Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: H
- Halacy, D.S., Jr. "Strictly by Instinct." Repr. The Boys' Life Book of Baseball Stories. (1964). Right-handed pitcher has no success till he's inadvertently outed as a lefty.
- Hall, Donald. When Willard Met Babe Ruth. Illustrated by Barry Moser. San Diego: Harcourt, 1996. Babe Ruth's baseball career is told in counterpoint to the life of a New Hampshire boy growing to manhood.
The striking illustrations are the best part of this book; despite Hall's credentials as a poet and baseball writer, the text is somewhat dry and expository.
- Hallowell, Tommy. Duel on the Diamond. New York: Puffin, 1990. [Alden All Stars] Teammates on a youth-league club quarrel, then patch it up for the good of the club.
Formulaic entry in a series where a group of friends play a different sport in each novel.
- Hanft, Philip. Never Fear, Flip the Dip is Here. Illustrated by Thomas B. Allen. New York: Dial, 1991. An inept ballplayer is mentored by an artist.
The inept young ballplayer is white but with an absent father; the artist, a sensitive ex-pro athlete, is black. It's an oddly persistent theme in children's books (see Slote and others linked there).
- Hano, Arnold. The Big Out. New York: A.S. Barnes, 1951. [A Barnes Sports Novel] Veteran catcher suspended from the bigs for shielding his brother's misbehavior finds redemption in an outlaw league.
Very grown-up juvenile, typical of its period, with a gritty message and large dollops of corn on the side.
- Harris, Jeff. Danger in Center Field. See Willie Mays.
- Haven, Paul. Two Hot Dogs with Everything. Illustrated by Tim Jessell. New York: Random House, 2006. Young fan's unearthing of ancient bubble gum in long-dead tycoon's mysterious mansion results in unprecedented success for the ball club the tycoon once owned.
By Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out of Angels in the Outfield.
- Hawthorne, Rachel. The Boyfriend League. New York: HarperTeen, 2007. When a local ballclub is quartered on a town, a "tomboy" teen girl develops a crush on "the hot pitcher."
- Hayes, Florence. Skid. Illustrated by Elton C. Fax. Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press, 1948. Young black ballplayer, captain of his segregated school team in Georgia, relocates to Connecticut and has to prove himself in an otherwise all-white school.
An example of a kind of vigorous (if somewhat bland) multiculturalism in postwar children's literature; among the author's other books were Hosh-Ki, The Navaho and The Burro Tamer. Here, segregation is the theme on almost every page -- never its murderous aspects, but its steady grind of denial and exclusion.
- Haynes, Mary. The Great Pretenders. New York: Bradbury Press, 1990. Moving from Chicago to the DC suburbs is hard on Molly Hamilton; when the local girls won't let her play baseball with them, she wins them over with a pantomime baseball routine.
Character-driven intermediate novel that could use a thicker plot.
- Heide, Florence Parry. See Alex B. Allen.
- Hernandez, Keith. First-Base Hero. Illustrated by John Manders. New York: Golden Books, 2002. A kid dreams of baseball heroism and achieves sandlot success.
Cleverly-done flaps and pop-ups add to the appeal of this picture book.
- Herzig, Alison Cragin. The Boonsville Bombers. Illustrated by Dan Andreasen. New York: Viking, 1991. A girl wants to play for her brother's sandlot team, but he won't let her until she trades a valuable baseball card for the opportunity; later, the siblings get a chance to meet the star featured on that card.
Pleasant short chapter book.
- Herzog, Brad. H is for Home Run: A Baseball Alphabet. Illustrated by Melanie Rose-Popp. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2004. Picture book includes light verse, vocabulary-building text, and background information on 26 baseball topics.
Rich with content for young fans.
- Heuman, William. "Bullpen Catcher." Repr. The Boys' Life Book of Baseball Stories. (1964). Overweight backup scores winning run.
- Heuman, William. Horace Higby and the Scientific Pitch. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1968. Brainy lad helps classmates by inventing an unhittable pitch.
Agreeable if quickly-dated Space-Race era story. Read about Horace Higby at lection.
- Heuman, William. "Our Fabulous Frenchman." Repr. The Boys' Life Book of Baseball Stories. (1964). Clueless Canadian helps school team win Big Game in spite of himself.
- Heyliger, William. The Captain of the Nine. New York: Appleton, 1912. When the 'Varsity captain resigns, the St. Mary's nine chooses a pitcher to replace him -- sending the second baseman into high dudgeon.
The Captain of the Nine alternates baseball game action with a fussy narrative of bitter jealousies. Second baseman Mellen, "nursing a grouch," does everything he can to undermine the captaincy of pitcher Bartley, including faking a telegram to Bartley's catcher so that the receiver will miss the Big Game. The cad.
- Heyliger, William. "Too Many Cooks." In Thomas (1950). Know-it-all teammate tries to perfect the style of a natural hitter, with disastrous results.
- Higdon, Hal. The Horse that Played Center Field. New York: Holt, 1969. Ballplaying horse leads team of underachievers to pennant.
