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Ballpark Mysteries Super Special #2, page 1

 

Ballpark Mysteries Super Special #2
 

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Ballpark Mysteries Super Special #2


  Ballpark Mysteries®

  #1 The Fenway Foul-Up

  #2 The Pinstripe Ghost

  #3 The L.A. Dodger

  #4 The Astro Outlaw

  #5 The All-Star Joker

  #6 The Wrigley Riddle

  #7 The San Francisco Splash

  #8 The Missing Marlin

  #9 The Philly Fake

  #10 The Rookie Blue Jay

  #11 The Tiger Troubles

  #12 The Rangers Rustlers

  #13 The Capital Catch

  Super Special #1 The World Series Curse

  Super Special #2 Christmas in Cooperstown

  Also by David A. Kelly

  The MVP Series

  #1 The Gold Medal Mess

  #2 The Soccer Surprise

  #3 The Football Fumble

  #4 The Basketball Blowout

  Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse

  This book is dedicated to Major League Baseball, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and all the great people of Cooperstown, New York. You all help to make baseball a home run for kids! —D.A.K.

  Dad, thank you for all of the hours spent playing catch! —M.M.

  “Cooperstown is the greatest place on Earth.” —Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Text copyright © 2017 by David A. Kelly

  Cover art and interior illustrations copyright © 2017 by Mark Meyers

  All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

  Random House and the colophon are registered trademarks and A Stepping Stone Book and the colophon are trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC. Ballpark Mysteries® is a registered trademark of Upside Research, Inc.

  Visit us on the Web!

  SteppingStonesBooks.com

  rhcbooks.com

  Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at RHTeachersLibrarians.com

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request.

  ISBN 9780399551925 (trade) — ISBN 9780399551932 (lib. bdg.) — ebook ISBN 9780399551949

  This book has been officially leveled by using the F&P Text Level Gradient™ Leveling System.

  Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.

  v4.1

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  Contents

  Cover

  Other Titles

  Title Page

  Dedication

  Copyright

  Chapter 1: A Home Run Sleepover

  Chapter 2: A Surprising Find

  Chapter 3: Time to Explore

  Chapter 4: Sparklers at the Hall of Fame

  Chapter 5: A Real Fake Card

  Chapter 6: A Suspect

  Chapter 7: The Real Thief

  Chapter 8: Unwrapping a Surprise

  Chapter 9: A Surprising Gift

  Chapter 10: Honus Comes Home

  Chapter 11: Big D’s Plan

  Dugout Notes

  Mike’s All-Star Blue Chip Muffins

  Excerpt from MVP #1: The Gold Medal Mess

  It was Saturday morning, and Mike Walsh and his cousin Kate Hopkins bounded up the steps to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. As the door closed behind them, Mike saw a security guard place something behind a big cardboard box wrapped like a Christmas present.

  Mike grabbed Kate’s arm. “Hey!” he said as the guard ducked around the corner. “Did you see that? I’ll bet that guard just stole a signed ball or something and hid it behind that present!”

  Kate sighed. Mike had a big imagination. “Come on!” she said. Kate walked over to the present. She reached down and lifted up a half-full water bottle.

  “You’re right!” she said. “It’s Babe Ruth’s famous water bottle that he used in game three of the 1932 World Series!”

  Mike smiled weakly and blushed a little. “Okay, so I guess the guard was just thirsty,” he said. “But the stuff in the Hall of Fame is worth millions! It’s amazing that no one tries to steal it.”

  “That’s why they have security guards!” Kate said. “You’ve been reading too many mystery stories.”

  Mike and Kate pulled off their red-and-white Santa hats and stamped the snow from their boots. It was December holiday break, and Mike and Kate were at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, to help wrap presents for needy families. They both lived in town. Mike’s parents owned a sporting goods store just up the street from the Hall of Fame. Kate’s mom worked as a sports reporter.

