December 30 Birthday- Sandy Koufax. YOU NEVER HEARD OF SANDY KOUFAX?

Sandy Koufax, baseball player
December 30, 1935-

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? by Jonah Winter. illustrated by Andre Carrilho (Illustrator)
(Random House, 2009)

Sandy Koufax was one of the greatest pitchers of all time. But his career didn’t begin on a high note. He was an inconsistent player, he was shy, and he faced discrimination as one of the few Jewish ball players. After a short hiatus from the game, Koufax returned as a powerhouse pitcher. In 1965, Koufax refused to play in the World Series because it interfered with a High Holy day.

July 7 Birthday: Satchel Paige

Satchel Paige, athlete
July 7, 1906 (?)-June 8, 1982

Satchel Paige by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome (Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2000)

Major league pitching great, Satchel Paige first played (and set records) in the Negro Leagues. When the major league integrated, he was the first African-American pitcher in the American League.

Paige: The Official Web Site hosts a biography, photos, quotes and stats.

May 25 Birthday: Lipman Pike

 Lipman Pike, baseball player
May 25, 1845 – October 10, 1893

LIPMAN PIKE: AMERICA’S FIRST HOME RUN KING (Sleeping Bear Press, 2011) by Richard Michelson. Illustrated by Zachary Pullen
From Publishers Weekly:

and Pullen recreate a slice of immigrant life in mid–19th-century
Brooklyn in their story of Jewish baseball player Lipman Pike, one of
the first “professional” athletes. The son of a Dutch haberdasher, Pike
discovered an early knack for playing ball, and, despite ethnic
discrimination, he was invited (by Boss Tweed) to play for the New York
Mutuals before joining the Troy Haymakers, a professional league.
Pullen’s expressive paintings feature lots of mid-action moments and
exaggerated angles, and are populated by characters with facial
expressions that feel like affectionate caricatures. Readers should gain
a vivid picture of Pike and the fledging days of baseball.

January 31: Jackie Robinson. DAD, JACKIE, AND ME

Jackie Robinson, baseball player
January 1, 1919 – October 24, 1972

Dad, Jackie, and Me by Myron Uhlberg, illustrated by Colin Bootman (Peachtree, 2010).

Jackie Robinson was the first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers and he was the first black player in Major League Baseball. Uhlberg pays tribute to Jackie Robinson and how this athlete brought together a deaf father with his hearing son and inspired the entire New York community in the summer of 1947.