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Baseball Heroes is the first book in the new middle grade nonfiction series Good Sports, about the inspiring life stories of major league athletes who have overcome obstacles in the course of their life and careers. Each book tells the stories of athletes who have encountered and overcome significant obstacles, and whose story exempifies character and nerve in the face of adversity. Baseball Heroes highlights players who were among the first to break through barriers of race, ethnicity...
Baseball Heroes is the first book in the new middle grade nonfiction series Good Sports, about the inspiring life stories of major league athletes who have overcome obstacles in the course of their life and careers. Each book tells the stories of athletes who have encountered and overcome significant obstacles, and whose story exempifies character and nerve in the face of adversity. Baseball Heroes highlights players who were among the first to break through barriers of race, ethnicity and even sex in order to play professional baseball. Subjects include Jackie Robinson, Hank Greenburg, Fernando Valenzuela, and Ila Borders.
Baseball has long been known as the national pastime, a game for all Americans.
Unfortunately, for many years this simply was not true. Not everyone has always been welcome at the ballpark. At various times professional baseball has either banned certain groups of people from playing or made it very, very difficult for them to play. And although America is a diverse country with people of many different ethnic backgrounds, until very recently the stands at major league ballparks have not looked like America.
Baseball Heroes tells the story of some baseball pioneers, three men and a woman—yes, a woman—who fought hard for their own right to play baseball so that everyone could participate in our national pastime. These pioneers were all "good sports" who played the game the right way and for the right reasons.
One of the first Jewish players in professional baseball, Hank Greenberg had to ignore vicious slurs and namecalling from his opponents. Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play major league baseball in the twentieth century, went through a similar experience. Mexican pitcher Fernando Valenzuela was one of the first big Latino stars in baseball and helped make the game popular with Latino fans in America. And as the first woman to play baseball both in college and professionally, Ila Borders had to convince everybody that she was good enough to play.
Each of these pioneers helped make baseball the game it is today, a game that everyone with the talent to play also has the right to play. Fans of every imaginable background turn out by the thousands to cheer their favorite teams and players. While all of these pioneers recognized that everybody is an individual and everyone is different, they also knew that in every way that is truly important, everybody is the same, and our differences should not be enough to divide us or keep us apart.
Because of them, baseball is now truly America’s national pastime.
Posted January 28, 2011
BASEBALL HEROES features four players who changed the history of baseball. They faced the odds against them to play the game they loved. Hank Greenberg was born to immigrant parents in New York City. His dream to play baseball almost didn't happen. Being Jewish didn't make him popular with the fans or the other players, but he didn't let that stop him. Jackie Robinson faced cruel taunts and segregated locker rooms to become the first African American major league player. He paved the way for huge changes in the way the nation viewed and accepted the talent of African American athletes. Another player to change the look of major league baseball was Fernando Valenzuela. Born in Mexico, he not only convinced the baseball community that Latinos could contribute to the game, but the resulting "Fernandomania" lead Latinos and Mexican Americans to ball parks across the country. Ila Borders didn't let being a girl stop her. Her dream was to be a major league pitcher. With her father's help she learned to pitch, and what followed was an outstanding high school and college pitching career that convinced several big league teams to give her a chance to live her dream. Author Glenn Stout takes readers on a tour of some amazing baseball history. He presents the stories of the four players in this compelling and easy-to-read book. BASEBALL HEROES is one title of a new series by Stout called GOOD SPORTS. Baseball fans young and old are sure to enjoy it.
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