Matt Christopher Sports Classics: The Diamond Champs

by Matt Christopher

Paperback, 1990



Local notes

PB Chr


Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (1990), Paperback, 120 pages


An aura of intrigue surrounds a baseball coach obsessed with the idea of turning a bunch of handpicked beginners into champions in one season.

Physical description

120 p.; 7.87 inches


0316140066 / 9780316140065



User reviews

LibraryThing member TeacherLibrarian
Christopher, Matt. The diamond champs. (1977). Boston: Little, Brown and Company

Inexplicably, Coach Stag Gorman puts together a rag-tag baseball team made up of kids who are inexperienced and not suited for their positions. No one knows him, but he called each player and talked them into being on the team. His confidence in the players and ever optimistic attitude wins the players over. Despite the odds, they end up winning the league championship. During the season it had become increasingly clear to some of the players that winning the championship was crucially important to Coach Stag. Kim Rollins, the left fielder, wants to figure out who Coach is and why he has put together such an unlikely team to win the championship. He finds out that Coach was on the team all his players’ dads had been on when they were Kim’s age. Coach, who is really Gates Morgan, was only allowed to be the equipment handler on the team because of his poor eyesight. He put this team together to prove to himself that he was capable of taking a team to the championship.

This is a satisfying realistic fiction sports story that will appeal to middle and upper elementary students. The story is told from Kim’s point of view, and he quite believably questions Coach’s mysterious ways. The play-by-play narration of each of the baseball games makes the story feel true-to-life to kids, as does the slow progression from a losing team to a winning team. The characters have self-doubt, as one would expect from kids that are playing in positions that don’t suit their strength and kids that are playing a sport they’re not used to playing. Just as realistically, they respond well to Coach’s encouragement. The issue that is central to this story is a common and important one that kids face – being held back when others see a lack of ability or even a real disability. The story shows kids that they can always do their best, no matter what their circumstances are.
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