By: Glenn Stout
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: December 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: November 14, 2010
Professional baseball is a tough profession to break into - you need incredible talent, enormous dedication, and perhaps a little bit of luck thrown in for good measure. To have to deal with racism, sexism or religious hatred on top of that, and still succeed, requires a person of amazing determination. In Good Sports: Baseball Heroes, the author showcases four athletes who did just that.
The four players featured in this new book written for ages 8-12 are Hank Greenberg, Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela and Ila Borders. While much has been written about Robinson and the intolerable racism he had to deal with as the first African American playing in the major leagues, the other three players may not be well known to young readers.
The author gives an overview of each baseball star's early life, how they discovered baseball and the enormous dedication they had to practice, practice, practice, every chance they got. Stout makes it clear that while these four oozed talent, they still had to give up much in their lives to excel at baseball.
The overriding theme in this book is the tremendous obstacles the featured athletes overcame. Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg dealt with ignorance and anti-Semitism as he endured frequent taunts, not directed at his playing but at his Jewish heritage. Always upbeat, Greenberg kept a positive attitude as he endured ridicule over and over. Likewise, Ila Borders pitched an awesome game but was still chided by many because she was, in their eyes, a woman in a man's game. While the book got preachy in a few places, overall it was an interesting look into the lives of four famous baseball stars who young baseball fans should enjoy.
Quill says: A nice overview of four baseball players who endured much to play their favorite game.