A Negro League Scrapbook

Overview

Imagine that you are an outstanding baseball player but banned from the major leagues. Imagine that you are breaking records but the world ignores your achievements. Imagine having a dream but no chance to make that dream come true. This is what life was like for African American baseball players before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier. Meet Josh Gibson, called "the black Babe Ruth," who hit seventy-five home runs in 1931; James "Cool Papa" Bell, the fastest man in baseball; legendary ...

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Overview

Imagine that you are an outstanding baseball player but banned from the major leagues. Imagine that you are breaking records but the world ignores your achievements. Imagine having a dream but no chance to make that dream come true. This is what life was like for African American baseball players before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier. Meet Josh Gibson, called "the black Babe Ruth," who hit seventy-five home runs in 1931; James "Cool Papa" Bell, the fastest man in baseball; legendary Satchel Paige, who once struck out twenty-four batters in a single game; and, of course, Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball, and one of the greatest players of all time. Featuring lively verse, fascinating facts, and archival photographs, this is a celebration of the Negro Leagues and the great players who went unrecognized in their time.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hank Aaron, Leroy "Satchel" Paige, Willie Mays and many others started their careers in the Negro Leagues before the Majors became integrated, with Jackie Robinson paving the way as a Brooklyn Dodger. A Negro League Scrapbook by Carole Boston Weatherford uses one rhyming couplet per page ("Monarchs, Barons, Giants, Grays,/ All-black baseball's glory days") to introduce each collage spread, overflowing with period photographs, pennants and tickets. Sidebars highlight fun facts (e.g., "Paige's Signature Pitches: Bee-ball..., Blooper,... Whipsy-dipsy-do," etc.), power pitchers and hitters and "Hall of Famers from the Negro League," among others. Quotes from players offer tips and life lessons ("Throw strikes. Home plate don't move," says Satchel Paige), and catchy headlines will keep readers avidly turning pages (one for Hank Aaron states, "Where the Home Run King Honed His Swing"). For fans of history and baseball alike. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Negro league baseball experienced one of its high points in 2006 when seventeen Negro league alumni were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Such a large election was intended to address baseball's previous failure to recognize many greats of the segregated baseball era. The election also reflected the shame of our nation and former national pastime—that professional baseball was once segregated by race, which led to the formation of the Negro Baseball Leagues, where black ballplayers had their chance to play professionally. This engaging, quick read is filled with photos of Negro league stars such as Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, "Cool Papa" Bell, and Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, plus various items of Negro league memorabilia. The photos are the book's strongest point and provide revealing glimpses into the ballplayers' lives. For example, one picture depicts a black man drinking from a water fountain labeled for "Coloreds" only. The author mentions Negro league alumnus Jackie Robinson breaking major league baseball's color line in 1947 with the National League's Brooklyn Dodgers. Regrettably, she does not similarly mention another alumnus, Larry Doby, who shattered the American League's color line three months after Robinson's debut. There is a chart at the end of the book listing Baseball Hall of Famers from the Negro leagues. Unfortunately, there are two omissions from this list as of the book's publication, Doby (inducted in 1998) and Hilton Smith (2001). This book is a good introduction to the Negro leagues that may inspire young readers to further exploration. 2005, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 7 up.
—Bruce Adelson, J.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-An engaging overview, richly augmented by archival photographs. Weatherford's text covers a great deal of ground, with a summation of the history of the Negro Leagues and sections on the pitchers, hitters, utility men, various teams, and so forth. Each topic is briefly covered on a spread of text with black-and-white photos and full-color realia designed to look like a scrapbook. Topics are introduced with a few lines of verse. Beginning with a thoughtful foreword by Buck O'Neil, the book is especially successful in conveying the significance of the Negro Leagues to the black community, and in detailing the realities of segregation. The stark scenes of segregated drinking fountains and signs advertising "Cabins for Colored" are powerful and poignant. The overall tone is upbeat, focusing on the accomplishments of players such as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, James "Cool Papa" Bell, and the three women who joined the league in the 1950s. This title succeeds as a thoughtful introduction, capturing both the significance of the Negro Leagues and the accomplishments of its great players. Fans and report writers will also want to check out Patricia C. and Frederick L. McKissack's Black Diamond (Scholastic, 1994), Robert Gardner and Dennis Shortelle's The Forgotten Players (Walker, 1993), and Michael L. Cooper's Playing America's Game (Penguin, 1993).-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In 1887, team owners decreed that African-Americans were barred from the Major Leagues. Prior to this date, black players were on the teams, though they usually called themselves "Cubans." Buck O'Neil writes in the foreword, "Segregation was the only reason that the Negro Leagues existed." They were formed to give black players the opportunity to play at a professional level so they would be ready when the Majors were integrated. It would be 50 years before Jackie Robinson got that call. Weatherford has collected a wealth of information and memorabilia from the earliest days through the Leagues' demise in 1963. There are wonderful photos of the players and teams. Weatherford displays tickets, advertising, banners, equipment and more as if pasted in a scrapbook. The result is a thorough picture of Negro Leagues in all their sadness, pain, and glory. One doesn't need to be a baseball fan to be fascinated. (Nonfiction. 8+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590780916
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 1,011,351
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Carole Boston Weatherford is an award-winning poet and author of over two dozen books for young readers. She lives in North Carolina.

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