In each of the nine books in this series (one per team member), the story is told from the point of view of young boys who play on a baseball team. Each story portrays typical problems or decisions kids might face at school, home or on the field. Every individual must tackle his belief in his abilities as well as work with others on the tram. These simple books will have readers who are just beginning to read chapter books clamoring for the next book. Although the text mentions the characters in the other stories, each volume can be read out of order or even as a stand alone title. Fans of Matt Christopher sports fiction will enjoy these reissued editions. The sports related vocabulary may be difficult for some readers who are not familiar with baseball terminology and play-by-plays. Recommended
Library Media Connection, 2010
When Rudy Calhoun's baseball career changes dramatically, he begins to wonder if his new second-hand mask is still filled with the talents of its former owner. Author, Christopher's name is synonymous with children's sports books, and beginning novel readers can catch another great story in this, the eighth book of his "Peach Street Mudders" series.
Children's Literature Data Base
This ninth offering in the Peach Street Mudders series, following Stranger in Right Field (1997), focuses on catcher Rudy Calhoun, who feels his recent slump is a result of using a borrowed catcher's mask. He can't afford to buy a new one, but when he purchases a used mask at a yard sale, his game begins to turn around. Rudy feels the transformation has something to do with the initials Y. B.--Yogi Berra?--engraved on the front, though his coach has a more plausible explanation. Christopher concentrates more on play-by-play descriptions of Rudy's games than on character development or plot, but the series' fans probably won't mind. Bert Dodson's black-and-white illustrations and the short chapters add to the appeal for beginning chapter-book readers. Category: Middle Readers. Gr. 2-4.
Booklist, October 1998.
Rudy is suffering an off season in the position of catcher for the Peach Street Mudders. Every day he has to listen to the taunts of his teammates as they comment on his mistakes. Rudy believes that not having his own catcher's mask is at the root of his troubles. On the way home from another miserable practice, he notices that the Turnbulls are having a yard sale, and he stops to see what they have. An old catcher's mask catches his eye, and when he tries it on, it's a perfect fit. Mr. Turnbull points out the initials, Y.B., on the mask, telling Rudy that he doesn't remember who carved them into the mask. Then Mr. Turnbull adds a book about baseball to Rudy's purchase, and Rudy hurries home. When he reads the book, he learns that one of the characters in it is Yogi Berra. Believing that the mask also belong to Yogi Berra, Rudy hurries to practice the next morning, certain that the mask of a Hall-of-Famer will bring him good luck. The rest of the story entertains as it teaches a lesson about believing in oneself. Ages 7 to 9.
Children's Literature Data Base
Rudy lacks confidence in his baseball skills until he acquires a catcher's mask marked "Y. B." Rudy's belief that the mask once belonged to Yogi Berra improves his playing. The extremely thin plot is heavily padded with baseball scenes, but fans of the series will no doubt be glad to spend another inning with these familiar characters. (Peach Street Mudders series). Recommended, with minor flaws.
Horn Book, Fall 1998