Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: S
- Sacks, Marcy Goldberg. Martha Speaks: Play Ball! Based on a teleplay by Susan Kim and characters created by Susan Meddaugh. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2009. Dog teaches boy how to catch a baseball.
Pleasant junior reader with a clever ending.
- Salisbury, Graham. Under the Blood-Red Sun. 1994. New York: Yearling, 1995. Oahu, 1941-42: a Japanese-American family deals with ancestral tradition, loyalty to the US, racism, and paranoia.
The central character is a young ballplayer whose best friend tells him "If we ever needed baseball, it's right now" (189). As the multicultural Hawaiian community is rent by suspicion, baseball continues to unite kids of all ethnicities. A Scott O'Dell Award winner for best juvenile historical fiction.
- Schade, Susan. Baseball Camp on the Planet of the Eyeballs. See Buller.
- Schnur, Steven. The Koufax Dilemma. Illustrated by Meryl Treatner. New York: Morrow, 1997. Young southpaw is torn when his league schedules its opening game on the first night of Passover.
Earnest, straightforward depiction of the problems of divorce, step-parenting, and the balance between Jewish traditions and secular life.
- Scholz, Jackson. Batter Up. New York: Morrow, 1946. Rich kid struggles to make it in minors.
Diverting episodes include a wacky romp with a goat and a foiled kidnapping.
- Scholz, Jackson V. "Keystone Feud." (Boys' Life, 1949). Repr. Thomas, Fenner. Second baseman and shortstop fight like cats till a bizarre bus accident (foreshadowing the final scene of The Italian Job) forces them to cooperate.
- Schulz, Charles M. I've Been Traded for a Pizza? New York: HarperHorizon, 1998. Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty arrange the deal of the century: they swap right fielders, with a pizza as throw-in.
- Schweitzer, Gertrude. "We Go Together." 1947. In Owen (1948). An immigrant father watches his son assimilate to America by means of baseball.
Low-key and plausible psychologically, though there are no twists of plot or theme.
- Scott, Morgan. Rival Pitchers of Oakdale. New York: A. L. Burt, 1911. Three title twirlers vie for the honor of becoming Oakdale School's premier slabman.
In the end, all three combine to win the Big Game, but in the meantime they are preyed upon by a blackguardly city boy named Rackliff, who tempts them to envy one another and even to bet against their own school. Part of a series about the adventures of the Oakdale prep boys in various settings (Oakdale Boys in Camp, The Great Oakdale Mystery, &c.), this one has a certain plot interest despite its impossible vocabulary and blinkered social consciousness. (Morgan Scott is a pseudonym for Gilbert Patten, creator of the Frank Merriwell stories.)
- Shane, Sam, and Dan Marso. Rocky the Mudhen. Montclair, NJ: Rabbit Ears Press, 2004. Rookie makes good, teaching vocabulary all the while.
Familiar story with engaging messages on behalf of literacy and physical fitness.
- Shannon, David. How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball. New York: Blue Sky Press, 1994. Fantasia of a totalitarian America where baseball is prohibited, and the gumption of a child who restores baseball – and springtime – to the world.
Shannon's ominous illustrations are the central element of this large-format picture book.
- Sharmat, Marjorie Weinman. Nate the Great and the Stolen Base. Illus. Marc Simont. New York: Coward McCann, 1992. Title character hunts down a purple plastic octopus that kids have been using as second base.
A nice headlong plot keeps things moving in this junior reader.
- Sharp, Paul. Ramon el lanzador. Trans. Lada Josefa Kratky. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1990. [Mis Primeros Libros] Translation of Paul the Pitcher, 1984. Beginning reader with simple text and pictures that show the title character in vivid, contrasting situations.
- Sherman, Harold M. Bases Full! New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1928. [The Home Run Series] Diffident walk-on becomes ace reliever for State College.
Notable for an almost complete absence of blocking characters, as neurotic Ernie Powers gets encouragement from his musical roommate, a psych-major cheerleader, a charismatic debate coach, and even a defeated rival. Only the team's top starter shows some jealousy, and then not for long.
- Sherman, Harold M. "The Fly Chaser." (Boys' Life, May 1937). Repr. Thomas, Fenner. Sophomore outfielder's first game is his brother, a senior pitcher's, last.
And to win the respect of his big brother, our hero has to run into a fence and knock himself senseless while making a game-winning catch, naturally.
- Sherman, Harold M. Hit and Run! New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1929. [The Home Run Series] Beating other towns in baseball becomes the key to reconciling not only rival youth gangs but also their rival fathers.
Political themes are front and center in this book. It's all about social class; the characters are presumptively white and only one female character appears (a player's mother, briefly; but she's quickly told to keep quiet). In the end, democracy defeats the powers of coercion and oppression.
- Sherman, Harold M. Strike Him Out! New York: Goldsmith, 1931. Rival ballplayers – a pitcher and a batter – duel throughout high school and college; till the last climactic at bat, the batter has the pitcher's goat.
Routine tall corn. A publisher's preface assures us that Sherman's "heroes are the finest examples of sturdy American youth, lovers of sport and sportsmanship without being, in any sense of the word, 'sissies'."
- Sherman, Harold M. "Wild Pitch." (1939). Repr. Thomas. Reliever sits on the bench all season long, only to be summoned to save the Big Game.
Which he saves, resourcefully, by throwing an intentional wild pitch, hence the title.
- Shulman, Jeffrey. It's Your Turn at Bat. See Aiello.
