A phone call, a father who is dying. The family is broken and will never be completely healed. The father had been an abusive father and husband and when the wife finally gets it together to take the children away, the damage is done. The father has little to anything to do with the children and the son, Paul Tracy, wants little to do with his father and celebrates that all his children are girls and won't feel the need to play a sport, like their father.
Warren Tracy is a former Big League Baseball player who was known for being a "headhunter" for throwing balls at the heads of players that he felt were being too showy when they got a home run hit off of him. One of his last plays, he throws the ball with such force at the head of a very popular rookie player for the Cubs, Joe Castle, aka Calico Joe. His ball almost kills and does so much damage to Joe that he is never able to return to the game. Paul growing up has to reconcile what happened and how to even have a relationship with his father, who feels that he needs to make sure that his son also becomes a headhunter.
Paul, on the other hand, doesn't want to be like his father. After some seriously angry times with his father, he gives up playing baseball at all. He doesn't even follow the game anymore. But with the call that his father is dying, he decides that it is time for his father to own up to the truth and make peace with Joe Castle. He goes to Joe's hometown and then works on getting his father to come to the hometown.
The story does follow baseball in a way, but it is more about relationships and healing. I liked this side of the story the most. Healing of the father and son relationship and healing of the baseball players, so that hew as able to write a story in remembrance of the two men and the ends of their careers.