My daughter just started her first year of softball and the day after her first practice we went out to watch a local high school baseball game. Immediately she started telling me all about the game, the names of the positions, the rules of the game, etc… and she started asking a few questions. I was able to drop a little bit of knowledge of her, some of it coming from Derrick Barnes’s superb YA compendium of baseball stories, facts, and lore. Partnered with high-quality illustrations by John John Bajet, the author runs down bios of “Pivotal Players,” the stats in “Radical Records,” and some inspirational stories in “Colossal Comebacks.”
I appreciated that Barnes chose to write about a diverse selection of talent, from Hall of Famers like Hank Greenberg, Sadaharu Oh (whose fascinating autobiography I read when I was growing up), and Babe Ruth to little-known athletes who played the game. These include Lizzie Murphy, the first woman to play on a major league team, and Kim Ng, who is now the highest ranking woman in baseball history. Barnes also does a good job connecting the stats and data to the stories. Some sports books can get stuck in the stats and veer too far away from the real people, especially in the baseball world these days, but this one focuses on the interesting lives in the game we love.
I will happily continue to share baseball stories with my daughter. This book is perfect for just that!
4.5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to NetGalley, Workman Publishing, and the author for an advanced copy for review.