When I was a kid I used to read pretty much anything and everything I could get my hands on. I wasn’t particularly discriminatory when it came to subject matter — as long as the story was good, I was interested. For example, for someone who was never a huge sports fan, I read an oddly large number of books by Matt Christopher, an author who wrote novels exclusively about boys playing sports. (Actually, I think he wrote some about girls, too, later on, but I never got to those). I just remember there being a lot of stories about baseball. My favourite of his books was ‘The Kid Who Only Hit Homers’. The last time I read it was so long ago I can barely remember the details, but here’s the synopsis:
The plot of the book revolves around a boy named Sylvester Coddmeyer III, who is having trouble hitting on his little league baseball team. One day, Sylvester meets a mysterious stranger named George Baruth, who promises to make Sylvester the best player on his team. After meeting Baruth, Sylvester begins hitting home runs in literally all of his plate appearances. When his friend “Snooky” tries to convince him this mysterious man was just a figment of his imagination, Sylvester Coddmeyer III tries to prove to him the truth. But the question left unanswered was “Who was Mr. George Baruth?”
I mean, first of all, the main character’s name is fantastic — Sylvester Coddmeyer III. Like, are you kidding me? This is a book geared towards readers aged 8-10. When I was that age, everyone I knew was named “Zack” or “Alex” or whatever. Nothing nearly so grand as SC3. Secondly, isn’t that a great premise for a book? A mysterious man endows the protagonist with special powers that enable him to excel on the sports field. What little kid wouldn’t love the idea of that? Matt Christopher, you genius. Well done, sir. Also, can I just say that I enjoy this “Snooky” character, with his attempts to introduce a little skepticism into the mix. Go home, Snooky! No room for such rationality here, thank you very much.
Also, can we talk about how AMAZING it is that the Spanish word for “homeruns” is…”jonrones”…?
I mean, the fact that the Spanish word for “baseball” is “beísbol” already makes me absurdly happy…but this might just be even better.