Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MICKEY & ME by Dan Gutman


A Baseball Card Adventure

by Dan Gutman

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-029247-4
Publisher: HarperCollins

Joe Stoshack, known as Stosh, has a special gift. Just by holding a historic baseball card, he can travel back in time to interact with the player on that card. In previous adventures he has met Honus Wagner, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, and Shoeless Joe Jackson. This time, however, there’s a bit of a twist. His father has been severely injured in a car accident. Although barely conscious, he tells Joe that he has assured his future education by acquiring a Mickey Mantle Rookie card worth $75,000. He also suggests that much of the pain and “what ifs” regarding Mantle’s career could be eliminated if Joe could travel back to the 1951 World Series to prevent an injury that permanently affected Mantle’s knees. That’s the plan, but a last-minute card switch by Joe’s little cousin sends him to the wrong year, the wrong league, and the wrong Mickey. It is D-Day 1944 and he is in the clubhouse of the Milwaukee Chicks of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, where he meets their star catcher Mickey Maguire. What an eye opener for Joe. He sees the dedication that spurs these talented women to accept ridiculous restrictions in order to play the game they love. Forced to wear skirted uniforms that cannot protect them from painful bruises, faced with fines for failing to wear lipstick during games, they manage a level of excellence that amazes Joe, who has always believed that girls could not play baseball. He also witnesses their courage as they wait for news about loved ones fighting in the war, as well as their underlying guilt because they also know that the end of the war and the return of the men will mean an end to their baseball careers, and “back to the kitchen.” Like Gutman’s previous works (Shoeless Joe and Me, 2002, etc.) in the series, the plot is teaming with baseball action, photographs, news clippings, a strong sense of time and place filled with sharp insights, and subplots involving Joe and his own problems and emotional growth. In an afterword, elements of fact and fiction are carefully separated and some fascinating information about the AAGPBL and its players are added. A thoroughly entertaining mix of fantasy, baseball, and history. (Fiction 10-12)