After reading John H. Ritter's The Boy Who Saved Baseball, have students engage with the characters and plot of the novel by completing these activities.
1. Wildcats Baseball Cards
Make a set of baseball cards, one for each member of the Wildcats' team. On each card include a drawing of the character as you imagine him or her. Instead of listing statistics for each player, describe each player's strengths on the team as well as important personality traits.
This assignment is a good way for students to review the major characters in the novel as well as analyze their personality traits. Students could then meet in small groups to compare their descriptions of each player with one another and even take notes on each player.
2. Read All About It!
What do you think the front page of the Dillontown newspaper looked like the day after the Big Game? Write newspaper-style articles telling the story of the Big Game, Doc Altenheimer's death, and the town's reaction to both. Use headlines and photos to make your articles look like a real newspaper.
With this assignment, students will review the climax of the novel and gain experience writing journalistic articles. Teachers may want to provide sample front page stories from real newspapers as models for students to study, and explain howto use headlines and "photos" with captions in their articles. This assignment also gives students the opportunity to describe the climax of the novel from different perspectives.
3. Dear Tom...
Imagine that a few days after the Big Game Tom received a letter from Cruz de la Cruz. What would the letter say? How does Cruz explain his absence from the game? How does he feel about the Wildcats and their win?
Students' ideas will vary about Cruz's mysterious appearance and disappearance, and it will be interesting to compare their letters. Most students will conclude that Cruz left early not out of fear, but rather to give the Wildcats an opportunity to prove themselves without him. This assignment provides a springboard for a discussion about the main unsolved mystery in this book, prompting students to make their own inferences about Cruz's motives.
Other Books by John H. Ritter
Please visit John H. Ritter's website for further questions, lesson plans, and activities.