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The Boy Who Saved Baseball Hardcover – May 12, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Cruz de la Cruz Series

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-This novel goes beyond the usual baseball story by introducing the deeper issue of big developers encroaching upon nature and small-town life in rural California. Doc Altenheimer, an 87-year-old apple rancher, seems to be ready to sell his 320 acres of prime real estate that makes up a good part of Dillontown and its baseball field. He surprises young Tom and the rest of the residents by proposing that the decision should ride on a baseball game between the locals and the well-equipped summer-camp team down the road. Despite the odds against Dillontown, a surprise ending is in store. Characters are colorful and intriguing. There is the villainous mayor who believes there will be great prosperity if new roads and expensive houses are built. A mysterious boy, Cruz de la Cruz, arrives on horseback claiming to know the secret of hitting, and brings hope and spirit back to the residents. He and Tom seek out an old baseball legend, Dante Del Gato, a recluse who walked away from the majors many years before, and convince him to be their coach. Ritter's descriptive passages will have readers feeling they are actually at the ballpark tasting the swirling dust amid the authentic Mexican food cooked by the supportive townspeople. Spanish phrases blend in unobtrusively throughout the saga. This tale is peppered with both optimism and dilemmas; it has plenty of play-by-play action, lots of humor, and a triumphant ending.
Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 5-7. Ritter delivers a baseball tale of legendary dimension, featuring several larger-than-life characters and a team of ordinary young folk tackling a seemingly insurmountable challenge in defense of a worthy cause. After old Doc Altenheimer promises not to sell his acres to developers if the local, ragtag summer camp can field a team that beats the nearby exurb's all-stars, along comes young Cruz de la Cruz, with a bat slung into a rifle holster on his saddle and a self-designed computer game that simulates the delivery of any pitch. Knowing they'll need more than that to be ready, 12-year-old benchwarmer Tom enlists gruff loner Dante del Gato, a renowned Major Leaguer who suddenly quit the game, as trainer. While local boosters turn the tumbledown practice field into a rolling fiesta, and eager reporters gather to watch, Tom and his fellow Wildcats find themselves playing better than they ever thought they could--good thing, too, as Cruz, his work done, disappears on game day, propelling Tom into the lineup for last-inning heroics. Developing both cast and multiple plotlines in suitably "wild and woolbacious" prose, Ritter dishes up another stellar read--topped off by a convincing Web site, http://www.cruz-on.com, apparently fabricated for the book, that adds verisimilitude. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel; First Edition edition (May 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399236228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399236228
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #797,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The name of the book I read was The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter. The main conflict in this book is that the whole town especially the people who have alot of money and own alot of land want to tear down the old Dillontown baseball field, but thier baseball team the wildcats dont and if they could beat the best team in the state they get to keep there baseball field. This is pretty much the main problem in the story.

I didnt really dislike anything in the book the author was very creative the only sad part is when doc dies but it is for a purpose. The book was very exciting. It was exciting because the author was vey creative with it and it allways left you hanging in a way. When I was reading I felt like I was tom because I have the exact same personality and he does what I would do. One of the best things about the book was its ending it was so creative, I love how the author thought ahead of time when he wrote the book.

This book is the first book I have ever read by this author and I loved it it was absolutely awesome in a couple of days I am going to look up his name in the library and read another one. Also the authors writing was so descriptive I felt like I was in the book as I said before. This authors writing style is my writing style I loved it. I also like how descrbed his characters and what there personalities were. They were perfect for each person.

If I had to rate this book I would give it a 3 thumbs up. After I read a book I always Say I loved I and give it a 5 star rating. Not that the books were bad I just didn't enjoy them as much as I enjoyed this one especially the ending.

I dont want to give anymore information out just in case your reading this. I would recomend this book to boy or girl at any age its a fantastic book. You have to read it!

