Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: T
- Tavares, Matt. Mudball. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2005. During a long-ago ballgame played in a downpour, an unprepossessing little ballplayer becomes a walkoff – or perhaps, splashoff – hero.
Stylish large-scale drawings capture the sheer fun of a squishy baseball vignette.
- Tavares, Matt. Oliver's Game. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2004. Grandfather tells grandson of a big-league dream interrupted by war.
Sober, affecting story with an upbeat turn; well-handled material.
- Tavares, Matt. Zachary's Ball. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2000. Souvenir foul ball becomes the gateway to a boy's dreams.
Drawings that show the heavy influence of Chris Van Allsburg illustrate this mild Walter-Mitty story where all baseballs are magic.
- Taylor, Ned. "King of the Wild West's Fatal Inshoot; or, Stella Gives Fair Warning." Rough Rider Weekly 167 (29 June 1907): 1-28. Tiny mascot with a trick pitch helps the Broncos to victory when their ace pitcher Ted Strong is kidnapped by desperate gamblers.
Amateurism and pluck save the day when Ted Strong, "King of the Wild West," confronts gamblers who have been fixing games in the Northern States Cattle League by signing professional ballplayers who don't know one end of a steer from the other. Most of this dime-novel installment is concerned with Ted's ordeal in an oubliette after the rogues abduct him. But to quote a testimonial in the back of this week's issue, "It is because the stories in the 'Rough Rider Weekly' do not have impossible characters and wild, extravagant incidents that it has reached its present height of popularity."
- Teague, Mark. The Field Beyond the Outfield. New York: Scholastic, 1992. A child complains about monsters in his closet; when his parents sign him up for Little League to make him less fearful, he finds monsters in the stands and beyond the fence.
Fantasy triumphs over reality again, as so often is the case with baseball. A highly-regarded picture book for younger readers.
- Testa, Maria. "Smile Like Jeter." In Mercado. When he loses the shortstop job on his youth-league team to a girl, the narrator dons the "tools of ignorance"; from behind the plate, he learns humility and teamwork.
Told as a sequence of short free-verse poems.
- Thurman, Jim. The Case of the Unnatural. See Connell.
- Tocher, Timothy. Bill Pennant, Babe Ruth, and Me. Chicago: Cricket [Carus], 2009. Young ballplayer gets two jobs at the 1920 Polo Grounds: minding a wildcat mascot when the Giants are in town, and minding a fun-loving slugger when the Yankees are.
Deftly-woven sequel follows on the action of Chief Sunrise. Though the vantage of the Polo Grounds in 1920 lets hero Hank Cobb witness the feats of Babe Ruth and the killing of Ray Chapman, the action comes naturally out of his association with the otherwise unmemorable 1920 Giants. Tocher gives us a toned-down, gruff/gentle John McGraw, still mentoring his young charge wisely.
- Tocher, Timothy. Chief Sunrise, John McGraw, and Me. Chicago: Cricket, 2004. Itinerant young ballplayer joins forces with a spectacular Indian pitcher who is determined to play for the 1919 New York Giants.
Cleverly plotted elaboration of the Charles Grant experiment. Tocher weaves history and fiction well in a Young Adult novel that respects its audience's intelligence and provides picaresque adventure to complement understated social commentary.
- Tolle, Jean Bashor. The Great Pete Penney. New York: Atheneum, 1979. Girl pitcher gets an unhittable curveball courtesy of a baseball-mad leprechaun.
The inevitable rule in children's sport fiction where the hero or heroine gets a magic assist is that at some point the magic is withdrawn, and he or she succeeds without it. Nor does Pete Penney avoid this formula, though the novel is rather subdued for a magic-leprechaun story.
- Tooke, Wes. King of the Mound. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012. Young pitcher recovers gradually from polio under the tutelage of Satchel Paige.
Historical novel that works well along several axes: multiculturalism, gender, social justice, disability, and just plain sport story (though, oddly enough for baseball fiction, the team is never much in danger of losing any game it plays). Read more on King of the Mound at lection.
- Torrey, Richard. Beans Baker, Number Five. New York: Golden Books, 2001. [Road to Reading] Jinxed by an unlucky uniform number, Beans has to summon up courage in the clutch.
- Tracy, Don. "Most Valuable Player." In Margulies (1948). Angry young star who would rather be raising pigs finds himself at war with press, fans, and teammates.
Until an attractive young woman writer stands up for him, writing an article about how Joe Palmer "had opened up an entirely new field of hog culture" and endearing him to the public.
- Trueman, Terry. 7 Days at the Hot Corner. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. Third-base prospect must cope with his best friend's coming out.
Reasonable handling of contemporary Young Adult themes, though the baseball in the novel is not convincing, seeming layered over a relatively independent story of high-school homophobia.
- Tryon, Leslie. Albert's Ballgame. New York: Atheneum, 1996. A team of animals in the community of Pleasant Valley plays baseball every spring.
Lavishly illustrated book in a picture series about goose Albert and his friends; a pleasant text in a nice jangling doggerel style.
- Tunis, John R. has his own page in the Guide.
- Turner, Ann. Hard Hit. New York: Scholastic, 2006. Young pitcher faces his toughest challenge when his father is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Familiar story made interesting by its narrative use of spare free verse.