Queen of the Diamond : the Lizzie Murphy Story by Emily Arnold McCully

Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Summary:  When Lizzie Murphy was growing up in turn-of-the-century Rhode Island, girls didn’t play baseball.  But Lizzie’s brothers played, her father had played, and she wanted to play, too.  She became batgirl for her brother’s team and carried her father’s old ball and glove everywhere.  At one game, both teams realized no one had brought a ball.  Lizzie had her ball, but refused to lend it unless they’d let her play.  After a star turn at first base and four hits, she was a member of the team.  She continued to play into adulthood, making a living on the Warren, Rhode Island semipro team, and was the first person of either gender to play on both the National and American Leagues’ all-star teams.  She even got a single off of legendary pitcher Satchel Paige while playing on a Negro League team.  She finally retired from baseball in 1935, at the age of 40.  Recommended for grades 1-3.

Pros:  An interesting and little-known story about a woman athlete who refused to give up her dream despite enormous obstacles.  Emily Arnold McCully doesn’t disappoint with either the story or the illustrations.

Cons:  Too bad Lizzie didn’t blaze a trail into MLB for other women.

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