Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fiction and Baseball

There's nothing like the crack of a bat to usher in spring. Here in Minnesota, snow still coats much of the ground, and they're predicting snow for tonight.

But we don't care.

In one day we'll be singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and we'll be cheering on the M&M boys, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Personally, I can't wait.

But, just because baseball is coming, doesn't mean we need to give up reading. One of life's greatest pleasures is sitting outside, drinking lemonade, and listening to the game on the radio, all while reading a book.

To get you in the mood, I've found a few novels that combine our national pastime with story--books for all tastes.

book 2 in the Lake Manawa Summers Series
by Lorna Seilstad

Revell, May 2011
368 pages

If a never-grow-up baseball player strikes out with a spunky suffragette, Independence Day may take on a whole new meaning.

When twenty-two year old Emily Graham’s meddlesome aunts and grandmother take it upon themselves to find her a husband among the Lake Manawa resort guests, the spunky, slightly clumsy suffragette is determined to politely decline each and every suitor. Busy working in the suffrage movement, she has neither the time nor the need for a man in her life. The “cause” God has called her to is much too important.

Carter Stockton, a recent college graduate and a pitcher for the Manawa Owls, intends to enjoy every minute of the summer at Lake Manawa before he is forced into the straight-laced, dawn-to-dusk business world of his stern father. He has no plans for romance until Emily crashes into his life at a roller skating rink.

When subterfuge and distrust interfere with their budding romance, will the pitcher strike out completely? Or will the suffragette find strength in her faith and cast her vote for a love that might costs her dreams?

by Richard Doster

David C. Cook, March 2008
348 pages

The spring of ’53 started out like any other for sports columnist Jack Hall, as he and the rest of his small southern town, Whitney, eagerly awaited the magical first pitch that would open the Bobcat’s season. But when ticket sales wane with the new distractions of air conditioning and I Love Lucy, the Bobcats face an early end not only to the season but to their careers as well. The team needs a white knight to save them and ironically, that white knight seems to be a 17 year old "colored kid", Percy Jackson, who’s got a .364 batting average and has never seen a grounder he couldn’t chase down.

Not everyone—not even most people—though can wrap their heads around an integrated baseball field, even if they have seen them on TV. This is Whitney. Things don’t change and they don’t need to change. Do they?

Hearts, minds, faith and tradition will be tested as will friendships and marriages when this sleepy southern town comes to grips with itself amid the early years of the Civil Rights Movement.

by Lindi Peterson

Bell Bridge Books, March 2011
204 pages

Allison Doll’s mother is rebelliously turning fifty, her two best friends have started dating and a gorgeous injured relief pitcher has joined her Sunday school class rocking her world into confusion, heartache and temptation, places she hasn’t visited in a long time, much less all at once.

But with the help of family, old friends she really hasn’t lost, a new friend she really can count on, and God, she finds herself no longer a girl waiting for life to happen, but a girl who’s ready to commit to her best catch!

by Rusty Whitener

Kregel Publications, August 2010
272 pages

The 1971 Little League season is Zack Ross's last chance to win a championship---and new kid, Rafer, could make that happen. Sure, he's different---but he can really hit a baseball! When Rafer is hospitalized, the team's determined to gain the trophy in his honor. Will Zack learn there's more to life than winning or losing?

by Allison K. Pittman

Multnomah Books, April 2011
352 pages

The Roaring Twenties are anything but carefree for disfigured veteran Cullen and his senile mother, Betty Ruth---until fun-loving flapper Lilly scales a wall and falls face-first onto their property! When Betty Ruth prophesies that Cullen will be healed if he returns to his first love---baseball---the three embark on a winning journey of faith.

Also check out Allison Pittman's STEALING HOME.

by John Nemo

JNB Books, December 2007
240 pages

A story of fathers, sons and baseball, along with the eternal choice every man must one day face ...

The crowd of 45,000 rises as one, chanting his name. Veteran pitcher Cody King takes the mound for Game Seven of the World Series, unaware these nine innings will mark the end of his troubled existence. With each pressure-packed pitch, King confronts a past - from being abandoned by his teenage mother to keeping his wife's love from fading away - filled with tragedy and talent. And before he flings his final fastball into the cool autumn air, King, a fatherless son who grew up to become one of the game's greatest pitchers, will have to face the one true father he's never known.

by Merrilee Whren

Steeple Hill, January 2011
224 pages

A pair of rowdy boys would be exhausting for two parents—little wonder single mom Melanie Drake feels overwhelmed. Her sons are her world, but she knows she needs a helping hand to keep them in line. Enter Nathan Keller—respected banker, descendant of the town's founding father…and baseball coach. Melanie knows he's out of her league, but as her sons learn to love Coach Nathan, Melanie starts falling for him, too. With the whole town rooting for happily ever after, it won't be long before this hometown dad joins their family for good.


  1. Great job of collecting these stories about "the boys of summer", Brenda.

    Wow: I love the cover of Her Best Catch. Yeah, baby. ;)

  2. Nicole, it was fun combining two of my favorite subjects. Now, I'm eagerly awaiting the first pitch tonight. I LOVE baseball season.

    Isn't Lindi's cover great? Very eye-catching. (It's her debut novel, btw.) I also love The King's Game. If I were just browsing through books, I'd pick that one up.

  3. Brenda,I loved Lorna's first book and I can't wait for the next one.
    Great review.
    And thanks for stopping in at Seekerville.

  4. Mary,

    I know you'll love A GREAT CATCH. Lorna does such a good job of creating a great story and spicing it with wit. She constantly has me laughing out loud. I believe she'll be a reader favorite for many years.

    BTW, Mary, I love Seekerville ( I usually lurk, but I glean so much info off of all of you. Thanks for creating a fun & informative site.