  Mike and Kate had joined a club called Cooperstown Cares with their friends. The club helped organize food drives, clothing drives, and toy drives. After spending the day wrapping presents at the Hall of Fame, the club was going to sleep over at Kate’s house that night.

  “Hey, you’re here!” said a redheaded boy near the gift shop. It was Mike and Kate’s friend Caleb from the Cooperstown Cares club. He waved them over. “Follow me. Everyone is in the research library in back. We’re just getting started.”

  Ella, the woman at the ticket booth, waved them in. She was wearing a bright green sweater with reindeer on the front. Mike and Kate ran after Caleb. They went past the museum’s gift shop and into the Hall of Fame gallery. The gallery was filled with big bronze panels that listed the accomplishments of each baseball player who had been elected to the Hall of Fame. On the upper floors of the building was a museum filled with important baseball artifacts.

  In the middle of the gallery stood a big Christmas tree decorated with all types of baseball ornaments. Caleb led them through the gallery to the research library. Sophia, Noah, Scott, and Logan, Mike and Kate’s friends from school, were sitting at a long table wrapping a big pile of presents. Grace, a tall woman wearing a necklace made of tiny red-and-green lights, stood behind the table.

  “There you two are!” Grace said. “Dig in. We have a lot of presents to wrap for the toy drive!”

  Grace was a volunteer at the Hall of Fame. She ran the annual toy drive. She was also in charge of raising money to help build a new community center for Cooperstown. The town needed a bigger place where kids Mike and Kate’s age could go after school and where families could get help with food, clothing, or whatever else they needed. The Cooperstown Cares club was helping with the toy drive.

  Mike and Kate grabbed presents from the big pile at the end of the table and started wrapping. Grace had all different kinds of paper, ribbons, and bows laid out on the table. Every few minutes, one of the kids would carry a big stack of wrapped gifts out to the tree in the gallery. In between, everyone dipped into a bowl of candy canes in the middle of the table. As they wrapped presents, they twirled the candy canes around in their mouths.

  Just before lunchtime, Grace went into the office she shared with Mr. Owen, the director of the Hall of Fame, to order pizza for the kids.

  While Grace was arranging lunch, the kids continued to wrap. A few minutes later, Mr. Owen walked into the room. He was short and stocky. He looked like a professional wrestler. The kids all stopped wrapping when they saw who was behind him.

  It was Big D!

  Big D was the Boston Red Sox’s best hitter and a favorite of the fans. Mike and Kate had helped find his missing bat when they visited Fenway Park. A man with a video camera followed Big D in. He had a large camera bag slung over his shoulder.

  “Hey! Big D! What are you doing here?” Kate asked.

  A big
smile spread across Big D’s face. “Mike! Kate!” he said. “¡Hola!”

  “¡Feliz Navidad!” Kate said. “Merry Christmas!” She was teaching herself Spanish and always looked for chances to speak it.

  Big D walked over to the table and gave Mike, Kate, and all their friends fist bumps. “It’s great to see you! I’m here with my friend Jordan to film a documentary about baseball. We were just in Mr. Owen’s office photographing a baseball card.”

  Big D sat down with the kids and wrapped a present. Then everyone asked him to sign an autograph. Jordan took pictures and videos while he did. Mr. Owen stood off to the side. He checked his watch a few times while Big D talked to the kids.

  When Grace walked back into the room, she dropped her purse on the table and looked at Big D. “Hey, Mr. Owen, I thought Big D and Jordan were supposed to be at lunch by now,” she said. “They’re going to be late!”

  Mr. Owen nodded. “I know!” he said. “I was just letting them out, but Big D got sidetracked by his big fans! Come on, time to go!”

  Big D stood up and headed for the front door, but Jordan stopped short. “Hang on,” he said to Mr. Owen. “I forgot one of my camera lenses in your office. I’ll go get it.”

  Jordan took off. A moment later, he was back with a big round camera lens in his hand. He unzipped the camera bag hanging from his shoulder and slipped the lens inside. Mr. Owen led him and Big D out the front door.

