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Baseball Card Adventures #05: Mickey & Meby Dan Gutman
Synopses & Reviews
Chapter One The Last Request
"Your father has been in a car accident."
I almost didn't hear the words. Or, if I heard them, I chose not to believe them. "Did you hear me, Joey? I said your father has been in a car accident."
She used to call him "your dad." After they got divorced a few years ago, she switched to calling him "your father." My mom's voice came over the phone with a seriousness and urgency that I wasn't used to hearing.
Before the phone rang, I had been rushing to put on my Little League uniform. Running late, I was trying to jam my legs into my pants with my spikes on. I stopped.
"Is he okay?" I asked.
"He's alive," Mom replied. "That's all they told me."
"Was he drunk?" Dad always liked his beer, sometimes a little too much, I thought.
"I don't know."
"Was it his fault?"
"I don't know."
"Was he wearing a seat belt? You know the way he hates --"
"I don't know," my mother replied, cutting me off in mid-sentence. "Joey, listen to me carefully. I need to go pick up Aunt Liz and your cousin Samantha. I'll take them to the University of Louisville Hospital. You know where that is. I need you to ride your bike over there. I'll meet you at the emergency room waiting area. Have you got that?"
"I got it."
"Repeat it back to me."
"I got it, Mom."
"Take your baseball glove and stuff with you. You can go straight to your game." "Okay."
"I'll be at the hospital as soon as I can."
When I hung up the phone, it was like I was in a trance. My game that afternoon — probably our most important game of the season — didn't matter much anymore. It's funny how something can seem so important, and then something elsecomes along that turns your whole world upside down and you feel silly for being worried about the first thing. Just a silly baseball game.
I never expected my dad to live forever, of course. But he wasn't even forty years old! For the first time in my life, the thought seriously crossed my mind that he could die and I would have no father.
Mechanically, I finished putting on my Yellow Jackets uniform jersey, went downstairs, locked up the house, and hopped on my bike. The University of Louisville Hospital was two miles away. I didn't bother taking my bat or glove with me. There was no way I could play ball today.
The emergency room at the hospital had no bike rack. I dropped my bike on the grass by the front door and ran inside. My mother wasn't there yet. When I told the lady at the reception desk that my dad's name was Bill Stoshack, she directed me to Room 114 down the hall. It took a few minutes to find it.
"Your father is a very lucky man," I was told by a tall doctor in blue scrubs.
Dad didn't look very lucky to me. He was unconscious and had tubes running in and out of him, and all kinds of machines were beeping around the bed. His face was banged up and bandaged so I could barely recognize him.
"Is he gonna be okay?" I asked. I felt tears welling up in my eyes but fought them off.
"We hope so," the doctor said. "We won't know with certainty for a couple of days, after the swelling goes down."
My father was not drunk. But the driver of the car that hit him was, according to the doctor. It had been a horrific head-on crash a few blocks from where my dad worked as a machine operator in downtown Louisville. Several other cars had been involved in thecollision, and a bunch of people were hurt.
"We believe your father had a subdural hematoma," the doctor told me. "It's a blood clot between the skull and the brain. If he hadn't been wearing a seat belt, he would be dead for sure."
That was a shock to me. My dad always hated the seat belt law. He said it took away people's
An emergency operation had already been performed to drain fluid from inside my dad's skull, the doctor told me. There could be other problems. Dad was being given painkillers and drugs through an IV tube. A male nurse came into the room.
"He has been going in and out of consciousness," the doctor told us both as he made his way toward the door. "Don't be alarmed if he wakes up and says something that doesn't make sense. That's just the drugs talking. I need to check on some other patients, but I'll be back shortly."
I pulled up a chair next to the bed and leaned my head close to Dad's until I could hear him breathing softly.
"He'll be in good hands here," the nurse told me. I ignored him. What else was he going to say — It looks like your father is going to die any minute?
I took Dad's hand in mine. It was totally limp. He didn't squeeze my fingers at all, the way he usually did. But he opened his eyes.
"You okay, Dad?"
"Butch," he said quietly. He always called me Butch. "C'mere. . . . I need . . . to . . . tell . . . you . . . something."
I leaned closer.
"Mickey . . . Mantle," he whispered.
"Is your father a baseball fan?" the nurse asked.
"Yankee fan," I corrected him. "He loves the Yanks. What about Mickey Mantle, Dad?"
"His . . . card," Dad said. He was struggling to get each word out. "The. . . rookie . . . card."
I knew exactly what he meant. Mickey Mantle's 1951 rookie card was the most valuable card printed since World War II. It was worth more than $75,000. My dad had started me collecting baseball cards when I was little, and he taught me just about everything I knew about the hobby.
Stosh grips a rare Mickey Mantle rookie card. When he opens his eyes, he's not in Yankee Stadium, but in Milwaukee on June 8, 1944.
When Joe Stoshack's dad ends up in the hospital after a car accident, he has two words to say to his son: Mickey Mantle. For Stosh has a special power — with a baseball card in hand, he can travel back in time. And his dad has a rare card — Mantle's valuable 1951 rookie card. "I've been thinking about it for a long time. Go back to 1951. You're the only one who can do it," Dad whispers.
That night Stosh grips the card and prepares for another magical adventure. But when he opens his eyes, he's not in Yankee Stadium — he's in Milwaukee on June 8, 1944. And how he wound up there is not half as surprising as what he finds!
About the Author
Dan Gutman is the author of the Baseball Card Adventure series, which has sold more than one and a half million copies, and the My Weird School series, which has sold more than 5.5 million copies!
Thanks to his many fans who voted in their classrooms, he has received fifteen state book awards and thirty-eight state book award nominations. Dan Gutman lives in Haddonfield, New Jersey, with his wife, Nina, and their two children, Sam and Emma.
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