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Matthew "Matt" Frederick Christopher (August 16, 1917 - September 20, 1997), an American author of children's books, was born in Bath, Pennsylvania, the oldest of nine children. He was a prolific author, writing more than one hundred books, mostly children's novels centered around sports.
==E mattChristopher was a gifted athlete as a child, excelling in nearly every sport he attempted, especially soccer and football, which he played in high school when the family moved to Ludlow Ville, NY.
After graduating from high school in 1935, Christopher maintained his involvement in baseball, playing first in a semi-professional league in the mid-1930s before moving up to professional ball, playing third base for the Smith Falls Beavers of Ontario, Canada (an affiliate of the Class C Can-Am League). Despite having two hits and two RBIs in four at-bats in his first game, Matt soon found that he could not hit minor league pitching consistently and was cut from the team. Although he was offered a spot on the Brockport Blues in the same league, he decided that he was not good enough to play at that level and declined their offer. Christopher returned home to New York, where he played semi-professional ball until a knee injury shortly thereafter ended his career.
- "I became interested in writing when I was 14, a freshman in high school," [reflected Christopher in 1992]. "I was selling magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post, Country Gentleman, and Liberty, and I would read the stories, particularly the adventure and mystery stories, and think how wonderful it would be to be able to write stories and make a living at it. I also read detective, horror, aviation, and sports stories and decided I would try writing them myself. Determined to sell, I wrote a detective story a week for 40 weeks, finding the time to marry, work, and play baseball and basketball before I sold my first story in 1941, 'The Missing Finger Points,' for $50 to Detective Story magazine."
For the next twelve years, Christopher wrote novels in various genres, including science fiction, mystery, adventure, and romance, but he was unable to get his novels published, even as his short stories continued to sell.
In 1953, Christopher finally sold his first book, Look for the Body, a 60,000 word detective novel to Phoenix Press for $150.
But his true success came in 1954 with the publication of The Lucky Baseball Bat. "I decided to write a baseball book for children," said Christopher. "I was living in Syracuse, New York at the time, working at General Electric. I spoke about my idea to the branch librarian. She was immediately interested and told me that they needed sports stories badly." His conversation with the librarian, along with a rejection letter from a publisher (who recommended that Christopher concentrate on writing stories for kids since he seemed to "have a talent for writing about children"), inspired Christopher to sit down over Thanksgiving in 1952 and write what later became The Lucky Baseball Bat. Inspired by this success, Christopher continued writing and published his second children's sports novel, Baseball Pals, in 1956.
Though Christopher wrote about many sports, his most frequent subject was baseball. His best baseball books are considered to be Wild Pitch, Catcher with a Glass Arm, and The Kid Who Only Hit Homers. He also wrote many books about football, including Tough to Tackle and Crackerjack Halfback, and Football Nightmare,and soccer, including Soccer Scoop, Soccer Duel, and Top Wing, basketball and hockey. He has written books centered on snowboarding, dirt bike racing, volleyball, golf and many other sports, in addition to a number of biographies of sportsmen and women. His first children's sports book ever published was The Lucky Baseball Bat
When asked why he wrote sports books for children, Christopher once responded, "Sports have made it possible for me to meet many new people with all sorts of life stories, on and off the field, and these are grist for this writer's mill."
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- "Dacus Library Online: Archives Matt Christopher Collection". .winthrop.edu. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
- About the Author, http://www.mattchristopher.com/content/author.asp
- Matt Christopher's Bookshelf
- "Author Interview: Matt Christopher". Hachette Book Group. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- Internet Public Library