  The kids returned to wrapping. As they got close to finishing, Mike stood up to demonstrate his special batting stance. “Watch this,” he said to Caleb. “I’ve been working on my hitting. I have a new stance to get more power, like Big D!” Mike pretended to hold a bat over his shoulder. He wiggled his hips a few times, and then swung his clenched hands straight into Grace’s purse!

  The brown leather bag fell to the ground. Coins jingled onto the floor, and a baseball card fell out. A black pen bounced near Mike’s feet.

  “Oh no!” Mike said. He bent over to pick up the stuff that had spilled. He was just about to reach for the card when Grace grabbed it.

  “Got it!” Grace said. She held up a small baseball card with an orange background and an old-fashioned player on it. “I bought this at the gift shop and was going to wrap it for the kids.”

  Mike nodded. “That’s a Honus Wagner T206 card!” he said. “My dad bought me a copy from the gift shop for my birthday last year.”

  Grace smiled. “That’s why I thought it would make a great gift,” she said. Grace placed the card in a gift box and wrapped it in red paper. She tied purple and yellow ribbons around it and put it in the pile of gifts to go under the tree.

  Grace clapped her hands. “Okay! Let’s finish up before the pizza gets here,” she said. The kids scurried to wrap the remaining presents. Then Grace gathered them around the table.

  “You did such a great job wrapping the gifts that Mr. Owen has a special reward for you,” Grace said. “He told me that after the museum closes tonight, he’ll give you a private tour of the Hall of Fame.”

  The kids cheered. “Cool!” Mike said. He gave Caleb a high five.

  Grace help up her hand. “And even better,” she said, “while you were wrapping gifts, I checked with all your parents. They gave me approval for something else.”

  The kids leaned forward. “What?” Kate asked.

  “Well, I know you were all going to sleep at Kate’s house,” Grace said. “But Mr. Owen has invited you to sleep over at the Hall of Fame tonight!”

  The kids exploded in cheers!

  “Wowee!” Mike yelled. “I’m finally going to make it to the Hall of Fame!”

  Just after dinner, Mike, Kate, and the rest of the Cooperstown Cares club met back at the Hall of Fame for the sleepover. Mr. Owen led them up to an empty exhibit room on the second floor, where they unrolled their sleeping bags. Mike’s sleeping bag was brown and shaped like a baseball glove. Kate’s had a picture of a baseball player hitting a ball.

  “Hey, we should sing Christmas carols,” Mike said as he waited for everyone else to finish setting up. “Listen to this one. I just made it up!”

  Jingle bells, Big D smells

  Louie hit a bomb

  The Hall of Fame

  Blew a game

  And Babe Ruth got away!

  Caleb and Sophia clapped, but Kate shook her head. “That’s not a real Christmas carol!” she said. “How about this one?”

  We wish you an extra inning,

  We wish you an extra inning,

  We wish you an extra inning,

  And a lead-off home run!

  Mike gave her a high five. “I don’t think that’s real, either,” he said. “But I like them both!”

  Mr. Owen clapped his hands for their attention. “It looks like you’re all set for the night,” he said. “Who would like a private tour of the Hall of Fame?”

  Everyone’s hands shot up. “We would!” Noah shouted.

  Mr. Owen smiled. “Great! Follow me!” he said. “We’ve got the museum all to ourselves, except for Buddy our security guard. You can say hi to him if we see him. He makes his rounds every twenty minutes.”

  Mr. Owen led the group through the museum. They started on the third floor with an exhibit about all the different baseball stadiums. But Mike and Kate were most excited when they saw an old friend.

  Kate had stopped in front a big glass case that held a full-sized version of the Philadelphia Phillies’ mascot. “The Phillie Phanatic!” she said. The mascot was about seven feet tall and covered in green fur. He had a huge cone-shaped nose and wore a Phillies baseball cap.

