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A Word from 'The Legend Of Mickey Tussler' Author

Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, "Echoes From The Infantry," received national attention, including MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction for 2006. His follow-up novel, "The Legend of Mickey Tussler," garnered rave reviews as well, including a screenplay adaptation of the touching story which aired nationwide in September and is being released on DVD January 10th.  

Frank lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony and continues to support groups such as Autism Speaks, Best Buddies, and Challenger Baseball. 


I am pleased to announce that January 10th marks the official release of the DVD “A Mile in His Shoes,” starring Dean Cain. “A Mile in His Shoes” is the heartwarming film adaptation of my novel "The Legend of Mickey Tussler." The story, which is being re-released by Skyhorse Publishing in April to coincide with Autism Awareness Month, chronicles the struggle for acceptance and ultimate redemption of a seventeen year old baseball player with Aspergers.

The story is being celebrated as one that goes where no baseball novel has ever gone before. Sure, there is plenty of good old fashioned hardball, lots of baseball jargon and feel good descriptions that every baseball fan can appreciate. But this story is one that has never been told before. Set in the minor leagues in the late 1940s, this remarkable tale tells the story of a pitching phenom who must deal with a different set of circumstances, heretofore unexamined in books such as this. In short, young Tussler despite notable baseball prowess, suffers from what we now identify as autism. The book follows the fortunes of the team and their new teammate Mickey, who continues to have a fair amount of trouble adjusting to his new situation while away from the routine and comforts of life back home. It is at these moments that the reader gets a real glimpse into the world as seen through the eyes of an autistic person. It is not the safe, predictable place that most of us enjoy. Rather, it is a frightening, oftentimes emotionally debilitating prison of sorts, replete with all kinds of treacherous pitfalls that the boy is unable to navigate.

The book has been called an excellent reminder that we all need to be mindful of special needs individuals when they cross our path. Perhaps New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez said it best when he proclaimed, “I see all kinds of challenges facing kids today, and this book does a very good job of treating gifted kids and teenagers with sensitivity and understanding in coping with and meeting these challenges.”

While the film is not completely faithful to the book, the director manages to successfully maintain many of the overarching themes I tried to allow "the game" to serve as the vehicle through which these messages are established; that anything worth accomplishing requires hard work and determination, the power of teamwork, and that challenges can be overcome.

For more information about the remarkable story of Mickey Tussler, including endorsements and reviews, please visit

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.