Play Ball!


People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball.  I’ll tell you what I do: I stare out the window and wait for spring” (Rogers Hornsby)

Nary a week from today, the baseball season will be up and running.  One of the things I like most about the sport of baseball is how it can initiate so many different conversations about so many different topics.  Teamwork, history, statistics, players, analysis…all of those topics (and more!) are fair game for fans of all ages.  The baseball schedule encompasses 162 games over the course of six months (and potentially more if your favorite team makes the October playoffs!), so there is plenty of time to discuss those topics all throughout the summer!

Here are some brand new baseball-themed titles to kick-start those discussions, beginning with some fiction…

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Soar by Joan Bauer. 9780451470348. 2016. Grade 4-6.

Caught Stealing by Jake Maddox. 9781496504937. 2016. Grade 3-5.

The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson. 9780545804516. 2016. Grade 3-6.

No Relief by Rich Wallace. 9781624021343. 2016. Grade 4-6.

Lost Boy by Tim Green. 9780062317094. 2016. Grade 6-9.

The Only Game by Mike Lupica. 9781481409964. 2016. Grade 4-6

Home Run: A Baseball Great Novel by Tim Green. 9780062317117. 2016. Grade 5-8.

Game Seven by Paul Volponi. 9780142424292. 2016. Grade 9-12.


“Baseball, it is said, is only a game.  True.  And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.” (George F. Will)

Of course, baseball is a sport that stretches back over 100 years, so we can’t leave out the historical feats/players…

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National Baseball Hall of Fame Almanac. 9781932391640. 04/26/2016.

Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen. 9781451645798. 05/25/2016. Grade 11-Adult.

The Selling Of The Babe by Glenn Stout. 9781250064318. 2016. Grade 10-Adult.

The William Hoy Story: How A Deaf Baseball Player Changed The Game by Nancy Churnin. 9780807591925. 2016. Grade K-2.

Fall From Grace: The Truth & Tragedy of Shoeless Joe Jackson by Tim Hornbaker. 9781613219133. 05/03/2016.

Dingers: The 101 Most Memorable Home Runs by Joshua Shifrin. 9781613218310. 04/05/2016.

Herb Pennock: Baseball’s Faultless Pitcher by Keith Craig. 9781442252196. 04/16/2016.

50 Moments That Defined Major League Baseball by Rocco Constantino. 9781442260542. 05/16/2016.


“You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time” (Jim Bouton)

In recent years, the new trend in analyzing baseball is through statistics, rather than the “eye test”.  While statistics can always be a bit fickle, they have opened up an entirely new way of thinking about the game:

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Incredible Baseball Stats by Kevin Reavy. 9781613218945. 05/03/2016.

Baseball’s All-Time Best Sluggers: Adjusted Batting Performances by Michael J. Schell. 9780691171111. 05/23/2016. Adult.

Baseball Maverick by Steve Kettmann. 9780802125187. 04/12/2016.

Intangiball by Lonnie Wheeler. 9781451696028. 2015.

Change Up: How To Make The Great Game Of Baseball Even Better by Buck Martinez. 9781443440738. 2016.

Baseball Forecaster: An Encyclopedia Of Fanalytics by Ron Shandler. 9781629371382. 2016.


“Baseball was made for kids, and grown-ups only screw it up” (Bob Lemon)

Despite being a team sport, baseball also has some very interesting individual stars/personalities…

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Mike Trout: MLB Superstar by Paul Hoblin. 9781624038426. 2016. Grade 2-5.

Buster Posey by Jon M. Fishman. 9781467793841. 2016. Grade 2-5.

Miguel Cabrera: Triple Crown Winner by Don Rauf. 9781680480955. 2016. Grade 5-8.

Madison Bumgarner by Matt Scheff. 9781680780741. 2016. Grade 4-8.

Andrew McCutchen by Matt Scheff. 9781680780772. 2016. Grade 4-8.

David Ortiz: World Series Champion by Ryan Nagelhout. 9781680481006. 2016. Grade 5-8.

Who’s Who Of Pro Baseball by Matt Chandler. 9781491408926. 2016. Grade 2-5.


“A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings” (Earl Wilson)

Finally, as usual, I’ll leave off with some fun baseball titles that really can’t be put into any one category.  These titles run the gamut from how science/math affects the game, to the difficulty of umpires’ jobs, and even a cookbook of popular ballpark eats…

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My First Book Of Baseball. 9781618931672. 04/05/2016.

The Science Of Baseball by Matt Chandler. 9781491482186. 2016. Grade 2-5.

You’re The Umpire by Wayne Stewart. 9781634503488. 2016. Grade 11-Adult.

Ballpark Cookbook: The National League by Katrina Jorgensen. 9781491482339. 2016. Grade 2-5.

Ballpark Cookbook: The American League by Katrina Jorgensen. 9781491482322. 2016. Grade 2-5.

The Baseball Whisperer by Michael Tackett. 9780544387645. 07/05/2016.

The Dad Report: Fathers, Sons, & Baseball Families by Kevin Cook. 9780393352856. 06/14/2016.


“There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball.  The only problem–once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit” (Al Gallagher)

Zachv1  Zach K.