Becoming Babe Ruth
by Matt Tavares
Before he is known as the Babe, George Herman Ruth is just a boy who lives in Baltimore and gets into a lot of trouble. But when he turns seven, his father brings him to the gates of Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. His life is changed forever. At Saint Mary’s, he’s expected to study hard and follow a lot of rules. But there is one good thing about Saint Mary’s. Almost every day, George gets to play baseball. Under the watchful eye of Brother Matthias, George evolves as a player and as a man. And when he sets off into the wild world of big-league baseball, the school, the boys, and Brother Matthias are never far from his heart.
Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates
by Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Raul Colon
On an island called Puerto Rico, there lived a little boy who wanted only to play baseball. Although he had no money, Roberto Clemente practiced and practiced until–eventually–he made it to the Major Leagues. America! As a right-fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he fought tough opponents–and even tougher racism–but with his unreal catches and swift feet, he earned his nickname, “The Great One.” He led the Pirates to two World Series, hit 3,000 hits, and was the first Latino to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. But it wasn’t just baseball that made Clemente legendary–he was also a humanitarian dedicated to improving the lives of others.
Campy: The Story of Roy Campanella
by David A. Adler, Illustrated by Gordon C. James
Roy Campanella loved baseball. A professional player from the age of fifteen, he later became the first African-American catcher to integrate Major League Baseball. Fans and players adored Campy for his good nature, and cheered his multiple MVP awards as a Brooklyn Dodger. But in 1958, his career ended when a car accident left him a quadriplegic. Refusing to give in to self-pity, Campy became a Dodgers coach, held baseball clinics for teenagers, and bravely advocated for the disabled.
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?
by Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Andre Carrilho
An old-timer tells us what made Sandy Koufax such an amazing baseball player. We learn that the beginning of his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers was rocky, that he was shy with his teammates, and experienced discrimination as one of the only Jews in the game. We hear that he actually quit, only to return the next season—different—firing one rocket after another over the plate. We watch him refuse to play in the 1965 World Series because it is a Jewish high holy day. And we see him in pain because of an overused left arm, eventually retiring at the peak of his career. Finally, we are told that people are still “scratchin’ their heads over Sandy,” who remains a modest hero and a mystery to this day.
Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man
by David A. Adler, Illustrated by Terry Widener
Lou Gehrig’s perseverance is legendary. During fourteen years as a first baseman for the New York Yankees, he played in a record 2,130 consecutive games, earning himself the nickname Iron Horse. Lou loved baseball and considered himself a very lucky man, even though on his thirty-sixth birthday he was diagnosed with a re and fatal disease.
by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by James E. Ransome
No one pitched like Leroy “Satchel” Paige. Fans packed the stands to see how many batters he could strike out in one game. He dazzled them with his unique pitching style, and he even gave nicknames to some of his trademark pitches — there was the “hesitation,” his magic slow ball, and the “bee ball,” named because it would always “be” where he wanted it to be.
Follow Satch’s career as he begins playing in the semipros and goes on to become the first African American to pitch in a major League World Series, and the first Negro Leaguer to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
by Peter Golenbock, Illustrated by Paul Bacon
The story of how Jackie Robinson became the first black player on a Major League baseball team when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s, and how on a fateful day in Cincinnati, Pee Wee Reese took a stand and declared Jackie his teammate.
You Never Heard of Willie Mays?
by Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Terry Widener
Many believe baseball great Willie Mays to be the best player that ever lived. He hit 660 home runs (fourth best of all time), had a lifetime batting average of .302, and is second only to Babe Ruth on The Sporting News‘s list of “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players.”