by Derrick D Barnes (Author) John John Bajet (Illustrator)
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Gr 4-6—A lot of kids (even those who aren't baseball fanatics) know who Babe Ruth is; but do they know about Jackie Mitchell, the teenage girl who struck out both Ruth and his teammate Lou Gehrig during an exhibition game? Or how about Sadaharu Oh, the Japanese ballplayer who has more career home runs than any American pro? The book's four chapters ("Pivotal Players," "Sensational Stories," "Radical Records," and "Colossal Comebacks") organize the history of baseball into quirky categories that share the stories of lesser-known legends. "Pivotal Players" recounts the career of the great Satchel Paige, who played first in the Negro Leagues and then moved into the majors, as well as the rise of executive Kim Ng, who is both the highest ranking woman and Asian American in Major League Baseball. "Radical Records" includes impressive statistics, like the world record tie for fastest pitch ever (105.1 mph). The final chapter will inspire awe with John Hiller's return to pitching after a massive heart attack and generate giggles with "Jim Rooker's Unintentional Walk." Pirates pitcher Rooker told the media he would walk back to Pittsburgh if the Pirates gave up a massive lead over the Phillies in a 1989 game at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium. The Pirates ended up losing and Rooker made good on his promise. Supported with colorful illustrations, the book's conversational tone is pitch perfect. VERDICT A highly recommended first purchase. Readers will be sucked into this unique collection of "amazing but true stories."—Abby Bussen, Muskego Public Library, WICopyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.