Chapter 1: Townie
He grew up here. He was the youngest of Jane and Bill O'Connor's seven children. His oldest sister called him Todder when he was an infant. His high school friends shortened up his surname and rechristened him Oakie. To teachers and other adults he was usually Tommy. His wife would call him Tom. All his nicknames and the diminutive accompanied him to adulthood. If you do all your growing up in the same small place, you don't shed identities. You accumulate them.
One day when he was ten years old, Tommy O'Connor's Little League baseball coach made him the starting pitcher. A signal honor, but then Tommy couldn't get...