[We have added a new navigation tab to the site, Book Review. It will give us a chance to begin to showcase some of the great books on sports not only spanning both fiction and non-fiction, but also the full gamut of professional sports. As part of that push, we have asked one of our writers Elliott Glass to offer his thinking on a range of the best sports books for young readers. He transported himself from his sophomore year in high school back to grade school and middle school for this great piece on Derek Jeter and his best-selling books.]
We often think of Derek Jeter as a Hall-of-Fame baseball player and world-class teammate. Since he retired from baseball, however, he also has become a best-selling author.
The case for Derek Jeter on the baseball diamond is a classic extra-base hit. He played Major League Baseball for twenty seasons, amassing almost every known MLB honor. When he officially retired in 2014, he ranked sixth in MLB history with 3,465 hits.
Setting him apart from many of the legends of the game, Jeter was more than just an individual baseball superstar. He also was beloved by his teammates. They saw him as an incredible leader, a winner and an offensive genius. When the Yankees decided to retire his Number 2 jersey, dozens of former teammates came to the ceremony. Reggie Jackson was there. David Cone, the Kansas City native and one-time Yankees ace, attended. Jorge Posada also was on hand. The list was a veritable who’s who of Yankees lore.
But what happens to a player like Jeter once the crowds stop cheering? Often, the greats of the game struggle with their post-playing career. Jeter, however, has become a best-selling author. His books focus on an topic that he know and loves: sports. They are targeted at kids between 8 and 12. They are packed with life lessons that will ensure your parents are happy to see your nose buried in these books.
The Contract centers on Jeter growing up in Kalamazoo, MI. You will travel with Jeter as his dreams of being a MLB shortstop and even playing in the World Series; and signs The Contract with his parents about what will be expected of him in order to have privileges outside of the school. There are important lessons here, including how a young Jeter handles not being able to play shortstop on his little league Tiger team.
In the next book, Hit and Miss, Jeter helps kids recognize that there are ups and downs in a sports season and in life. Diehard Yankee fans may struggle with the team name than Derek uses in Hit and Miss. However, you definitely will find this second book in the series to be a hit, not a miss.
The third book in this series is called Change Up. A young Derek has been hoping that his father will coach his little league team. He keeps his promise and it sets up this page-turning story. Derek believes that all of the pieces will fall into place, but the season plays out differently with a lots of important lessons to be learned along the way.
Finally, if you love these three books, then you need to find a few more hours to read Fair Ball. Derek is looking forward to a great summer, including a trip to his grandparent’s house and a chance to hang out with his friends and play baseball. Unfortunately, the plot turns in a different direction when his friend Dave starts to rethink their well-laid plans.
Derek Jeter was an incredible baseball player and teammate. He also has proven to be one of the best authors of children’s book on baseball. Is he is as good as Mike Lupica, Tim Green, and John Feinstein? Let the debate begin here at MyESPNforKids.