Monday, October 25, 2010

She Loved Baseball - Audrey Vernick, Don Tate

She Loved Baseball : The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Don Tate

If you've visited my blog before, you know I love baseball. This is the story of Effa Manley the first woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Vernick first introduces us to a young Effa Brooks in first grade. Effa loved playing baseball with her brothers but wasn't allowed because she was a girl and was lighter in skin tone. In 1932 after finishing high school Effa moves from Philadelphia to New York City.

Upset by the unfair treatment of Blacks. Effa gets involved to make a difference. White store owners were refusing to hire Black workers.

"She organized the Citizens League for Fair Play, a group of community leaders. They urged Harlem's largest department store to hire black salesclerks. The owner said no. Nobody believed a group of Black people could change a White bussinessman's mind, but the league fought anyway. For weeks they marched in the street. They convinced their neighbors to shop elsewhere. The store lost money. But still no Black salesclerks. The league kept marching. Finally they won. Newspapers reported the boycotts success."

In 1935 Effa marries Abe Manley. The couple started the Brooklyn Eagles, in the newly formed Negro National League. Effa played a vital roll in the teams sucess, even after they moved to New Jersey in 1936. She always fought for the rights of her players. In 1970, decades after the end of the Negro Leagues, Effa Manley started a letter writing campaign to get some Baseball Hall of Fame to induct some of the best Negro League players.

When I finished this biography, (which I loved, in case that's not obvious) my first thought was why, am I just know hearing about Effa Manley. As much as I love baseball and its history, Effa Manley is someone who I should know. And now I do.

This was a serious trifecta for me. 1. A woman who loved baseball. 2. a woman who refused to be stop because of her gender or race 3. It bridges the gap between the Negro Leagues and Majors.

Two of the players on the Eagles last team were Monte Irvin and Larry Doby. * Vernick also seamlessly includes 1946 Negro League world series between, the Newwark Eagles and the Kansas City Monarchs. Vernick makes the reader feel the excitement of that last game in the series.

Don Tate's colors and style have a very open feel , making them a perfect fit for this story. Tate paid close attention to details from the clothes to the model of the bus the team used. Towards the end there's a close up of Effa Manley that's simply beautiful.

When I read that in 2006 Effa Manley was the first woman ever to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, I got a little choked up. Thanks to Vernick and Tate, they did such a great job telling Effa Manley's stories. This is a must read for baseball fans of all ages.

I've linked this post to Nonfiction Monday. This weeks roundup can be found at
Write About Now

*Larry Doby and Monte Irvin are some serious baseball names. When I came across them, I did a wow double take. Doby was the first Black player in the American League. Vernick mentions this. Monte Irvin played for the NY Giants along with Willie Mays. Irvin looked out for a young Willie Mays. This is probably more than you needed or wanted to know. Hopefully a few baseball fans will read and enjoy it


Sherrie Petersen said...

This sounds like a great story! Thanks for posting about it.

:paula said...

I loved this book, cried a little tear I was so moved, first time I saw it. Such a great story, so well done.

Its one and only flaw is that there is no photograph of Effa (at least there wasn't when I saw the book), and I have found that a photograph really makes the distinction between fiction and nonfiction for children.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this fantastic story on the Effa Manley - it seems to be a very inspiring story!

Doret said...

Sherrie - It is a great story

Paula- A photograph of Effa would've been very nice, cherry at the end. But there was so much information, this certainly lands in strongly in nonfiction for me.

Readalouddad -its very inspiring and a great story for all baseball fans.