Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: G
- Gantos, Jack. Joey Pigza Loses Control. New York: Farrar, 2000. "Wired" kid takes over as ace pitcher for his alcoholic dad's PAL team, but soon experiences the title problem.
Harrowing look at a kid who, despite considerable psychological problems, is far better to cope with life than his parents and his grandmother. See Joey Pigza at lection.
- Garfield, Henry. Tartabull's Throw. New York: Atheneum, 2001. Left-handed second baseman gets released, then gets another chance in an alternative reality.
One stocked with werewolves and time warps, including one of the cleverest braidings of historical and fantastic strands of time in any baseball novel. Very much on the Adult end of the Young Adult spectrum, a terrific read for older teens and grown-ups. See my review at lection.
- Garis, Howard R. See Lester Chadwick.
- Gartner, John. "Winning Pitcher." The Open Road for Boys. In Owen (1948). Top pitcher becomes academically ineligible, but his low grades are revealed as a conspiracy to disqualify him.
Strange little yarn, told in the first person by a schoolboy full of outré slang and Latin tags.
- Giff, Patricia Reilly. Left-Handed Shortstop. Illustrated by Leslie Morrill. New York: Delacorte Press, 1980. Walter Moles and Casey Valentine share science projects, but run into trouble when Walter, no athlete, must play for his school team in the Big Game.
Slight but pleasant plot with physical comedy and a settling of the young protagonists into appropriate pre-adult roles. For another kids' book with an inept athlete as protagonist, see Park's Skinnybones.
- Giff, Patricia Reilly. Ronald Morgan Goes to Bat. Illustrated by Susanna Natti. New York: Viking Kestrel, 1988. A hopeless ballplayer learns to try again, with some encouragement from his parents.
Pleasant picture book.
- Gilchrist, Beth Bradford. The School Team on the Diamond. See Earl.
- Gordon, Sharon. Play Ball, Kate! Illustrated by Don Page. Basic reader describes the central character playing a ballgame.
Nice illustrations with little plot or humor.
- Gorman, Carol & Ron J. Findley. Stumptown Kid. Atlanta: Peachtree, 2005. In the 1950s, an Iowa sandlotter and an ex-Negro-Leaguer befriend each other.
Another entry in the growing list of baseball books that pair a white kid and a black mentor. Gorman is a prolific children's writer, Findley a prominent figure in Iowa baseball and softball circles.
- Gorman, S.S. Home Run Stretch. "The High-Fives" series. New York: Minstrel, 1991. The slugging hero of the "High-Fives" baseball team is dismayed when a new coach stresses teamwork; he briefly defects but is won back to the coach's philosophy.
Baseball elements are vague here, as the story is in the service of a socially important message about the value of teamwork and cooperation.
- Gratz, Alan. The Brooklyn Nine. New York: Dial, 2009. Nine vignettes trace connections between baseball and Brooklyn in nine generations of a single family.
Except that it isn't a family for more than a few generations at a time; by the final story, set in 2002, the objects we have encountered in the first eight stories, dating back to 1845, have become inscrutable mysteries to the last of the lineage. Gratz pauses at some places familiar from Dan Gutman's Baseball Card Adventures (Abner Doubleday, segregated baseball, the AAGPBL), but also in some less-frequented byways of baseball history (King Kelly, Babe Herman).
- Gratz, Alan. Samurai Shortstop. New York: Dial, 2006. In the wake of the Meiji Emperor's proscription of the samurai order, the son of an ex-samurai applies training in bushido to baseball, and ultimately wins his reactionary father around to the sport.
Highly original, Gratz's novel tries to mesh precise historical detail with a feel for the cultural significance of sport at a time of great change in Japan. The result is a fiction with old-fashioned antecedents, like the early 20th-century schoolbound sport fiction of William Heyliger and Ralph Barbour, but with a completely novel setting.
- Green, Tim. Baseball Great. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. Son of a washed-up minor leaguer is pressured by his dad to join a high-profile traveling team: do the youngsters get their edge from steroids?
Green, a prolific writer of genre fiction, spins a pretty good adventure yarn here as a pair of young sleuths crack a steroid ring. The pressures of high-stakes youth baseball are presented vividly, but the answer seems to be that as long as we keep steroids out of the picture, there's nothing wrong with a team of under-twelves getting a big sponsorship from Nike.
- Greenburg, Dan. My Grandma, Major-League Slugger. Illustrated by Jack E. Davis. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 2001. [The Zack Files] The narrator's 88-year-old grandmother hits the winning home run for the White Sox against the Red Sox, with some help from the ghost of Babe Ruth.
In each installment of this series, Zack encounters some off-beat and mildly occult phenomenon.
- Grey, Zane. The Short-stop. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1909. A young ballplayer throws up his regular job that has been the sole support of his family, and seeks (and finds) his fortune on the diamonds of the Midwest.
Not much plot interest here; baseball forms a convenient backdrop for a number of young-hero-makes good motifs.
- Grey, Zane. The Young Pitcher. New York: Harper, 1911. A hero from a different Grey novel (The Young Forester, 1910) arrives at "Wayne College" to study--what else?--forestry--and finds that his true calling is to make the varsity baseball team and be elected its Captain.
The theme of teamwork dominates a novel that may well contain lots of realistic period baseball action; Grey played college ball at Penn.
- Griffin, Geoffrey. The Magic Bat. Illustrated by Don Weller. Austin: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, 1995. A kid can't hit till he finds a magic bat; naturally, the bat helps his confidence without adding anything really magical.
Standard theme, made more interesting because the author was twelve years old when he wrote the story.
- Grosser, Morton. The Fabulous Fifty. New York: Atheneum, 1990. Club of teens wins a newspaper contest in 1921 South Philadelphia: a trip to the Giants-Yankees World Series.
The second half of the novel, describing the deluxe trip to New York, flags a little, but the first half is a lovingly detailed look at second-generation kids from various immigrant groups, Americanizing in tentative ways, and, naturally, using baseball to do so.
- Dan Gutman, prolific series writer, has his own page in the Guide.