The Kid Who Only Hit Homers


By Matt Christopher

Formats and Prices




$9.99 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback (New edition) $6.99 $9.99 CAD
  2. ebook $6.99 $8.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 3, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The Kid Who Only Hit Homers has sold over one million copies and is now a film on Amazon Prime!
A baseball fan learns the true meaning of success in this beloved classic that will capture the imaginations of a new generation of young readers.

Sylvester loves baseball, but he isn't exactly what you'd call a good hitter. Even though he wants nothing more than to join his neighborhood team, the Hooper Redbirds, he's sure he'll never do anything more than warm the bench. But then he meets the mysterious Mr. Baruth who promises to make Sylvester one of the best players ever. Suddenly, Sylvester goes from the worst player on the team to the kid who can only hit homers.
With his overnight success, however, come tough questions. Will Sylvester ever learn the true meaning of teamwork? And what will happen when he has to learn to stand on his own?
This beloved story about baseball, confidence, perseverance, and being a good teammate is a modern classic and sure to win over a new generation of young sports fans.



All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Little, Brown Group

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Visit our website at

First eBook Edition: December 2009

Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Matt Christopher® is a registered trademark of Matt Christopher Royalties, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0-316-09601-0


The Hooper Redbirds were having their third practice session of the spring season, and Sylvester Coddmyer III, a right-hander, was batting.

Rick Wilson hurled in the first pitch. It looked good and Sylvester swung.

Swish! He missed it by six inches.

"Just meet it, Sylvester," advised Coach Stan Corbin. "You're trying to kill it."

Sylvester tried to "just meet" Rick's next pitch and fouled it to the backstop screen. He hit the next one to Rick. It was a dribbler that took almost five seconds to reach the mound.

"Hold it up for him, Rick!" shouted Jim Cowley, the Redbirds' second baseman.

"Think that would help, Jim?" yelled Jerry Ash.

A rumble of laughter broke from the other players on the field. Sylvester didn't let it bother him, though. He was pretty used to it by now.

"Okay, Sylvester," said the coach. "Lay it down and run it out."

Sylvester bunted Rick's next pitch down to third and beelined to first base. His stocky build and short legs didn't exactly help him be a very fast runner.

He had hoped that by now he would show some improvement in his playing. If there was any, it was so slight no one seemed to notice.

His performance in the outfield wasn't any better than it was at the plate. Mr. Beach, the assistant coach, was knocking flies out to the outfielders, and Sylvester missed three out of four that were hit to him.

"Remind me to bring you my mom's clothes basket at the next practice," said Ted Sobel, one of the outfielders who was sure to make the starting lineup. "Maybe then you can catch it."

"Funny," said Sylvester. "Ha ha."

Twenty minutes later practice was over… The boys walked tiredly to the locker room, showered, and went home.

"Well, are you going to sign up to play?" asked Jim Cowley.

"Tomorrow the last day to sign up?"

"That's right."

"I'll think about it," said Sylvester.

He thought about it at the supper table, on the swing in the yard, and in bed before he fell asleep, and decided he wouldn't sign up. He was sure he'd just sit on the bench, anyway. And who'd like to sit on the bench all the time?

The next afternoon he sat in the bleachers and watched the Hooper Redbirds practice. No one seemed to miss him on the field. No one, that is, except Jim Cowley, who ran over from first base after batting practice.

"Syl! Why aren't you on the field?"

"I didn't sign up," answered Sylvester.

"Why not?"

Sylvester shrugged. "Why? To warm the bench? Anyway, I don't care that much about playing."

"Then why are you here?"

"Nothing else to do," replied Sylvester.

"I bet," said Jim, and ran back to the infield.

Sylvester folded his hands over his knees, glad that Cowley had left. The guy was starting to get on his nerves.

"Why did you lie to the boy, Syl?" said a voice.

Startled, he looked and saw a man climb up the bleachers and sit beside him. He had never seen the man before, but figured he must be the father of one of the players.

He blushed.

The man smiled and put out his hand. Sylvester put his into it and felt the man's warm grip. "I'm George Baruth," said the man. "You're Sylvester Coddmyer the third, aren't you?"

"Yes, I am," said Sylvester, and frowned. George Baruth? There was no Baruth going to Hooper Junior High that he knew of. "Are… are you looking for me?"

George Baruth's blue eyes crinkled at the corners. He was a big man with a round face and a nose like a large strawberry. He was wearing a coat over a thin white jersey, brown pants, and a baseball cap with the letters NY on the front of it.

"Well, hardly," said George Baruth. "I just figured you'd be here."

Sylvester heard a sharp crack! and looked just in time to see catcher Eddie Exton blast a pitch over short.

"Why did you lie to the boy, Syl?" George Baruth asked again. "You do want to play baseball with the team, don't you?"

Sylvester nodded, thinking: How could he know that? He never saw me before. "Yes, I do," he admitted.

"Well, don't lie about it. You didn't fool Jim, and"—he grinned broadly—"you don't fool me."

Sylvester's smile didn't quite match Mr. Baruth's. He tried to think of something to say, but couldn't. He never was much of a talker.

"Syl," said Mr. Baruth, "I don't like to see a boy watch a game from the bleachers while his heart bleeds to play."

"But I would never make a ballplayer, Mr. Baruth," said Sylvester, hopelessly. "Ballplayers are good catchers and good hitters, and I don't fit into that picture at all."

"Well, you've played some baseball, haven't you?"

"Yes. Some."

"Okay. Stick around after the Redbirds finish their practice."

Sylvester stared at him. "Why?"

"I'm going to teach you to become a better baseball player, that's why. As a matter of fact…" and now Mr. Baruth's eyes twinkled, "I think I'll teach you to become one of the best players ever to play in Hooper!"

Sylvester's eyes popped. "How are you going to do that, Mr. Baruth?"

George Baruth chuckled. "You'll see, my boy. See you after practice."

He got up and left the bleachers, and once again Sylvester Coddmyer III was by himself. He kept watching the Hooper Redbirds practice hitting, and then watched the coach knock grounders to the infielders. But all the time he kept thinking about George Baruth and his promise.

He's just pulling my leg, thought Sylvester. Nobody in the world could ever help me become a good ballplayer.

Sylvester looked over his shoulder, expecting to see Mr. Baruth getting into a car or walking on the sidewalk. The man was nowhere in sight.

He sure can vanish fast, thought Sylvester, and turned his attention back to the practice session.

Finally the Redbirds were finished and left the field. All except Jim Cowley. He came over and looked at Sylvester. "Practice is over, Syl. Aren't you going home?"

"In a little while," replied Sylvester.

Jim frowned, then smiled. "Well, just make sure you don't stay all night. So long."

No sooner had he left than George Baruth came around the bleachers. He was carrying a baseball bat and a glove, and his coat pockets were filled with baseballs.

"Here, take the bat," said Mr. Baruth, tossing it to Sylvester. "And walk over to the backstop screen. I'll pitch to you."


On Sale
Mar 3, 2020
Page Count
144 pages

Matt Christopher

About the Author

Matt Christopher is the best-selling name behind more than 100 sports-themed books for young readers.

Learn more about this author