessary part of sports?    

      The Dodgers found themselves in yet another baseball scrum last night; this time it was the divisional leading Arizona Diamondbacks. And yes Zach Greinke was front and center once again
It started when the Dodgers' star rookie, Yasiel Puig, was hit in the face by a pitch in the sixth, which led to the Dodgers and pitcher Zack Greinke to retaliate in the seventh by hitting Miguel Montero. But when Ian Kennedy sent one toward Greinke's head in the seventh, all hell broke lose with a benches-clearing brawl, and Puig was right in the middle of it.   The problem, with the attitude that this is just boys playing out the tradition of the unwritten rules of baseball, is that someone will be seriously hurt or a career will be ended.   The exception to the unwritten code of retaliation is that "purpose pitches" are not to be thrown at the neck or above. In this game Puig was hit in the face and Greinke was hit in the head.   Someone needs to grow up and realize that a baseball can be a deadly weapon even if it is not intentionally thrown at the head with a purpose to hit the head. Just trying to intimidate can lead to a recklessly caused injury.    Two lesser things came out of last night's game. One the Dodgers won. Secondly with Mattingly going all out for his players yesterday by mixing it up with Alan Trammel, he has probably saved his job for the rest of the year.   If you would like to read a novel that depicts how far escalation can go in an MLB game, read A PITCH FOR JUSTICE. The criminal justice system gets involved to make a pitcher accountable for a tragedy on the field. http://www.amazon.com/A-Pitch-for-Jus...
Also read the below well argued dilemma for sports fans on whether violence is just an acceptable part of the game. http://www.cortezjournal.com/article/...

Art imitating Life

In an article dated October 9, 2013 and linked below,the General Manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks allegedly said some astounding things about the need for his players to retaliate against the other team if an Arizona player gets hit by a pitch. Most understand that it is an unwritten rule of baseball but this was said publicly, according to the article. What he allegedly said, could open himself up to suspensions in baseball and civil liability or conceivably even more if an opponent is seriously injured in the future in my opinion. He talks about an eye for an eye. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/18...
  GM Kevin Towers is quoted as saying:
"You'd think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about it that at we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently. Probably a week later Goldy gets dinged, and no retaliation. It's like 'wait a minute.'

Not that I don't take any of our guys from a lesser standpoint, but if Goldy's getting hit, it's an eye for an eye, somebody's going down or somebody's going to get jackknifed."
  He later says that if any of his players are uncomfortable with that philosophy, they don't belong on the team.
  This sounds like a promo for my novel which is based on the substance of what Towers allegedly called for just as my fictitious manager does in A Pitch For Justice

The Unwritten Rules of baseball

I read this back in August of 2010. It is an exhaustive compilation of all those unwritten mores that exist in baseball that on occasion lead to dugouts emptying or "purpose pitches". I found it humorous but filled with the history of these customs that have been passed down from generations to today. Think Zach Greinke and Carlos Quentin or Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper.
This is a must read for baseball fans and those who enjoy the history of the game

Book of James

The Book of James - Ellen J. Green

This is an extraordinarily well written mystery thriller about a family's secret. It's hard to believe that this is the author's first novel. The abundant descriptions of the characters and the locale make the reader feel like they are on location. The intricate plot revolves around the courageous efforts of the protagonist Mackenzie to untangle the riddle of her dying husband's last wish.
  That quest brings her to Chestnut Hill and the prestigious old moneyed Monroe mansion, the home of Mac's former mother-in-law. The author carefully and thoughtfully creates a foreboding mood between the mansion's many tunnels, locked doors, and the openly hostile behavior of Cora. The tale is intricate but the reader is never confused. Instead the reader is confident they know the secret: until they're repeatedly found to be wrong.
  The last 25% of the story will have the reader screaming at Mac to get the hell out of there. You need to read it to see if she does. This is a fabulous novel especially for a first time novelist

High Heat

This book introduces Jack Reacher as a soon to be 17 year old out on the town in New York City on route to see his brother at West Point. He meets a damsel in distress who is being slapped around by a mobster. Reacher intercedes but this begins a nightmarish ride for the damsel and Jack. This was fun but not long enough to develop the characters. It would make a good one hour TV show

The Winds of Kedem

This is a realistic piece of fiction that is informative yet remains a page turner. The author educates, in an easy to understand manner, the divides among the peoples of the Middle East, especially those fanatical sects that know only one solution to the differences between the people who inhabit those lands.
  The novel posits a scarily realistic scenario in which the nuclear weapons of Pakistan could be compromised by a group of determined fanatics whose only agenda is to avenge the founder of their Shia sect at the expense of Israel. This is as good as any of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon books

Conflict of interest

Conflict of Interest - Scott Pratt

This is the 3rd book I have read in the Joe Dillard series. I really enjoyed An Innocent Client. I liked In Good Faith. I think Conflict of Interest is below standard for Scott Pratt. Much is a rehash and some is predictable. I didn't find the plot compelling or suspenseful. There is the usual stereotyped law enforcement officer who has is inflexible and out to nail the accused regardless of other exculpatory evidence. Nor did I buy the resolution.
  In short, it was just okay for me dawg.