Danny Connolly is a back-up pitcher with the Dulaney Orioles. He knows that "back-up" means "not good enough to start." When he has gotten a chance to pitch, he hasn't exactly been the shut-down reliever the team needs.To make matters worse, he's playing in the shadow of his older brother, Joey, a lights-out high school lefty with a 90-mph fastball who's attracting lots of attention from college recruiters and major league scouts.
It's bad enough that Danny's parents fawn over Joey and rarely talk about Danny's games. But now, as his big brother's mound exploits are drawing more and more attention, Danny is starting to get the why-aren't-you-as-good-as-Joey? comments from the Orioles, too.
The pressure to live up to Joey's success is stifling. Lonely and frustrated, Danny embarks on a secret project designed to make his family and teammates sit up and take notice. Aided by a mysterious stranger with an uncanny knowledge of the aerodynamics of a thrown baseball, he attempts to learn a pitch no one has seen before.
The clock is ticking as the O's try to repeat as league champions. If Danny's audacious plan works and he can master the magical fluttering pitch known as "The Terminator," he'll soon be the talk of the league--and the dependable closer the Orioles desperately need.
PRAISE FOR HOTHEAD:
". . . just the ticket for readers who've worked their way through Dan Gutman and Matt Christopher but are still a little shy of Matt de la Pe a and Carl Deuker. "--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Written with Ripken's obvious knowledge of the game, Conor's story rings true, with plenty of good baseball action. If Conor's not always in good spirits, the novel is, with likable characters, lively baseball action and the usual dreams of playing in the big leagues-in Conor's case, at Camden Yards. Ripken and Cowherd, like Conor and his Babe Ruth League Orioles, make a winning team. "--Kirkus