Baseball Card Adventures

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From left: Honus & Me, Jackie & Me, Babe & Me, Shoeless Joe & Me

The Baseball Card Adventures is a novel series written by Dan Gutman.[1] There are 12 books in the series. The books feature a boy, Joe Stoshack, who can travel through time when he touches old baseball cards.[2] When he holds a baseball card, he is transported to the year that card was made and somewhere near the ballplayer on the card. Later he discovers that this power also works on very old photographs. He tries to use this power wisely, and he attempts to change history several times, but it is always something different from his original goal.

The novels are typically illustrated with black and white photos from the time period in which the story takes place. For an example, when Jackie Robinson steals second base in Jackie & Me, a real photo of Jackie Robinson stealing a base is pictured. Occasionally they will also be illustrated with pictures taken exclusively for the book.[3]

The Cambridge Companion to Baseball in its review of baseball fiction calls the books "an eclectic enterprise" which "uninhibitedly embraces the genre's cliches."[4] Library Journal called them "good examples" of traditional sports novels.[5]

The books[edit]

Honus & Me[edit]

The Honus Wagner card Joe Stoshack uses to travel back to 1909 in Honus & Me.

Joe Stoshack discovers the T206 Honus Wagner, the most valuable baseball card in the world, while cleaning out an elderly neighbor's attic, and uses it to travel back in time to 1909. Once Joe is in 1909, he discovers that he became a grown man. Joe helps Honus Wagner win the 7th game of the 1909 World Series, and travels back to the present to return the card to his neighbor. He then discovers his neighbor is really Wagner's old girlfriend, and sends her back in time to be with him again. (The neighbor's name is Ms. Young.)

Jackie & Me[edit]

Joe Stoshack experiences what it is like to be an African American in a segregated society when he travels back to 1947 to watch Jackie Robinson play, and while going back in time he himself turns black. He tries to bring back a bunch of Jackie Robinson cards, but the cards are stolen by the Dodgers' batboy. Stosh wants to go after him, but Jackie tells him it's not safe. In the story, Stosh also meets Jackie's wife and son, Jackie Jr. Stosh also meets Flip Valentini as a kid.

School Library Journal called it "readable and accurate".[6]

Babe & Me[edit]

Witnesses never agreed whether Babe Ruth called his shot. Like other baseball fans, Joe Stoshack wants to know the truth. Joe Stoshack and his father Bill travel back to the year 1932 and catch Babe Ruth's called shot in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs.[7]

Shoeless Joe & Me[edit]

After Flip tells Stosh about the Black Sox Scandal, Stosh thinks that Shoeless Joe is innocent, and he goes back in time to try to stop it from ever happening.[8]

Mickey & Me[edit]

Joe's dad gets in a car crash, and fearing he might die, tells Joe his inheritance: a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card. He tells Joe to go back and prevent the terrible accident that negatively impacted Mantle's baseball career, so Joe travels back to 1951.[9] However, Joe's cousin Samantha switches the Mantle card for a catcher of a women's league team, Dorothy Maguire. When he goes back in time he took the job for the mascot of the Milwaukee Chicks.

Abner & Me[edit]

Joe goes back in time to see if Abner Doubleday really invented baseball. This is the first and only story in the series where Stosh's mom travels through time. The two land in a war, and help fight with a group of kids. Stosh's mom helps save an injured person's life by using modern day medical techniques. The doctor is impressed. Soon Joe finds Abner, and gets the answer for his question in a very interesting way.

Satch & Me[edit]

Stosh and Flip Valentini go back in time with a radar gun to find out how fast Satchel Paige's pitching really was.[10] Unfortunately, they never get to find out, attempting to do so several times only to have something go wrong in the last minute. Then Joe Stoshack leaves Flip Valentini in the past in a climatic chase scene, and Flip lives his life over again.

Jim & Me[edit]

Joe and his enemy Bobby Fuller go back to 1913, where they meet Jim Thorpe, Bobby Fuller's great-grandfather. However, along the way they have several disagreements.

Ray & Me[edit]

After Joe is hit in the head by a baseball and wakes up after two weeks in a coma, he learns about another baseball player who wasn't so lucky – Ray Chapman. When Joe recovers from his accident, he goes back to 1920 and attempts to save Chapman from an event that changed baseball history forever.

Roberto & Me[edit]

Joe meets player and humanitarian Roberto Clemente, before traveling forward to 2080 to see the damage caused by global warming.[11]

Ted & Me[edit]

An FBI agent, who found out about Joe's power, comes and sends Joe back in time with a Ted Williams card to warn President Franklin D. Roosevelt about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Willie & Me[edit]

On the advice of Ralph Branca, Joe travels back to 1951 to try to prevent the "Shot Heard 'Round the World", one of the most controversial home runs in baseball history. However, he soon realizes that by doing so, he may forever alter the life of a young rookie named Willie Mays.

Titles in the series[edit]

Historical figure Year of publication
Honus & Me Honus Wagner 1997
Jackie & Me Jackie Robinson 1999
Babe & Me Babe Ruth 2000
Shoeless Joe & Me Shoeless Joe Jackson 2002
Mickey & Me Mickey Mantle and Dorothy Maguire 2003
Abner & Me Abner Doubleday 2005
Satch & Me Satchel Paige 2006
Jim & Me Jim Thorpe 2008
Ray & Me Ray Chapman 2009
Roberto & Me Roberto Clemente 2010
Ted & Me Ted Williams 2012
Willie & Me Willie Mays 2015

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gutman, Dan. 'Jim & Me'. 2008, HarperCollins.
  2. ^ Kathleen A. Baxter, Marcia Agness Kochel (2012). Get Those Guys Reading!: Fiction and Series Books that Boys Will Love. ABC-CLIO. pp. 166–167. 
  3. ^ Gutman, Dan. 'Shoeless Joe & Me'. 2004, HarperCollins.
  4. ^ Leonard Cassuto, Stephen Partridge (2011). The Cambridge Companion to Baseball. Cambridge University Press. p. 30. 
  5. ^ Crowe, Chris (1 March 2005). "A fan applauds a growing genre of YA sports novels". School Library Journal. 
  6. ^ Taniguchi, Marilyn (1 October 2006). "Grades 5 & Up Cont.". School Library Journal. 
  7. ^ "Babe & Me (Review)". Publishers Weekly. 2002-03-18. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Shoeless Joe and Me (Review)". Kirkus Reviews. May 20, 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "Mickey & Me". Publishers Weekly. 1 March 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Satch and Me (Review)". Kirkus Reviews. May 20, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Roberto & Me (Review)". Kirkus Reviews. Dec 29, 2010. 
Other sources
  • Anderson, Andrew. "In the Tradition of Chip, Horatio, and the Hardy Boys: Lessons for Life in Old Baseball Cards — Dan Gutman's ... & Me Novels", in Carino (2006), 16-25.