This sports fiction book is seventh in the "Chip Hilton Sports" series by Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Clair Bee. It was published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1950, updated by Randall and Cynthia Bee Farley and republished by Broadman & Holman Publishers in 1999.
Pitcher's Duel is written for kids ages 12 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Senior Chip Hilton and his friends on the Big Reds baseball team want to win the state championship — for themselves and for their beloved coach Henry Rockwell. But a manipulative group of community members is just as eager to see them fail and to see Coach Rockwell lose his job. Chip, the coach and the team stand strong against the constant razzing and trickery of their adversaries. During the season, Chip is elected mayor-for-a-day and tries to show some of the aforementioned community leaders the error of their ways. The team's relentless opposition fools Chip into signing an "autograph." They then show that his signature is on a contract, which makes him ineligible to play in the big game. Though the Big Reds lose at state and Rockwell is fired, he promptly receives a job coaching at the college where five of his players, including Chip, plan to study.
Chip gets dressed for church on Sunday morning.
Coach Rockwell, an admired leader by his team, exemplifies dignity and restraint despite constant harassment by a group of locals. Chip is a leader to his friends. His ethics, determination to put a college education ahead of a sports career, respect for his mother and coach, and his self-control on the ball field make him a laudable teenage hero. Chip's mother supports and encourages all of her son's undertakings, reminding him that his late father would have been proud of him. Several community authorities in the book, including the mayor, use their political clout to undermine Coach Rockwell and his team.
Other Belief Systems
None for the book; however, the Chip Hilton Player of the Year Award honors a senior Division I men's player for demonstrating outstanding character, leadership and talent similar to the qualities evident in the 24-book Chip Hilton sports fiction series.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- What did you think of the way Chip handled the people who wanted to tarnish his reputation and get Coach Rockwell fired?
What would you have done in his situation?
- What would you do if you had to choose between accepting a college scholarship and playing for a major league team?
- Chip demonstrated a great deal of respect for his coach and his mother.
Do you think kids today show that kind of regard for authority figures in their lives?
Why or why not?
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. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.