Part of the appeal of baseball is its storied history. These three old-timey baseball books add to the lore of the game for young fans.
Audrey Vernick’s Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team highlights the Acerra family of Long Branch, New Jersey. In 1938, the oldest nine boys (there were twelve in all) created their own semi-pro team, coached by their father. During World War II, six of the boys went off to fight; all came back safely to return to baseball and to raise families. Steven Salerno’s mixed-media illustrations capture the feel of this slice of Americana. (4–8 years)
Baseball has developed a whole language of hand signals — bunt, steal, take a pitch, etc. — and some baseball historians attribute them to William Hoy, the first deaf major league everyday-position player (Hoy signed with the Washington Nationals as an outfielder in 1888). Bill Wise’s biography Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy covers Hoy’s many accomplishments on the field and at bat and celebrates his courage and determination. Adam Gustavson’s oil illustrations provide historical details — handlebar moustaches, old uniforms — that will put readers in the games alongside Hoy. (6–9 years)
There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived is an ode to the famed Boston Red Sox slugger. Williams’s most memorable season was in 1941, when he batted .406, but his career ran until 1960, when he hit a homer in his last at-bat. Matt Tavares’s present-tense narrative lends drama and immediacy to the all-smiles-and-heroics biography, and the watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations depict Williams as large as a double-page spread can hold. Published in time for Fenway Park’s centennial celebrations, this full-of-life biography will be a hit with young baseball fans. (6–9 years)