Honus and Me by Dan Gutman


Joe Stoshack lives for baseball. He knows everything there is to know about the game — except how to play well. His specialty is striking out. Stosh feels like a real loser, and when he takes a low-paying job cleaning a bunch of junk out of his neighbor’s attic, he feels even worse — until he comes across a little piece of cardboard that takes his breath away. His heart is racing. His brain is racing. He can hardly believe his eyes. Stosh has stumbled upon a T-206 Honus Wagner — the most valuable baseball card in the world! And he’s about to find out that it’s worth a lot more than money….

Summary from Goodreads


Many baseball experts will ague that Honus Wagner was the greatest player that ever lived.  A contemporary of the more well-known Ty Cobb, Wagner actually out played Cobb in the 1909 World Series, which Wagner’s Pittsburgh Pirates won.

Wagner is perhaps even more well known for the T206 Honus Wagner, the rarest and most expensive baseball card in the world.  The T20 baseball card series was produced from 1909 – 1911 by the American Tobacco Company, and Wagner, who objected to smoking, refused to allow the company to continue production of his card.  Only 57 copies were distributed to the public.

The Card has had multiple books written about it, including the adult book The Card: Collectors, Con Men, and the True Story of History’s Most Desired Baseball Card by Michael O’keeffe and the children’s book All Star!: Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever by Jane Yolen.

This card is at the center of the first book in Dan Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventures series.  After finding the rare and valuable card while cleaning out his neighbor’s attic, Joe Stoshack discovers he can use it to travel through time.  Joe first brings Honus to him, but then travels back with Honus to witness the 1909 World Series for himself.

Luckily for Joe, Honus’s card isn’t the only one that holds this power for him.  Joe can use many baseball cards to travel through time, allowing him to eventualy meet Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, among others (interestingly, Joe never meets the great Ty Cobb, perhaps because Cobb is known to have been an angry and unstable man.)

Boys and girls who are fans of baseball will love the Baseball Cards Adventure series, which is packed full of baseball facts, history and exciting baseball games.  Gutman also places baseball in it’s social context, exploring how the game influenced and was influenced by history.  In Jackie and Me, Joe goes back in time to meet Jackie Robinson for a school project, and has the chance to see what it was like to be an African American in America in the 1940s.

Of course, there are many places to explore baseball on the web and many enhancements to a series like this.  Nearly all the players Joe meets are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  In fact, Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth were both among the original five inductees.

Ken Burns: Baseball


Students looking for more information about the history of their favorite game would do well to watch Ken Burns’s Baseball.  Burns dedicates his amazing talent to exploring not just the game’s history, but it’s place and import in American society.  Baseball is currently available for Instant View to Netflix subscribers.   

Of course, those looking for information on current teams and players and the current baseball season must visit Major League Baseball’s official site.  Video clips and highlights are posted daily from games around the league.  Clips from the annual All Star Game and Hall of Fame acceptance speeches are also available.

Additional Reading

There are many choices out there for kids who want to read more about baseball, but Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz provides a perspective most might not recognize.  Japanese players have found a home in Major League Baseball only recently, despite the widespread popularity of baseball in Japan, and the existance of professional baseball in Japan since 1920.  Samurai Shortstop explores the origins of the game’s popularity in Japan.







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