  The rest of the kids gathered around. “When we went to Philadelphia with Kate’s mom, we solved the mystery of the fake Phillie Phanatic!” Mike said. He rapped his knuckles on the sturdy glass case. “He locked us in a room, but I guess we got the last laugh!”

  For the next hour, the kids enjoyed exploring the museum without any other visitors. Kate stopped at the exhibit of old-time uniforms, including one that Jackie Robinson wore. “They have replica jerseys just like that in the gift shop,” Kate said. “I asked for one for Christmas.”

  “Cool,” Mike said. “I asked for a new Cooperstown Crusher bat for Christmas. I bet that will help me hit a home run this year!”

  Mr. Owen showed them a Bloopers, Bungles, and Blunders exhibit. The best part was a ten-minute video of baseball players dropping balls, missing catches, running into walls, and generally messing up.

  Caleb nudged Mike with his elbow. “Our last game of the season could be on that video!” Caleb said. “Remember you were batting and instead of a home run, you hit a ball that got stuck in the tree behind the plate? We lost big-time to the Utica Aces!”

  Mike nodded and laughed. “You’re right!” he said. “That wasn’t a good game. That’s why I’m working on my hitting. I really want to beat Utica when we play them in the spring.”

  “Before we finish,” Mr. Owen said, “how would you like to see our Honus Wagner exhibit and maybe even a special baseball card?”

  “The Honus Wagner card?” Caleb asked. “That would be great! It’s one of the most expensive baseball cards ever!”

  “Yes,” Mr. Owen said. “The Honus Wagner card was made in 1909. It’s part of the T206 series. There were lots of T206 cards of other players, but not that many Honus Wagner ones, so they’re worth a lot of money. In fact, one of the Honus Wagner T206 cards sold for over two million dollars!”

  Mr. Owen led them to a small exhibit on the second floor dedicated to Honus Wagner. “Honus Wagner was one of the first five people elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Mr. Owen said. “He played twenty-one seasons as shortstop, mostly for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fans called him the Flying Dutchman because he was so fast.”

  As they approached the exhibit, Mr. Owen flicked on the overhead lights. The famous card was in a case, along with Honus Wagner’s glove and shoes. The kids crowded around it. They took turns studying it.

  “It looks just like the reprint ca
rd I have at home,” Caleb said. “But I wish I had this one.”

  After everyone had a turn, Mike went back to look some more. Finally, Mr. Owen encouraged him to move along so they could get to sleep.

  As the group headed to their sleeping bags, Mike nudged Kate.

  “Something’s funny,” Mike said. “That card looks brand-new. Its edges aren’t worn or anything. It doesn’t look like it’s over one hundred years old.”

  Kate shrugged. “Maybe it’s just a really clean card,” she said.

  Mike shook his head. “No, that’s not it,” he said. “I think it’s a fake!”

  “Hot chocolate and Christmas cookies!” Kate cheered when the group returned to the area with the sleeping bags.

  “That’s right,” Kate’s mother, Mrs. Hopkins, said. “I thought you might want a late-night snack.” She had volunteered to stay with the group for the night. Mrs. Hopkins had set up her sleeping bag in the back corner of the room.

  “That’s a home run,” Mike said. He gave her a high five.

  Mrs. Hopkins laughed. “Thanks, Mike,” she said. She started pouring steaming cups of hot chocolate from a thermos. She handed one to Mike. “Here, pass this around the horn to the others. And everyone else, don’t get caught looking. Those cookies won’t last forever!”

  Mike passed out the hot chocolate, while everyone else munched on holiday cookies. As he gave a cup of hot chocolate to Kate, he leaned close to her ear. “Just pretend to go to sleep tonight,” he whispered. “We need to investigate that card after everyone falls asleep.”

  Kate nodded. “Okay,” she whispered.

  After a cookie or two, Mr. Owen said good night. “Have a great time with all of my Hall of Fame friends,” he said as he headed for the exit. “See you tomorrow morning!”

 
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