- Age Range: 6 and up
- Grade Level: 1 and up
- Lexile Measure: AD920L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Lee & Low Books; First Edition edition (March 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1584302690
- ISBN-13: 978-1584302698
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.5 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,705,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer Hardcover – March, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5–This picture book offers a rousing introduction to the life of the first Native American to play major league baseball. Hooked on the game from age 12, Sockalexis, a member of Maine's Penobscot tribe, won an athletic scholarship to Holy Cross College and was signed by the Cleveland Spiders in 1897. Despite the disapproval of his father, who felt that his son should stay with his people instead of traveling the country with a ball team, Sockalexis was determined to play. Though he faced discrimination both on and off the field, his rookie season started strong. The narrative focuses on his first visit to the famed Polo Grounds stadium, home to the New York Giants and their ace pitcher, Amos Rusie. An afterword points out that though Sockalexis's career was tragically shortened by an injury, his efforts opened the door for Native American players such as Charles Albert Bender and Jim Thorpe. Wise and Farnsworth collaborate to great effect in rendering this story both informative and poignant. The color-drenched paintings do an excellent job of bringing this period to life and capturing the intense emotion of the ballpark drama. This finely crafted look at a little-known sports pioneer should intrigue a wide audience of readers.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
There are a number of books about the difficulties African American baseball players faced in their efforts to participate in America's pastime. Here's the story of a Native American, who also dealt with prejudice in the early days of the game. The book begins with a dramatic moment. The New York Giants are playing the Cleveland Spiders on June 16, 1897, at the Polo Grounds. Louis Sockalexis of Maine, a member of the Penobscot tribe, hits a homer off the Hoosier Thunderbolt Amos Rusie. The book goes on to chronical Sockalexis' youth and then follows his brief time in the majorscut short by injury and alcoholism. The history is limned in somewhat awkward and sentimental prose. However, the story of the Penobscot boy who fell in love with baseball and endured the jeers and taunts of crowds and teammates is illustrated powerfully by Farnsworth, who uses oil paint and a golden sepia glow to evoke the time and the sport. The Cleveland Spiders became the Cleveland Indians, and some think it is because of Sockalexis. DeCandido, GraceAnne A.
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Top Customer Reviews
When Louis was a boy, it didn't matter that he was an Indian when he swung that bat or fielded that ball. It was a "magical" time that took him away from the problem of being a social outcast living on a reservation in little more than a dump. When he wasn't helping his father with logging, he practiced every opportunity he could and excelled at baseball in school and ultimately won a scholarship to Holy Cross. Louis Sockalexis, "The Savage," made it to the majors, but would he have the heart and the guts to overcome the prejudice he would encounter? "Get a tomahawk, not a bat!" Could words defeat his spirit and ruin his game?
This story of Louis was heartwarming, exciting and swept me back through history to experience the excitement of a single game in baseball history. Bill Farnsworth's art work has a subtle nostalgic look to it and adds a lot to the tale. In the afterword, Bill Wise has penned an informative two page biography of this historical Penobscot Indian. This is a wonderful book!
This exciting and informative book is sure to be a hit with young readers who appreciate sports biographies that focus on obstacles and opportunities.