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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

The Kid Who Only Hit Homers by Matt Christopher has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Sylvester Coddmyer III isn’t a great baseball player. He almost decides to opt out of the tryouts for the Hooper Redbirds. Then he meets a man in the bleachers who introduces himself as George Baruth. The man practices with Sylvester and offers pointers. Not only does Sylvester gain the courage to try out and make the team, but he also begins to demonstrate some impressive play on the field. Sylvester reads about famous players like Babe Ruth and Roger Maris and wonders if his own name could ever be in the record books.

One night, after Sylvester has gorged himself on desserts, he goes to bed feeling sick. George Baruth appears in his room and urges him not to be a glutton if he wants to play ball well. When Sylvester questions his mom about letting George Baruth into the house, she says she didn’t see anyone, and it must have been a dream.

Sylvester begins gaining local notoriety for his incredible batting average. A boy named Snooky, who is interested in astrology and the occult, tries to determine how Sylvester has become so successful. Sylvester tells Snooky about George Baruth, but Snooky is convinced Baruth is a figment of Sylvester’s imagination.

A popular magazine offers Sylvester a contract. They want to write his life story and pay him a lot of money. He talks it over with his mom, and then consults George Baruth. Baruth says he won’t tell Sylvester what to do. He does remind Sylvester that he (Baruth) won’t be around much longer and that Sylvester may not play the same way without him. He also tells Sylvester that fame has a price of its own. Sylvester decides not to sign the contract.

George Baruth tells Sylvester he’s leaving and says goodbye. Sylvester’s playing isn’t as impressive after Baruth is gone, but he’s still a better player than before and receives a trophy from his school. He feels the heavy trophy is somehow lighter than it should be, as though someone is helping him carry it.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

A boy named Snooky studies astrology. He believes everyone is born under a certain star, which rules his or her destiny. He asks Sylvester for the month and day he was born. Snooky says Sylvester is a Gemini and explains why that makes his ball playing better. He says it also makes it possible for Sylvester to receive Sun-Signals that allow him to see into the beyond. Snooky also reveals his interest in and study of occultism, which he calls a science dealing with the mysterious.

Authority Roles

George Baruth helps Sylvester improve his ball playing and learn life lessons. Dad is away on business, and Mom is helpful and supportive in Sylvester’s daily activities.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Imagination vs. guide: Other than the comments made by the Horoscope kid, there’s not an overly mystical vibe to the book. However, readers never do learn who George was and could easily conclude he was some other-worldly being. So it isn’t overtly “spiritual” (like spirit guides) but it’s easy to believe he was not imaginary but a guide sent from somewhere else.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 13




Matt Christopher






Record Label



Little, Brown and Company


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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