- Siemiatycki, Jack, and Avi Slodovnick. The Baseball Card. Illustrated by Laura Watson. Montréal: Lobster, 2005. Kid learns the legend of a Babe Ruth card that was unbeatable at flipping, in this colorful large-scale picture book.
- Silliman, Leland. The Purple Tide. Illustrated by Joseph Bolden. Philadelphia: Winston, 1949. Multi-sport novel that follows the sportsmen of Oakmere High from a baseball season through an intervening football season and back to baseball again.
- Alfred Slote, prolific late-20th-century juvenile writer, has his own page in the Guide.
- Smith, Charles R, Jr. "Just Like Grampy." In Mercado. Young pitcher muses on his grandfather's mentoring as he faces a crucial batter.
Builds toward a heavily-fraught climax.
- Smith, Robert Kimmel. Bobby Baseball. Illustrated by Alan Tiegreen. New York: Delacorte, 1989. Kid with dreams of baseball stardom learns from his coach father that there's a limit to anyone's talent.
We've seen these themes before, but the scenes of the protagonist's temperamental reactions to losing and being benched are well-drawn.
- Sobol, Donald J. "The Case of the Secret Pitch." In Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Secret Pitch. Illustrated by Leonard Shortall. New York: Dutton, 1965. 7-15, 87. Renowned sleuth proves autograph fraudulent.
- Soto, Gary. "Baseball in April." In Baseball in April and Other Stories. San Diego, Harcourt, 1990. 13-22. Two brothers try out for Little League and fail; they join a pickup team but that team fails as a whole.
A nice illustration of the fact that you don't always win the Big Game – or any game, for that matter.
- Soto, Gary. Lucky Luis. Illustrated by Rhode Montijo. New York: Putnam [Penguin], 2012. Luis tries a new snack before every youth-league game: but what if the snacks run out?
The Unnecessary Talisman motif gets a new twist in this pleasant picture book. Luis's "tryouts" don't just consist of any old snack, or the same one over and over: he always has to try something new to get luck on his side (until of course he succeeds just fine without). Picky eaters may find their horizons broadened by the book's persuasion, at least till the final big at-bat.
- Spinelli, Jerry. "The Great Gus Zernial and Me." In Mercado. Orphan attends game at Shibe Park and sees the title hero hit a home run.
Subtly-done story that handles a potentially sentimental scene in a restrained way.
- Spinelli, Jerry. Maniac Magee. Boston: Little, Brown, 1990. Homeless kid becomes a legend when, among other things, he hits a frog for a home run and teaches an ex-minor-league pitcher to read.
Celebrated children's book with a strong sports theme and considerable baseball interest. Newbery Medal 1991.
- Sprague, Carter. "Double or Anything." In Margulies (1948). Big bonus rides on achieving a double-play record.
But what if the last one is a triple play instead?
- Stadler, John. Hooray for Snail! New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1984. Snail hits a home run that literally bounces off the moon, but he's such a slow runner that he is nearly tagged out at home anyway.
Delightful beginning reader, very amusing.
- Standish, Burt L. Lefty Locke Pitcher-Manager. Illustrated by Charles L. Wrenn. New York: Barse & Hopkins, 1916. Twirler turns skipper.
Includes an appalling range of racial and ethnic stereotypes. Part of a series featuring Lefty Locke (a pseudonym for [fictional] Phil Hazelton, just as "Burt L. Standish" is a pseudonym for Gilbert Patten, creator of the Frank Merriwell stories). Here, Locke takes on the management of the Blue Stockings, even though he's sure that some infamy is afoot. With the help of a deaf-mute pitcher named Mysterious Jones, who, surprisingly, is not all he seems to be, Lefty gets to the bottom of things and saves the club. Most of the book is taken up not with baseball but with front-office maneuverings and contract negotiations, reflecting public fascination with such things, which was as strong in the Federal-League era as in the 2000s. But there is one satisfying fistic donnybrook in a den of cocaine fiends.
- Steele, Michael Anthony. Forgotten Heroes. Illustrated by Al Fiorentino. Allen, TX: Big Red Chair Books, 1998. [Wishbone Mysteries #12] Everyone's favorite vicariously-literary telepathically-talking pooch helps solve the mystery of a town's rejection of its Negro League heroes of 1933.
- Starrett, Vincent. The Great All-Star Animal League Baseball Game. Illustrated by Kurt Wiese. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1957. Domesticates play wild things in a game umpired by an owl.
Winning line drawings by Wiese are the high point here.
- Stine, R. L. "How I Won My Bat." In Tales to Give You Goosebumps. New York: Scholastic, 1994. 67-78. The narrator, a junior-high slugger fighting a slump, accepts a lucky bat from a mysterious little man; when the bat brings success, he says he would do anything to keep it forever
Juvenile baseball Faust; maybe not original, but deftly told.
- Stolz, Mary. Coco Grimes. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. A boy and his grandfather trek across Florida to meet a Negro League veteran.
The title character (the veteran ballplayer) is well-evoked, but this intermediate chapter book lacks dramatic interest or plot tensions. For other versions of the theme, see Slote's Finding Buck McHenry, Steele's Forgotten Heroes, and Gorman & Findley's Stumptown Kid.
- Strong, Paschal N. "Behind the Plate." (Boys' Life, 1937). Repr. Fenner. Headstrong pitcher will not follow his veteran catcher's signs, until the Big Game forces him to embrace teamwork.