The Brooklyn Nine

The Brooklyn Nine

by Alan Gratz


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142415443
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/04/2010
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 43,245
Product dimensions: 5.13(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.82(d)
Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Alan Gratz was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. After a carefree but humid childhood, he attended the University of Tennessee, where he earned a College Scholars degree with a specialization in creative writing and later a Master's degree in English education. In addition to writing plays, magazine articles, and a few episodes of A&E's City Confidential, Alan has taught catapult building to middle schoolers, written more than 6,000 radio commercials, and lectured as a Czech university. Currently, Alan lives with his wife Wendi and daughter Jo in the high country of western North Carolina, where he enjoys reading, eating pizza, and, perhaps not too surprisingly, watching baseball.

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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page


First Inning: Play Ball - Manhattan, New York, 1845

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Second Inning: The Red-Legged Devil - Northern Virginia, 1864

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Third Inning: A Ballad of the Republic - Brooklyn, New York, 1894

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Fourth Inning: The Way Things Are Now - Coney Island, New York, 1908

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Fifth Inning: The Numbers Game - Brooklyn, New York, 1926

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Sixth Inning: Notes of a Star to Be - Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1945

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Seventh Inning: Duck and Cover - Brooklyn, New York, 1957

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Eighth Inning: The Perfectionist - Brooklyn, New York, 1981

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Ninth Inning: Provenance - Brooklyn, New York, 2002

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Author Notes

Special Thanks


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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Gratz, Alan, date.
eISBN : 978-1-101-01480-6

[1. Baseball—History—Fiction. 2. United StatesvHistory—Fiction.] I.Title.
For Mom and Dad, finally

First Inning: Play Ball

Manhattan, New York, 1845


Nine months ago, Felix Schneider was the fastest boy in Bremen, Germany. Now he was the fastest boy in Manhattan, New York. He was so fast, in fact, the ship that had brought him to America arrived a day early.

Now he stood on first base, waiting to run.

“Put the poreen just about here, ya rawney Dutchman!” the Striker called. English was difficult enough for Felix to understand, and almost unintelligible when spoken by the Irish. But the “Dutchman” at Feeder—another German boy like Felix—didn’t need to understand Cormac’s words to know where he wanted him to throw the ball. He lobbed it toward the plate and the Irish boy slapped the ball to the right side beyond first base.

Felix ran full out. His legs churned in the soft mud, but his shoes gave him traction, propelling him toward second base. He was a racehorse, a locomotive. The world was a blur when he ran, and he could feel his blood thumping through his veins like the steam pistons pounding out a rhythm on the fast ferry to Staten Island. Felix flew past the parcel that stood for second base and dug for third.

“Soak him!” one of the boys called. Felix glanced over his shoulder just in time to see an English boy hurl the baseball at him. He danced out of the way and the ball sailed past him, missing his vest by less than an inch. Felix laughed and charged on to third, turning on the cap there and heading for home.

“Soak the bloody devil!” one of the other Irish boys cried. The ball came at Felix again, but this time the throw was well wide. He pounced on the rock at home plate with both feet and celebrated the point.

“Ace!” Felix cried. “Ace, ace, ace!”

“No it weren’t,” called one of the buckwheats, a boy just back from the Ohio territory. “You missed second base!”

Felix ran straight to second base to argue, and was met there by the boys on both teams.

“You’re out, ya plonker!” said one of the Irish boys.

“The heck I was!” said Felix. He stepped forward to challenge him, and the boy laughed.

“You sure you want to get them fancy ones and twos there muddy, Dutchman?”

He was on again about Felix’s shoes, which were better than everyone else’s. Felix’s father, a cobbler, had made them for him—sturdy brown leather lace-ups with good thick heels. They were the only thing he still had to remind him of his family back in Bremen.

The boys looked down at Felix’s shoes. That’s when they all saw Felix’s footprints in the wet earth. He’d missed second base by a foot.

“Three out, all out,” the buckwheat said.

Felix snatched the ball from the boy’s hand and plunked him hard in the shoulder with it.

“Run!” Felix cried.

The lot became a battlefield as both teams went back and forth, tagging each other and dashing for home to see who would earn the right to bat next. Felix had just ducked out of the way of a ball aimed for his head when someone grabbed him by the ear and stood him up.

“Felix Schneider!” his uncle Albert yelled.

The game of tag ground to an abrupt halt and the boys shirked away as Felix’s uncle laid into him.

“I knew you would be here, you worthless boy! You should have been back an hour ago! Where is the parcel you were sent to deliver?”

Felix glanced meekly at second base.

“You’ve buried it in the mud!?” Felix’s uncle cuffed him. “If you’ve ruined those pieces, it’ll mean both our jobs! My family will be out on the streets, and you will never earn passage for yours. Is this why you stowed away aboard that ship? To come to America and play games?”

“N-no sir.”

Uncle Albert dragged Felix over to the parcel.

