Opening Day. The National Anthem. Throwing out the first pitch. Peanuts and Cracker Jacks. These books capture the spirit of the American pastime. From dedicated sports authors Mike Lupica, Tim Green, and John Feinstein to those branching out into new territory, every book on this list is a winner.
Mascot by Antony John
Noah is a former rockstar catcher on his baseball team. Now he’s cynical, sarcastic, and bitter after a car crash left him paralyzed and his dad dead. He’s given up, sitting on the sidelines like a mascot. But there’s a few people who are determined to pick him up, dust him off, and convince him to get back in the game called life.
Soar by Joan Bauer
Jeremiah was abandoned in an office break room when he was 9 months old. Walter found him, adopted him, and stood by him when he needed a heart transplant. Now Jeremiah is in middle school and lives for baseball, but he can’t play. When he sees the terrible condition of the team, he decides to step in as coach.
King of the Bench: No Fear! By Steve Moore
Steve has no athletic ability, but he decides to try out for his school’s baseball team to please his dad. He does well enough to make the team, but during tryouts another kid is beaned in the nose and rushed to the hospital. Now Steve has a fear of the ball.
The DH by John Feinstein
This is the third book in the Triple Threat series. Alex Myers and Matt Gordon are teammates once again. Agents are all over Matt and he’s thinking about graduating at the end of his junior year to join the pros. Then Matt’s temper gets the best of him and he hits the batter in the head. He’s suspended for the rest of the season.
Baseball Great by Tim Green
Josh’s dad is controlling when it comes to baseball, so it’s no surprise when he pulls Josh from the school team to play for a league team where he has a better chance of being noticed by scouts. But Josh knows something is wrong when an older kid gives him a pill allowed by his new coach.
The Big Field by Mike Lupica
Hutch and his dad don’t have a good relationship. All Hutch wants is for his dad to take an interest in his baseball skills and be proud. Hutch is not happy about D-Will, the player who took his position as shortstop. He and Hutch have a growing jealousy that threatens the team as they head into the Florida championship game.
The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop
Before her sister died, Quinnen was the starting pitcher for her summer baseball team. Without her sister in the stands, she can’t play. It takes two players from her town’s minor league team to help her come to terms with her sister’s death, face her fear and get back in the game.
Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages (Historical)
11-year-old Kate pitches better than all the boys her age. After she makes the Little League team, she’s cut when the coach realizes she’s a girl. The rule manual clearly states that girls are not allowed in Little League. Kate’s determination to fight the rule leads to lots of research and interviews with the women who defied the gender barrier.
Goodbye, Mr. Spalding by Jennifer Robin Barr (Historical)
Jimmie Frank and his best friend Lola live in the row houses across from Shibe Field, home of the Philadelphia A’s. The country is in the throes of the Great Depression and money is tight. The row house rooftops offer a cheap, unobstructed view of the game, but Mr. Shibe isn’t happy about the money he’s losing in ticket sales.