Monday, June 6, 2011

Odd Ball: Hilarious, Unusual & Bizarre Baseball Moments

Tocher, Timothy. 2011. Odd Ball: Hilarious, Unusual, & Bizarre Baseball Moments.  Ill. by Stacy Curtis. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

It's Nonfiction Monday again.  Today's roundup is at Practically Paradise.  Be sure to check it out!

Odd Ball is divided into nine chapters or innings, with  titles such as "This Game is for the Birds," which features incidents in which our fine feathered friends have played a role in America's Pastime, and "Missing and Spare Parts," which features true stories of successful ballplayers with physical disabilities that would normally preclude a career in baseball.  (Anyone remember one-handed pitcher Jim Abbott? He played eleven seasons!)

The stories run the gamut of baseball history, from the earliest days, when some of the greatest shenanigans took place, to modern history, which still offers the occasional outrageous incident.
Pages are white with simple font, black text.  The majority of each baseball story, however, is told in the black ink illustrations of Stacy Curtis. Most of the illustrations are done in six-panel, comic style, though some feature fewer, and some are single sketches.  The illustrations evoke the style of old comic strips from the 50's and 60's or the daily Jumble in the newspaper, a style fitting the many zany anecdotes featured in Odd Ball.

My favorite story coincidentally features my favorite team, the Phillies, and one of its most famous players, Richie Ashburn.  On August 17, 1957, Ashburn hit a foul ball into the seats and struck Alice Roth on the nose.  As Alice was being removed from the game on a stretcher, Ashburn his another foul ball, striking the stretcher-ridden Alice in the leg! What are the odds?! All of this is humorously illustrated in a six-panel comic strip, so I assume that Ms. Roth escaped with little more than a whopper of a baseball story.  I hope she got to keep the balls.

"Odd Facts About the Players" rounds out the final inning.

At 64 pages, this is a quick, fun read for baseball fans ages 8 and up.

A Nonfiction Monday note: I was able to meet our esteemed Nonfiction Monday organizer and author, Anastasia Suen, at BookExpo.  We shared a bite to eat at a crowded counter and ending up sitting next to, and swapping stories with Is your Mama a Llama author, Deborah Guarino.  A fun lunch for me!

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