By: Max Mordini
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Format: Hardcover
What's most brilliant about The Boy Who Saved Baseball is how John Ritter writes to adults and children at the same time. The kids get the story on their "Let's go you cowboys, computer geeks, and baseball fanatics against huge odds" level. But for adults, on the higher level, this is easily one of the deepest and most thought provoking baseball novels ever written.

So much is here. There's the lyrical language. There's the pure love of the California mountains ("A boy needs to read the earth. This is a truth older than the iron dust that redpaints the boulders. Older than the woolback mammoths that are fossiled in these hills.").

As the forlorn baseball campers ponder the night sky, Ritter weaves in a prophecy alluding to the Vachel Lindsay poem, "The Congo." Throughout the book, a self-described tramp, Hollis B (based on Lindsay's "The Tramp"), shows up to talk in prophetic verse, as a sort of Greek chorus, using a broken cell phone as cover so no one will report him as crazy or dangerous.

The characters are Mexican, Mexican-American, and Euro-American--without ever saying so--and are united. Not a big deal. Neither are the three girls (Maria is remarkable) who make up one third of the baseball team.

And the parody of the radio talkshow, which shows up to broadcast from the field, is classic, especially when Hollis B talks about his position on the controversy using a soliloquy based on Casey Stengal's historical (and hysterical) testimony before Congress regarding baseball's monopoly.

A deep and fun-loving novel for all, fan or not, this is a literary and storytelling gem. I highly recommend it.-Jenna Diaz, New York, NY.
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Format: Hardcover
I love this book! I?ve already read it three times and you have to to see all the cool stuff in it. I really like Cruz de la Cruz and Tom and Maria Flores. But del Gato is my hero because he is so honest and doesn?t care what people say. This book is a mystery and a legend and you never see the ending coming?you think you do but you don?t. That?s why I read it all over again. My dad loved it, too.
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A Kid's Review on February 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Tom Gallager finds himself in a tight spot! The fate of Dilltown is on this one baseball game, winner takes the field. Just because Tom Gallager had to open his big mouth.

Darn! if only Tom Gallager could get crazy old Dante Del Gato ( the best hitter ever known in baseball) to come down and coach his team. He lives high in the mountains of Dilltown and has not spoken to folks in years. Tom Gallager and Cruz Del La Cruz go up to his house and convince him to coach the team. Dante Del Gato has once played on Lucky Strike Field and doesn't want it to turn into a lake.

I think John H. Ritter was trying to tell me that even if you lose you still do good in all. But if one of your best players leaves you can still win the game against All-Stars. So try your best whenever you play a sport, in school, or doing your homework.

John H. Ritter's last Novel was lively and dramatic. I recommend this book to all ages and grades above . This book is a fun book to read in groups also, or on your own.
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Format: Hardcover
Hey reader, do you like underdog stories? If you do, you will enjoy The Boy Who Saved Baseball, by John H. Ritter. It is about a baseball team of friends that isn't very good that has to beat an extremely good rival team in order to save their town from being developed. Tom, (the main character) has to also find out why Dante Del Gato

quit baseball. You will become a fan of the Dillontown Wildcats baseball team by the end of this book. I recommend this book because it is very interesting and I had fun reading it.

If something seems impossible, but you try your hardest, you can achieve your goals, but have fun trying. When Tom and his friends were running down the big hill, most of the kids are laughing. Tom tries his hardest and works out in order to get better at baseball. They have a sleepover the night before the big game. When the team was losing, nobody gave up. The team always eats out together. This book really shows why you should never give up on anything.

You will literally become friends with these interesting characters, they are mostly all nice people. Tom isn't that great at baseball but is a friendly kid who helps out his neighbor, (Doc). Cruz de la Cruz is an excellent baseball player and tries to help all of his teammates become better baseball players. Doc is an old friendly neighbor who is read the box scores by Tom every morning. Dante Del Gato is an old grumbling man who used to play professional baseball but is now despised by the town... read the book and find out why! Maria is one of the few girls on the team. You will think that these characters are people that you know.

You will feel like every place in this book is real. This story takes place mostly in Dillontown, California and in the present.
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