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Lipman Pike: America's First Home Run King Review by Karen Yuen

Richard Michelson
Sleeping Bear Press
315 Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Lipman Pike was a Dutch Jewish immigrant who played baseball professionally in the 1800s. This interesting biography picture book written for 6 to 10-year-olds tells his story beautifully. Not only did Lipman become a baseball player, but he went on to become America's first home run king.

This book is wonderful for introducing younger students to baseball's history in America. In doing so, it also introduces other historical figures worth noting. For example, Lipman Pike took a job working at Tammany Hall for Boss Tweed.

Boss Tweed owned the New York Mutuals team and wanted Lipman to play ball for him. "Of course, we can't pay you," Boss Tweed explained. "That would be against Base Ball Association policy, and, as New York's Commissioner of Public Works, I would never break the rules." He waved Lip closer so he could whisper. "But I can offer you a job in our government office at Tammany Hall. You would have little work to do and plenty of time to play ball."

You'll discover in your American history studies, if you haven't already, that Boss Tweed was involved in some very famous political scandals that rocked the nation. What a great way to connect history and sports with real people! The author includes a lengthy note at the end of the book providing even more historical information about how baseball got started in America, how it developed during the Civil War and throughout the 1800s, and what happened to Lipman Pike during and after his baseball career.

This book is a wonderful biography worth your time, especially if your kids have an interest in baseball! You'll enjoy this story and the excellent illustrations. Highly recommended!

Product review by Karen Yuen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2011