The heartwarming story about Lou Gibson, an eleven-year old boy who finds an old wooden baseball bat in his school’s basement. When Lou recalls that the most famous graduate of his school, Public School #132 in New York City , was Yankee great Lou Gehrig, he immediately sets off on a mission to prove that the bat once belonged to “The Pride of the Yankees.” Lou’s search sends him on a journey of triumph, tragedy and discovery.
In April 2000, I was fortunate enough to purchase a 100 year-old, wooden baseball bat at a bargain price. When the old Spalding® bat arrived, I immediately displayed it on the wall in our family room. I never imagined the bat would generate a story. Here’s what happened:
The bat’s unique, old-fashioned shape and brown patina mesmerized me. I noticed there were initials – RM – carved on the bottom of the bat. I wondered who RM was. How old was he when he received the bat? Did he hit any homeruns with it? What if RM became a major league player later in life and this was his bat when he was a kid?
That last question hit me like a line drive between the eyes. I imagined that the bat once belonged to Lou Gehrig when he was a kid. I then imagined what would happen if a child had the bat today and started using it in his games. Could the bat have special powers in the hands of an imaginative child?
The result of all this imagining is HITTING GLORY – A BASEBALL BAT ADVENTURE.
Hey… Suddenly, I feel the urge to obtain a vintage fishing reel or American Revolution document. Who knows — maybe a story will come from it!
An important personal element in the story is the subplot regarding Johnny Vander Meer’s Major League record of pitching back-to-back no hitters in 1938. It is the only record in baseball that may never be broken. Vander Meer grew up in Midland Park, NJ, where I used to live, and I promised his lifelong best friend, Dick Jeffer, that I would endeavor to keep the memory of his friend and that marvelous record alive. The best way for me to accomplish that was to include it in a story. I did so and I named the coach in the book after Mr. Jeffer, who passed away several years ago at the age of 96. To discover more about Vander Meer, click on the cover of Catching Rainbows.