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Midland Park

Catching Rainbows: A New eBook for Children Retells the Story of Johnny Vander Meer's Unbreakable Record

04/13/2013 11:49PM ● By Anonymous

Local author Robert Skead has released a new book just in time for the 75th anniversary of Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no hitters. A chapter book for children ages 8-12, Catching Rainbows re-tells the story of that historic summer from the perspective of a 12-year-old bat boy. It is the first in a series of novels covering great moments in baseball.

Skead learned of Johnny Vander Meer when he and his wife moved to Midland Park in 1996. He grew fascinated with the story of a small town boy who makes it big in the Big Leagues. Skead even built a relationship with Vander Meer's lifelong best friend, Dick Jeffer. He sees this book as an opportunity to educate and inspire kids while keeping the record alive.

The title of this book comes from one of Vander Meer's own quotes:

"Kids are always chasing rainbows, but baseball is a world where you can catch them."


When 12-year-old Richie's dad breaks his leg, the family has no choice but to make Richie get a job. Time are tough and they need the money. Richie's mom circles an ad in the paper that sounds like a woodworking apprenticeship. She and Richie learn at the interview that it's actually a position as batboy for the Cincinnati Reds. Richie learns quickly how to follow the rules and pay attention. He also learns that friendship and encouragement can go a long way. During that fateful summer, he builds a relationship with all-star rookie, Johnny Vander Meer, and follows the team on the road to witness the making of an historic record.

It's not all about baseball, though. Richie has some other things to learn, too -- like how to make friends, face down a bully and maintain a strong work ethic, even in the company of less than kind people.

Enjoy a list of quotes and facts related to the historic account at the end of the book.

Publisher Info:

Tale Blazer Productions, LLC (January 8, 2013)

ASIN: B00AZ3T850

Ebook, $2.99


This is a great book and I know kids, especially boys, will love reading it. The mentions of Midland Park will connect them to the story and whisper a confidence that they can do great things, too. With cameos of other famous players like Babe Ruth and Frank McCormack, readers get tossed right into baseball history.

Valuable themes and lessons weave throughout the story. The main character, Richie, must face a school bully (named Butch), learn to manage his temper and competitive spirit in healthy ways. The importance of friendship and the impact of even small encouragements pervade the book.

As expected in any book for boys or about sports, there is a touch of locker room talk. Some parents may be put off by this and the consistent bullying that the main character faces. The language, while faintly crude, is never foul, and the bullying issues are handled in a healthy manner that lends toward friendship in the end.

Parents may also be interested to note a presence of God and prayer within the book. These are minor and vague mentions, but they do support an element of faith in the life and family of the main character.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. I know my son will love reading it!


This book is currently available online as an ebook only. You can purchase the 80-page, 14-chapter story from, Barnes & Noble or the Apple store for just $2.99. This book and others are also available through the author's website:

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