Baseball is known for being “America’s favorite pastime,” with roots of the sport going as far back as the 1800’s. Although its true origin remains a topic of debate, one thing is for certain; baseball is more than just a sport. There is so much history behind baseball, and the lessons that can be learned from the legendary athletes who have played the game are endless. From Jackie Robinson, the first African American player to join the major leagues in 1947, to Dorothy Kamenshek, a female professional baseball player who competed in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League; baseball history can show us that anything is possible.
When I want to know more about a player, a stadium, a certain game or event, I read about it. Reading helps draw the connection and has the ability to take me where I want to go, whether it’s miles away or years behind. Through books I’ve got to meet players like Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson and Dorothy Kamenshek – all who’ve got some pretty amazing stories to tell. Here are just a few examples of books that introduce some of these players, offer interesting facts, and tell stories of the overall love for the game.
- Shoeless Joe & Black Betsey by Phil Bildner
- Jackie Robinson: American Hero by Sharon Robinson
- Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruthby Robert Burleigh
- Dan Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventure series includes players from Satchel Paige to Mickey Mantle!
Although major league baseball is reserved for male players, hundreds of women have proven that they can be just as good. Here are some great reads that talk about the girls who made history proving they have just as much talent as men when it comes to baseball.
- Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey
- A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League by Sue Macy
- Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings by Deborah Hopkinson
I started to learn more about the game, the stadiums, and famous players from different teams by reading about them. There are tons of books about baseball and its greatest players.Reading took me back in time and to places I wanted to see, and as a result, I started a baseball bucket list to visit all the home stadiums of the players I read about – so far I’ve been to 11!
Using an interest in sports or other hobbies is a great opportunity to get kids reading about them. Be sure to check out some of these baseball reads by Scholastic!
Baby-Sitters Club No. 129: Kristy at Bat | Ann Martin
How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball | David Shannon
The Hero Two Doors Down | Sharon Robinson
Plunked | Michael Northrop