“Pick it up. Pick it up!”

“I didn’t step on it, see? I missed the bag—”

His uncle struck him again, and Felix said nothing more. With his speed he knew he still had plenty of time to deliver the fabric pieces, and time enough to go to the Neumans’, pick up their finished suits, and get them to Lord & Taylor by the close of business too. He also knew his uncle wouldn’t want to hear it.

“Now go. Go!” Uncle Albert told him. “If you were my son, I’d whip you!”

And if I were your son, thought Felix as he dashed off with the parcel, I’ d run away to California.

Felix ran to where the Neumans lived on East Eighth Street off Avenue B, in the heart of “Kleindeutschland,” Little Germany. Their tenement stood in the shadow of a fancier building facing the street on the same lot. The Neumans lived on the fourth floor, two brothers and their families squeezed into a one-family flat with three rooms and no windows. Felix hated visiting there. It made him think of those preachers who stood on street corners throughout Kleindeutschland yelling warnings of damnation and hell. As much as he disliked his uncle, Felix knew that but for Uncle Albert’s job as a cutter, their own Kleindeutschland flat would look like this. Or worse.

One of the Neuman boys, not much older than Felix, met him at the door. Felix only knew him from deliveries and pickups—he’d never seen any of the Neuman boys playing on Little Germany’s streets or empty lots.

“Guten tag,” the boy said.

“Good morning,” said Felix. He held out the parcel. “I’ve got your new pieces.”

The boy let Felix into the room. It was hot and dark, and Neumans young and old sweated as they sewed cut pieces of cloth into suits around the dim light of four flickering candles. Herr Neuman, the family “foreman,” came forward to take the package from Felix.

“Danke schön,” Herr Neuman said.

“You’re welcome,” Felix said. “Bitte.”

Herr Neuman set the parcel on a table and opened it, counting out the pieces. He nodded to let Felix know everything was in order.

“Do you have anything for me to take back?” Felix asked. “Haben Sie noch etwas fertig?”

Herr Neuman held up a finger and went into another room. Felix waved to one or two of the women who looked up at him with weak smiles. Felix knew this wasn’t what they had expected when they’d come to America. It wasn’t what any of them had expected. Felix’s own father had talked of New York as a promised land, where everyone had good jobs and plenty to eat. “Manhattan is a city of three hundred thousand,” he’d said, “and half of those are men who will need a good pair of shoes.” Herr Neuman, a skilled tailor, had probably said the same thing to his family about the men in Manhattan needing suits.


