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August 11, 2008

The Boy Who Saved Baseball

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The Boy Who Saved Baseball

Author: John H. Ritter      

Page Length: 216

Reading Level: 7

Genre: Fiction        

PLOT SUMMARY: Twelve-year-old Tom Gallagher is trying to save the old Lucky Strike Park in Dillontown from developers who want to build new houses and shopping centers.  The land and the park are both owned by Doc Altenheimer, Tom’s friendly old neighbor.

At a town meeting, Doc announces that he had planned on selling the land, which would bring him an income of $6 million dollars, but after speaking with Tom, had decided to let a baseball game decide the outcome.  The game is to be with the local Dillontown team and the new summer camp team. 

Tom and his parents start the town baseball camp the next morning with nine players—six boys and three girls.  The surprise player is Cruz de la Cruz, who rides in on his pony from the mountains.  He tells the group he is on a mission from God.  From that point on, Cruz becomes the leader of the team.  He convinces Tom to go with him to visit Dante del Gato, an old professional baseball player who led the San Diego Padres to the 1980 World Series, then quit baseball and became a recluse in the mountains outside Dillontown.

Dante agrees to help coach the team and practice begins!  Many of the townspeople back the team and Tom learns some history that happened between Dante and his mom years ago.

REVIEW:  This is a great book for baseball or any sport lover to read. The characters are carefully developed so that the reader can easily visualize each of them.  The story is fast-paced with an old baseball legend, a boy on a pony who carries a laptop, some physics and lots of baseball action.

Dante gives a great definition of anticipation on page 92 and tells why he quit baseball on page 116.  For all baseball fans, it is another story about “the love of the game.”

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast, Plot, Characters, Setting, Sequence of Events, Predictions

RELATED BOOKS: Choosing Up Sides, Over the Wall, Under the Baseball Moon

MOVIE CONNECTIONS:  “For the Love of the Game” (1999), “Field of Dreams” (1989), “The Sandlot” (1993), “The Natural” (1984)

RELATED WEBSITES: 6-8 Boy who saved baseball.pdf  

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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