Friday, October 24, 2014

Scholastic Fest: #4, Arrow Book of Baseball Fun

  • Title: Arrow Book of Baseball Fun
  • Editor: Ellen Stern Ryp
  • Illustrator: George Wilde
  • Publisher: Scholastic Book Services
  • Year: Fourth printing (updated), April 1971
  • Excerpt:
    "Back in the early 1900's Cleveland's Ray Chapman was as proud of his batting ability as the next man. Except when he had to face the great Walter Johnson.

    "In one game, Johnson was pitching at the top of his form when Chapman stepped up to bat. Twice the ball streaked across the plate. Twice the umpire called, 'Ste-rike!' Then Chapman stepped out of the batter's box and started back to the dugout.

    "'Wait a minute,' the umpired called. 'You've got another strike coming.'

    "'Never mind,' Chapman shrugged. 'I don't want it!'"
  • Notes: This book slides into place nicely today, as the Kansas City Royals, featuring Jayson Nix, and San Francisco Giants, featuring Matt Duffy, prepare for Game 3 of the World Series tonight. ... First off, though, our scanner did not do an exemplary job in conveying accurately the color of this book cover. Pictured at right is another image, found on the Internet, of the book's cover. It better shows the "muted pea soup" green of the front. ... This is a bit of a Franken-book, as the copyright page explains that portions of it were selected and adapted from 1963's Baseball Funbook by Thomas Wallington Moran. That book was published by Doubleday & Company. ... The illustrations and adaptation, meanwhile, are copyright 1967 by Scholastic Magazines Inc. ... The 80-page book features baseball anecdotes, lists, puzzles, quizzes and more. Tons of great stuff for school-age baseball fans who might not have had many other resources to tap in a quest to satisfy their thirst for knowledge of America's pastime. ... Section headers include "No-Hitters," "Bat-Time Stories," "The Great Nine," "So You Know Your Baseball?" and "Last Laugh for the Umpire." ... I can't find much information about illustrator George Wilde, but I can tell you that he also provided the artwork for another Scholastic title, Arrow Book of Ghost Stories. That 1960s title has a glorious cover that would have landed it in the Top 10 of this countdown, is highly sought even today and is remembered fondly in this 2011 And Everything Else Too blog post. ... Finally, the two center pages of this book invite readers to write down their choices for the all-time all-star team. One former owner of this book did just that, scrawling the names in nice cursive writing. Here's a look at the picks, which include Yogi Berra, Jimmy [sic] Foxx, Maury Wills and Cy Young.

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