Oscar the horse is what statheads would call a "toolsy" player: he has great speed and great range in center, but he bats .000/.000/.000. He is mainly a talisman: once his teammates see that they're being outplayed by a horse, they shake off their bad habits. A light burlesque of sport-juvenile formulas.
- Hill, Frank Ernest. The Kid Who Batted 1.000. See Allison.
- Hirsch, Danny, and S.A. Katz. The Secret Portrait. New York: Big Smile, 2005. [by "Marc John Jefferies"; Secret Agent MJJ, Book #2] Crime-fighting secret-agent kid teams with big-league star to solve the mystery of a portrait hidden somewhere underground in New York City.
- Hiser, Constance. Dog on Third Base. Illustrated by Carolyn Ewing. New York: Holiday House, 1991. Sandlotters improvise a ballfield, to the extent of using a dog as one of the bases.
Other plot motifs in this first-chapter-book include a crusty old lady who's soft at heart and a magical bat that turns out to be ordinary.
- Holt, Stephen. "Smoke Arm." (1945). Repr. Thomas. Prep pitcher fears beaning opponents till a determined girl makes him forget about the batter and concentrate on a target -- her red blazer.
- Honig, Donald. Winter Always Comes. New York: Four Winds, 1977. High-school star takes a huge bonus to play pro ball, and then has to learn to deal with the needling of fans, sportswriters, and his manager.
Convincing study of a young player learning to accept constructive criticism.
See also Honig's adult fiction.
- Hooker, Richard. "Weird Windup." The Open Road for Boys. In Owen (1948). Infuriatingly mannered pitcher gets a shot in the championship game.
- Hooks, William H. Mr. Baseball. Illustrated by Paul Meisel. New York: Bantam, 1991. [Bank Street Ready-to-Read] A youth-leaguer's tag-along little brother is annoying, but soon finds his niche as waterboy and mascot.
Agreeable basic reader.
- Hopkinson, Deborah. Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings. Illustrated by Terry Widener. New York: Atheneum, 2003. Young Alta Weiss becomes a female pitching prodigy.
Colorful celebration of Weiss's journey from small-town Ohio to semi-pro baseball to the medical profession.
- Hopper, James. Coming Back with the Spitball: A Pitcher's Romance. New York: Harper, 1914. An ex-big-league pitcher descends to the Prune Pickers of the Class D Interior League, but finds his stuff again with the help of the team's one-legged midget mascot.
This one has some fun with a formula that creaked terribly even back in 1914. Interesting are the illustrations by Paul Thompson: they are staged or appropriated photographs of baseball scenes, not drawings or paintings.
- Houran, Lori Haskins. Flat Stanley at Bat. Illustrated by Macky Pamintuan. New York: HarperCollins, 2012. [I Can Read! 2: Reading With Help. Created by Jeff Brown.] Everyone's favorite waferthin traveler takes up youth-league baseball.
Flat Stanley is, of course, as thick as cardboard, so he has some advantages at baseball: hard to pitch to and able to float on thermals, which gives him a high OBP and excellent dWAR in centerfield. But stung by teasing, Stanley bulks up (thanks to some socks and other items stuffed into his jersey), and gains power at the expense of speed. Honestly, it's very hard not to read this picture book in 2013 as anything other than an allegory of steroids, but that can't be what the authors intend, and it all ends innocently enough with Stanley the hero of the game despite his new musclebound build.
- Hubler, John O. "The Wrong Game." The Open Road for Boys. In Owen (1948). When his error harms his school's chances at a city trophy, an outfielder turns hurdler to redeem himself.
- Hughes, Dean. Brad and Butter Play Ball! Illustrated by Layne Johnson. New York: Random House, 1998. [A Stepping Stone Book] Two best friends play on a youth league team called the Rug Bugs.
A first-chapter-book. Not exceptionally coherent.
- Hughes, Dean. Making the Team. Illustrated by Dennis Lyall. New York: Knopf, 1989. [Angel Park All Stars #1] Three young ballplayers try out for a youth-league club and make the squad, to the annoyance of some older players.
This book kicked off a long-running series. The story is quite routine but the descriptions of game action are above average.
- Hughes, Dean. Team Picture. 1996. New York: Aladdin, 1998. A youth-league pitcher copes with his foster-father and his first girlfriend, and learns how to align his individual goals on the field with those of his team.
A sequel to Hughes's novel Family Pose, this one is standard Young Adult fare in the 1990s vein of struggles to cope with the implications of various family fracturings. All such novels, I believe, are really about divorce, but like others this one all but avoids the issue: the central character's parents are dead (in a fiery drunken car crash, of course, underlining a temperance message), and his girlfriend's father is in prison for white-collar crime. Only the foster father is divorced, and that is a marginal element in the novel.
- Hurwitz, Johanna. Baseball Fever. Illustrated by Ray Cruz. New York: Morrow, 1981. A boy can't relate to his father because his father can't relate to baseball--until some unexpected twists bring them together.
Classic theme, made complicated here by interesting characters and family dynamics.