Joe Stoshack (Stosh), a 13-year-old boy who loves to play baseball, has a very special gift. He has the ability to travel through time using baseball cards. By touching a card, he is transported to the time and place of the player’s card that he touches. The FBI learns of his ability, and now they have a mission for him. They want him to go back to 1941 and warn President Roosevelt about the surprise attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor.
Stosh is not sure he wants to take on this mission. He has found himself in some crazy and dangerous situations in the past when traveling through time. However, when he finds out that his baseball card is that of Ted Williams, he starts to rethink things. Ted Williams was one of the greatest hitters of all time, even though he lost years of his baseball career by serving in the military (the Marines). Stosh starts to think how great it would be if he could warn President Roosevelt about Pearl Harbor and save all the lives impacted by this historical event. He also wonders what would happen if, instead of serving in the military, Ted Williams continued to play baseball in his prime. He just very well might be able to surpass some of Babe Ruth’s hitting records. This book follows the adventures of Stosh and Ted Williams when Stosh goes back to 1941 to see if he can fulfill this mission.
The genre of this book is science fiction and historical fiction. This book is set in 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky, where Stosh lives. It also takes place in several areas of Pennsylvania, including Williamsport where Stosh plays in the Little League World Series in the beginning of the book, as well as Philadelphia, where he meets 1941 Ted Williams before his double header game leading to his .406 batting achievement and sets out on their adventure to Washington D.C. to see President Roosevelt.
Stosh is a 13-year-old boy who loves to play baseball with his team. He considers himself a good player, but not a great player. He also has a very special ability to travel through time. He does appreciate this ability and has used it to meet some really interesting baseball players throughout time. Even though Stosh questions whether he should help the FBI, he has a good heart and a pretty practical mind. He says, “I don’t want to be a sad old man someday, looking back on my life and wondering what might have happened if I had done things differently. I don’t want to have regrets”. Stosh is a brave kid, who is able to go with the flow on his different adventures, even with things become difficult. He seems to make those around him happy with his good-natured and curious personality. He also is a very accepting boy who knows that all people should be judged on the content of their character and not any external characteristics. Stosh is a pretty big kid for his age, as Ted Williams points out when he gives him a hitting lesson in the boat while they are fly fishing.
One of the main events that take place in the book is Stosh and Ted’s adventure to Washington D.C. to meet with President Roosevelt to warn him about Pearl Harbor. It is on this adventure that Stosh picks up knowledge of Ted Williams, as well as some valuable life lessons. Stosh gets caught up in some Anti-War protests and has to come home suddenly to protect his own life.
One of the main themes of this book is to never give up and to always work as hard as you can no matter what you are doing. Ted Williams tells Stosh, “Practice is what separates good players from great players” and that “The most important letters in the word American is I CAN”. This resonates with me because I am getting ready to try out for the 7thGrade Basketball Team. There will be many boys trying out for just a few spots for the team, so I am going to have to work very hard to prepare for tryouts so that I have a chance to make the team.
I would give this book a five out of five stars. I really enjoyed this book, including the relevant history on Pearl Harbor, the true statistics about Ted Williams and what he accomplished during his career, and the overall positive messages from the book. For example, Ted Williams’ batting average was .406 during the season in 1941, and in over 75 years since then, no one has been able to top it. I think sports lovers would really enjoy this book, but I think most people would enjoy it because it has a positive message. This book is special in the way that it weaves together historical facts to make an entertaining and inspirational story.