TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE OF BASEBALL IN THIS FUNNY, FASCINATING JOURNEY FROM THE EARLIEST GAMES TO TODAY.
Discover what it was like before there was a pitching mound or players had numbers on their jerseys. Learn how Babe Ruth got his nickname, why Brooklyn's team was called the Dodgers, and what Roger Clemens gave to keep his lucky number 21 when he switched teams. See what clever ways players have found to win even ways to cheat! Sprinkled throughout are definitions of baseball's weird and wacky vocabulary, from a meatball to Uncle Charlie.
Find out which player was traded for a bag of prunes, but don't trade this book for anything! Ross MacDonald's lively pictures bring fans close to the action with plenty of mischievous fun in this free-swinging tribute to the boys of summer.
About the Author
Sally Cook's first book for children was Good Night Pillow Fight, illustrated by Laura Cornell. Ms. Cook is also the co-author, with Gene Stallings, of Another Season, a New York Times bestseller. She lives in New York City.
James Charlton is the publications director for the Society for American Baseball Research, a founding editor of the Pushcart Prize, and a judge of the Casey Award, which is given annually to the best baseball book. He has written numerous books about baseball, and lives in New York City.
Ross MacDonald's illustrations have appeared in many magazines, including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and Time. He is also the author and illustrator of several children's books, including Another Perfect Day, which was a Publishers Weekly Best Book; Achoo! Bang! Crash! The Noisy Alphabet, which was a Publishers Weekly Best Book and a Nick Jr. Magazine Best Book; and, most recently, Bad Baby. Mr. MacDonald lives with his family in Connecticut. Visit his website at www.Ross-MacDonald.com.
Read an Excerpt
Hey Batta Batta Swing! The Wild Old Days of Baseball
By Sally Cook James Charlton Margaret K. McElderry Copyright © 2007 Sally Cook and Jim Charlton
All right reserved.
Chapter One ... professional teams, you could get a runner out by soaking him. Ouch! It's no wonder that this practice only lasted a few years. Almost every aspect of baseball, from the rules of the game to the names of the teams, has changed over the years.
Just take a look at uniforms. You might think that every player - short, tall, banjo hitter, and ace - has always worn the same uniform as the rest of his teammates. Not so in 1882! That year owners decided that the players had to wear colored jerseys showing the position they played, not the team they played for.
soaking: a very early rule that allowed a runner who was off base to be put out by hitting him with a ball
banjo hitter: a poor hitter
ace: the team's best pitcher. One theory of its origin is that the word is short for Asa Brainard, an ace pitcher of the 1860s and 1870s.
The teams in Boston and Chicago wore socks whose colors became the teams' nicknames - the Red Stockings and the White Stockings (now the Red Sox and the White Sox). Players from the defunct Troy (New York) Haymakers were signed by John Day, owner of the newly formed New York Giants, but they kept the green stockings, so the team was sometimes called the New York Green Stockings. Long before the Giants moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958, they discarded their green stockings for black ones.
Though the uniforms became different colors, they were all made out of heavy wool flannel, something you might wear in the wintertime. Can you imagine playing baseball in the hot sun wearing winter clothes?
In the 1880s fielders didn't wear gloves. Imagine a fly chaser playing bare-handed: no problem if the hit was a can of corn, but catching a frozen rope without a mitt? Ow! You can bet there were lots of gappers and tweeners. By the 1890s almost all the players were using leather mitts that looked like winter gloves, with a couple of strands of leather between the forefinger and thumb. Sometimes players cut off the gloves' fingers to get a better grip on the ball. In 1889 major league catcher Harry Decker was granted the first patent for a padded ...
fly chaser: an outfielder
can of corn: an easy fly ball
frozen rope: a hard-hit line drive
gappers: hits between outfielders
tweeners: hits between infielders
Excerpted from Hey Batta Batta Swing! The Wild Old Days of Baseball by Sally Cook James Charlton Copyright © 2007 by Sally Cook and Jim Charlton. Excerpted by permission.
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