Other reviews with less emphasis on baseball
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The Brooklyn Nine Alan Gratz
The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz - This is the story of the Schneider family told through nine innings of baseball. Nine innings nine generations. There story begins in 1845 with 10 year old German who immigrates to Brooklyn, NY. The Schneider's, (down the line daugthers are born and the last name changes) loves the game of baseball, it's in their blood. The nine Schneider's all get three chapters (at bats) to tell their story. It was easy for me to lose myself in this novel. Yes, its partly because I love baseball but Gratz has created fully developed characters. A lot of research went into this novel. From the baseball stand point, as the decades past, the rules of baseball as we known today are flushed out. In 1864 some Union soldier's including Louis Schneider, take a break to play a game. They agree that catching the ball on the fly is an out (new fly rule) but they vote gets Ned Cuthbert's introduction of stolen bases. In 1908 Arnold Schneider watches a came played by Black players who pretend they're Cuban so White hotel guest can enjoy the game without having to admit they're watching Negroes play. Though Arnold can see the talent of the pitcher, he calls the game for what it is, a minstrel show. Arnold tries to sneak the Black pitcher into the league claiming he's Native American. Black players putting on silly shows, or crazy outfits while playing or pretending to be anything but Black so they could play in the majors is a large part of baseball history. Gratz's has open the door for young readers to discover more about the Negro leagues and The All American Girls Baseball League. In 1945 Kat Snider plays short stop for Grand Rapids Chicks. I'll point out one more thing (for baseball fans) Gratz mentions the 1946 Brooklyn Dodgers game in which Bob Herman hits the ball with the bases loaded and some how three players end up on third base at the same time I've heard great things about this book all year and it lives up to all the praise. Like any great baseball story The Brooklyn Nine is filled with heart.