Excerpted from "The Brooklyn Nine"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Alan M. Gratz.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Brooklyn Nine 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be engrossing and fascinating. I wouldn't consider myself a baseball fan, but I couldn't put the book down. Beginning with morden baseball's creation as witnessed by a recent German immigrant, the story of baseball is intertwined with the story of the Schneider family. The accounts are well-told and cover captivating aspects of American history as well. I found it a little challenging for my 8th graders to read independently, however, I plan to teach it as a class novel in the near future.
Kmh952 More than 1 year ago
I first bought this book as a Birthday gift for my niece (a Boston Red Sox fan!) and as always wanted to read it first to make sure it was something I thought she would enjoy. Once I started it I couldn't put it down. It's very well written, it has all the elements you want in a story. It made me smile, it brought back memories, it tugged at my heart and brought tears of joy and sadness in equal measure. It is truly a wonderful story that should be shared with families. It will make a good 'read aloud' story book for parents and a great book for young readers who may not always enjoy the task of reading. I would recommend this book ( and I have ) to teachers and friends. Thank you Alan Gratz for writing a great story!
skstiles612 on LibraryThing 18 days ago
This was an interesting book. The book is told as nine short stories that are loosely related. They are all tied together through the theme of baseball. The chapters are told as if they were innings in a baseball game. The first inning we are introduced to Felix Schneider playing ball with his friends. He had stowed away on a boat to New York and lives with his uncle. He considers himself the fastest runner in New York. After running errands for his uncle he stops to watch the Knickerbockers play a game of baseball. When the fire bells ring he joins the Knickerbockers who are firefighters. Felix helps rescue a firefighter and rushing into a building to complete the firefighter's task only to be caught in the explosion that permanently injures his legs. He decides he will not let his injure keep him from his love of baseball. In the second inning the next generation from Felix's family is introduced. We find ourselves in the Civil War. Felix's son Louis is a Yankee soldier who finds himself with an injured Confederate soldier. As a token of friendship and good luck he gives his prized baseball to the injured Confederate soldier and receives a baseball bat in return. We find another relative who loses his father's bat. These stories are all linked. I found it strange yet fitting that the first character injured his legs in a fire and in the last inning Snider's house burns down and he breaks his leg trying to get out of his second story bedroom. While staying with his Uncle Dave, he finds some baseball "junk". His uncle encourages him to research it and try to find out as much information as he can. One thing he finds is a baseball bat and an old hand sewn baseball. He learns that much of the history is lost yet he is able to make a connection to part of it. I really enjoyed the author's notes at the end of the book. It explained a lot since I am not a baseball follower and was not sure what was and what was not fact. I did enjoy the book.
FELIX555 on LibraryThing 18 days ago
Felix Schneider is a major character in the book The Brooklyn Nine.He never changes the way he thinks about baseball or anything so he would probably be a static character.he is definitely the hero of the novel because he saves all of Manhattan by blowing up a building and stopping the fire from reaching all of Manhattan.
shelf-employed on LibraryThing 18 days ago
Although populated by real and invented characters, The Brooklyn Nine has only one main character - baseball. Beginning with the earliest games of baseball, as played by the fictional German immigrant, Felix Schneider in 1845, through the war years, the modern era, and ending in 2002, baseball is the seam that holds this Novel in Nine Innings together.Part Roots, part Forest Gump, each chapter in Gratz's novel follows the game of baseball through subsequent generations of Felix Schneider's young descendants. Each generation has its own chapter or "inning."Along the way, baseball adapts to whatever history throws over the plate - the Civil War, the Vaudeville era, the Roaring Twenties, the Negro Leagues, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, Sputnik, and the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Some pieces of baseball memorabilia pass through the generations or "innings", their significance fading over time.The fictional characters in each chapter are, for the most part, wily and entertaining young baseball fans and players. "The Fourth Inning: The Way Things are Now, Coney Island 1908" features Walter Schneider, a batboy and feisty opponent of racism and anti-semitism, particularly when it's directed at him! "The Fifth Inning: The Numbers Game, Brooklyn, New York, 1926," features Frankie Snider, a quit-witted young girl, with a passion for the Brooklyn Robins and a soft spot for gamblers.A few "innings" have a rather tenuous attachment to baseball, especially "The Seventh Inning: Duck and Cover, Brooklyn, New York, 1957," but overall, the book flows seamlessly. The Authors Notes for each inning, offer historical notes about events and real people featured in the book.Because the main character of the Brooklyn Nine is our national pastime, character and plot development are experienced by the sport of baseball, rather than the individual "players" in the book. For this reason, it would make an excellent choice for some school assignments, but a poor choice for others.The Brooklyn Nine is a fun and informative read, especially for fans of baseball or historical fiction. A winner.The Brooklyn Nine: A Novel in Nine Innings was chosen as a Booklist Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth 2009 book.Note: And now that I've duly tried to review this book, I will quote one of my favorite passages from the story, taken from an exchange between Frankie Snider and the real-life, John Kiernan, sportswriter for the New York Times in the 1920s."Then why don't you write about what really happens?"Kiernan searched the high blue sky for an explanation. "It's like - it's like reading a book to review it. Somehow having to break a book down into its parts to critique it sucks all the joy out for me. I greatly prefer towrite my story in advance, and then sit back and enjoy the sum total of the afternoon. Besides, the truth is subjective."
KarenBall on LibraryThing 18 days ago
This is definitely the most interesting historical fiction/sports combination I've read yet! Each "inning" is the story of one generation of a Brookyn family, and its connection to baseball and American history. Each inning has 3 short chapters, and Alan Gratz weaves in historically significant events, people and culture: immigration, the Civil War, segregation, prejudice, the Mafia, the All American Girls Baseball League during World War II, and Sputnik among them. Connecting all of them are the descendants of Felix Schneider, who dreams of being the fastest base runner for the New York Knickerbockers baseball team (and firefighters) in 1845. Felix makes his own baseball, which is passed down through the generations, lost and found again along with a few other historic pieces of baseball equipment. Gratz could have dressed this up and had the family meet all kinds of baseball celebrities, but he chose to show us more of the everyday experiences with the game, and that makes it all the more fun to read! Great for all baseball fans, and I think the structure of the story is especially good for more reluctant readers (short chapters, lots of logical places to stop if you need a break). 6th grade and up.
shannonkearns on LibraryThing 23 days ago
the story of a family told in nine "innings". i loved this book. a wonderful story about a family history filled with lots of interesting baseball stories. i loved the nod to the all american girls professional baseball league and the way the book traced the stories of baseball through the generations. a fantastic book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have liked the book. I don't like how they switch characters as much as they do though. What i do like is how they played baseball back then it was different from how we play baseball. An example is back in inning one they said "so they bloody devil" which was telling them to hit him with them ball. I know that meant hit him because the next sentence was "the ball was zooming by his ear". That is why i like the book Brooklyn Nine
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello fellow readers I'm a 9 year old from Wisconsin, and I'm going to tell you about the book, The Brooklyn nine. If you want to learn about a little of baseball's history from the 1800's, to about right now this is the perfect book for you. It includes info on what the Brooklyn Dodgers were named before that. There are nine good interesting stories in this book. So come on baseball fans hurry on in to Barnes and Noble to get your copy of the Brooklyn nine!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago