Baseball: Amazing But True Stories! (Who Got Game?)

by Derrick D Barnes (Author) John John Bajet (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Series: Who Got Game
Celebrate the unheralded people and stories that helped shape the game of baseball! Meet unsung pioneers, like John "Bud" Fowler, William Edward White, and brothers Moses Fleetwood Walker and Weld Walker, four African Americans who integrated white teams decades before Jackie Robinson. Discover unforgettable moments, like the time a 17-year old girl named Jackie Mtchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Marvel at records. Did you know that Japanese superstar Sadaharu Oh has a whopping 113 more career homers than Hank Aaron? And that's just for starters! This lively illustrated collection of shiny nuggets of baseball lore will transform you into a superfan who knows the game better than anyone else. Someone who's got game.
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$13.46 $14.95

Kirkus Reviews

An ebullient collection of stunning comebacks, awesome athletes, and achievements both grand and dubious.


Starred Review
Inviting for newcomers and eye-opening for longtime fans, this one will have wide appeal in its exploration of the shortcomings and the beauty of America's favorite pastime. 

School Library Journal

Starred Review

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, WI

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


Derrick D Barnes
Derrick D. Barnes is from Kansas City, MO. He is the winner of the 2018 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for outstanding new writer, and his picture book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut took home four honors at the 2018 American Library Association's Youth Media Awards: the Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Illustrator Honor, the Newbery Honor, and the Caldecott Honor. Derrick is also the author of the New York Times bestselling picture book The King of Kindergarten, the bestselling chapter book series Ruby and the Booker Boys, the middle grade novel We Could Be Brothers, and the YA novel The Making of Dr. Truelove, which was recognized by the ALA as a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Derrick created the popular blog Raising the Mighty, where he chronicles the experience of bringing up four beautiful black boys in America. He lives in Charlotte, NC, with his wife, Dr. Tinka Barnes, and their four sons, all of whom play sports.

John John Bajet is a designer at Renegade Animation, and works on the Cartoon Network Show Tom & Jerry. He is the illustrator of If We Could Do What Animals Do.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Workman Publishing
Publication date
March 20, 2020
Who Got Game
BISAC categories
JNF054010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Sports & Recreation | Baseball & Softball
JNF007100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Sports & Recreation
JNF025170 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States/General
Library of Congress categories

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