Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Sunday Salon and Girls Who Like Baseball

Welcome to The Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post! It's that day of the week bloggers from all over the internet get together virtually in a large gathering place called The Sunday Salon and talk books!  And at The Sunday Post, which is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, in which more bloggers share their bookish news! So, find a comfy chair, grab a cup of joe and relax! Let's talk books and in particular, Baseball Books!

I have a small "New England" bucket list. That is, things I want to do while I am still living in New England. One of those items on the list is a trip to The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, which we did this weekend! One bookish connection to Cooperstown is James Fenimore Cooper, who wrote The Last of the Mohican, The Leatherstocking Tales, and The Pioneers, just to name a few, and whose father was a land speculator and who Cooperstown is named after. Cooperstown is also home to the Fenimore Art Museum, where I was able to see the original drawings for The Leatherstocking Tales. But when people visit Cooperstown, it is usually all about baseball! Baseball is not just for the boys though, girls play ball too, and today I thought I would share some children's books about the girls who loved baseball...

Catching the Moon:  The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream by Crystal Hubbard... From School Library Journal: This anecdotal tale is based on the childhood of Marcenia Toni Stone Lyle Alberga (1921-1996), who became the first woman to play professional baseball. As a girl, Marcenia dreams only of playing baseball, while her strict but loving parents suggest that she stick to dolls and focus on school. One night she overhears them ruefully acknowledge the limited options that lie in store for most African-American girls: teaching, nursing, or being a maid. Marcenia promises herself that she'll achieve her goal. Opportunity arrives in the form of Gabby Street, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, who runs a free baseball camp for kids. He's impressed by her talent, but doesn't allow girls to participate. The story ends with her acceptance into the camp and her determination to make her dream come true. An afterword sums up Lyle's name change and her career, including the fact that she filled the spot vacated by Hank Aaron when he joined the Major Leagues. Hubbard's lively text does a fine job of capturing this young heroine's unquenchable spirit.

Dirt on Their Skirts: The Story of the Young Women who Won the World Championship by Doreen Rappaport and Lyndall Callan... You had to be really, really good to play in the 1946 championship game between the Racine Belles and the Rockford Peaches. Sitting in the stands, Margaret thrills to every crack of the bat. Someday she hopes to join her heroes like Sophie "the Flash" Kurys and Betty "Moe" Trezza. As the ball hurtles toward the plate, Margaret can almost feel what it would be like to be in that batter's position, arms tensed, bat held high.As we see this historic game in the annals of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League through the eyes of a fictional young girl, Dirt on Their Skirts is a potent reminder that women athletes have inspired young fans throughout the twentieth century. Based on written accounts and on the memories of the players themselves, this exciting story is for all those sandlot sluggers whose hearts beat a little faster whenever they hear the words?"Play ball!"

Mighty Jackie: The Strike Out Queen by Marissa Moss... For as long as she could remember, Jackie Mitchell's father had told Jackie she could be good at whatever she wanted, as long as she worked at it. Jackie worked at baseball. She worked hard. And before long Jackie could outplay anyone in her neighborhood -- even the boys. She had one pitch -- a wicked, dropping curve ball. But no seventeen-year-old girl could pitch against Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. It was unthinkable. Then on April 2, 1931, the New York Yankees stopped in Tennessee for an exhibition game against the Chattanooga Lookouts. And on that day Jackie Mitchell made baseball history. Marissa Moss tells a true story of determination and heroism, a gem of baseball history sure to inspire ballplayers of all ages. And C. F. Payne's vibrant, glorious illustrations make the golden age of baseball come alive.

Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey... A winning new picture book about the All American Girls Professional Baseball League--written with sass and style by all-star Shana Corey with illustrations from promising young rookie Rebecca Gibbon. Did you know that one of America's favorite songs, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," was written about a girl? And that in the 1940s girls all across America were crazy for our country's favorite game? These little known facts inspired Shana Corey to imagine a story about how one determined girl made her way to the big leagues & found a sisterhood of players in pigtails. With the same exuberant spirit that fueled the formation of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, joyful text & jubilant pictures celebrate these brave girls' love of the game & the league they called their own.

Okay, not to leave the boys out... there are some fantastic books for the boys too (we girls can also enjoy them!)

Terror in the City of Champions by Tom Stanton... Detroit, mid-1930s: In a city abuzz over its unrivaled sports success, gun-loving baseball fan Dayton Dean became ensnared in the nefarious and deadly Black Legion. The secretive, Klan-like group was executing a wicked plan of terror, murdering enemies, flogging associates, and contemplating armed rebellion. The Legion boasted tens of thousands of members across the Midwest, among them politicians and prominent citizens—even, possibly, a beloved athlete. Terror in the City of Champions opens with the arrival of Mickey Cochrane, a fiery baseball star who roused the Great Depression’s hardest-hit city by leading the Tigers to the 1934 pennant. A year later he guided the team to its first championship. Within seven months the Lions and Red Wings follow in football and hockey—all while Joe Louis chased boxing’s heavyweight crown. Amidst such glory, the Legion’s dreadful toll grew unchecked: staged “suicides,” bodies dumped along roadsides, high-profile assassination plots. Talkative Dayton Dean’s involvement would deepen as heroic Mickey’s Cochrane’s reputation would rise. But the ballplayer had his own demons, including a close friendship with Harry Bennett, Henry Ford’s brutal union buster. 

The Greatest Baseball Stories Every Told edited by Jeff Silverman... At a 1931 barnstorming exhibition game in Tennessee, a seventeen-year-old pitcher for the Chattanooga Lookouts struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig back to back. Her name was Jackie Mitchell--"organized baseball's first girl pitcher." On September 9, 1965, Sandy Koufax made baseball history by pitching his fourth perfect game. In July 1970, a stripper rushed onto the field at Riverfront Stadium to kiss Johnny Bench, temporarily disrupting a game attended by President Nixon and his family. These are just some of the great, quirky, and comic moments in the annals of baseball recorded in THE GREATEST BASEBALL STORIES EVER TOLD. Here also are profiles of such legendary figures as Joe DiMaggio, Pete Rose, and Yogi Berra, essays that explore the complexities and pleasures of the game, even an excerpt from the movie Bull Durham. This is the perfect book for anyone who has ever played so much as a game of catch. 

The Only Game in Town Edited by David Remnick... For more than eighty years, The New Yorker has been home to some of the toughest, wisest, funniest, and most moving sportswriting around. The Only Game in Town is a classic collection from a magazine with a deep bench, including such authors as Roger Angell, John Updike, Don DeLillo, and John McPhee. Hall of Famer Ring Lardner is here, bemoaning the lowering of standards for baseball achievement—in 1930. John Cheever pens a story about a boy’s troubled relationship with his father and the national pastime. From Lance Armstrong to bullfighter Sidney Franklin, from the Chinese Olympics to the U.S. Open, the greatest plays and players, past and present, are all covered in The Only Game in Town. At The New Yorker, it’s not whether you win or lose—it’s how you write about the game.

Do you read books about sports?

A whirlwind weekend in Cooperstown, and now a day to recover from all that we did. It was fun, although I did not get to read any of the book I brought with me. Hope you found something interesting here today! And please, share any "sports" books you've enjoyed!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Yvonne said...

I love baseball and have always wanted to go to Cooperstown. I haven't made it there yet, but someday. I'm always looking for books and movies about baseball. One of my favorite movies is A League of Their Own.

Have a great week!

Elza Reads said...

I'm from South Africa, so baseball is basically non existent in my life. Rugby is big here and NO! I do not read rugby books. But I think your post was lovely and well crafted. Hope you will have a good week ahead. Here's my Sunday Headlines:

Rachel said...

I have a friend who plays Vintage Women's Baseball all the time. It's kinda fun to watch.

Greg said...

I didn't know Cooperstown was named after James Fenimore Cooper. Learn something every day, how neat. And like Yvonne said, I love A League of Their Own!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Yvonne,
Yes! I love A League of Their Own! The Baseball Hall of Fame is a great place for baseball fans! All the memorabilia is amazing. One of my favorite displays was Babe Ruth's game jersey. The display of the Women's baseball league was cool too! It's a quaint little town where the sidewalks roll up after 5pm, but we had a nice dinner and opened up a bottle of wine while lounging at the hotel overlooking the lake.

Suzanne Yester said...

Rugby! Now there's a sport I'd like to learn more about! It seems to me that Rugby use to be the sport until Soccer took over in popularity here. Nice to learn more about what is popular outside the US!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Greg,
I didn't realize Cooperstown was named after James Fenimore Cooper either until I had that lightbulb moment after seeing him everywhere, including a huge bronze statue. The museum was the final history lesson as there is a whole room explaining the family history.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Hibernator's Library!
I would love to see vintage women's baseball! I think some of the pitching of today's college women's baseball pitchers would be something major league ball players would have a challenge with. Those girls can really throw!

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