Monday, May 9, 2011

Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace

 Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace

It's Spring and do you know what that means?  It's time to read a book about Baseball, the time honored, all American sport.

Batter up.
Ruby is a teenager in New York City in the 1920's.  She lived through the Flu epidemic that killed thousands of people in 1918, including most of her family.  She survived by killing squirrels in the park with a baseball and using her long pitching arm.

Ruby throws the fastest pitch in town and to feed her family she becomes a Coney Island sideshow where she meets Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and other notables of the time.  Eventually Diamond Ruby signs with a minor league baseball team and leads her team in strikeouts.  Fame comes at a stiff price because everyone wants what Ruby has and so she becomes a target for the mob,  rum runners and crooked cops.  This nail biter of a book will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Ruby is loosely based on the true story of female baseball phenom, Jackie Mitchell.  In real life Jackie struck out baseball greats, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.  She never got a chance to play major league baseball because just days later, the baseball commissioner at the time, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, banned all women from baseball.  Landis deemed baseball too strenuous for women and they were never allowed to play major or minor league baseball again.  This sad piece of history holds true today as well.  I for one would love to see a woman compete on a major league team.

"Diamond Ruby is the exciting tale of a forgotten piece of of baseball's heritage, a girl who could throw with the best of them." From the back cover.

Wallace has hit a home run with Diamond Ruby.  It is a historical novel of New York, the roaring 1920's, the flu epidemic, immigration, the rise of crime, women's rights, the house that Babe built and of course baseball.  Ruby is one strong woman you don't want to mess with and you will be rooting for Ruby's team and family throughout the entire book. 

Diamond Ruby is in a league of her own.

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