Oakland, N.J. – In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer, a rookie southpaw on the Cincinnati Reds, and native of Midland Park, N.J., achieved a record in baseball that may never be tied or broken – he hurled back-to-back no-hitters. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of this amazing record, set on June 15, 1938, a new website (www.johnnyvandermeer.com) has been launched to help educate baseball fans, young and old alike, about Johnny Vander Meer.
The website includes history about Vander Meer’s career; a photo gallery; a video of Yogi Berra discussing the record; a comments section for fans to interact; fun facts; special messages from Eddie Einhorn (vice chairman Chicago White Sox) and Brandon Steiner, CEO of Steiner Sports; and information about a new eBook that focuses on the man and event – Batboy Stories, Catching Rainbows – The Story of Johnny Vander Meer’s Back to Back No Hitters by popular children’s author Robert Skead. The eBook is specially priced at $2.99.
“Vandy once said, ‘Kids are always chasing after rainbows and baseball is a world where you can catch them,’” says Tom Mulcahy, president, Premier Web Solutions, the site’s developer. “Vander Meer certainly caught his rainbow with this feat and we want more baseball fans to know about him and what he accomplished.”
The launch of the website also fulfills a vow children’s author Robert Skead made to Vander Meer’s boyhood best friend, Dick Jeffer. “I promised Mr. Jeffer I’d do whatever I could to help keep the memory of his friend and the record alive,” says Skead. “For almost his entire life (which ended a few years ago at the age of 96), Mr. Jeffer trumpeted Vandy’s accomplishment and he passed the torch to me. During the past several years, I wrote a letter to the N.J. Sports Hall of Fame, which helped get Vandy inducted; I’ve created T shirts about Vandy to help generate awareness with children and adults; and I incorporated the Double No Hitters into the subplot of my children’s book Hitting Glory – and I’m hopeful the launch of this site and new children’s eBook, Batboy Stories –Catching Rainbows, The Story of Johnny Vander Meer’s Back to Back No Hitters ($2.99, for ages 9 and up, available for eReaders and tablets), will spread the word to a larger audience across the country.”
Catching Rainbows tells the story of a 12-year-old boy, Richie, who doesn’t think things can get any worse. Not only does his highly competitive nature make it difficult for him to make friends, but when his father breaks his leg, Richie discovers that he must get a job to help his family. His initial sadness is quickly replaced when he lands a job as batboy for the Cincinnati Reds. But trouble continues to brew as Richie discovers that he must answer to a bossy senior batboy, obey many strict rules, and convince the guys at school that he really did land the job. Can Richie hang onto his new job and have the experience of a lifetime witnessing Johnny Vander Meer pitch a record two-in-a-row no-hitter? Find out in this heart-warming tale of encouragement, perseverance, and friendship as one young boy learns that baseball is a world where you really can catch rainbows!
The story was edited by award-winning editor and former Veggie Tales writer Cindy Kenney – and is the first in a series of stories about amazing moments in baseball history as told/experienced by a batboy. More information about the eBook can be found at www.johnnyvandermeer.com and www.robertskead.com.