Fred Bowen

Children's sports author and Washington Post/KidsPost sports columnist

*Finalist for Maryland Children's Book Award

Scholastic Reading Counts™ title
Accelerated Reader™


School Library Journal

Grade 2-5?Brendan is the best player on his team, but he feels "it's gonna be a long season," if his team doesn't start winning some games soon. After his Uncle Jack takes him to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, Brendan learns about other players who have been talented but have never made it to the playoffs or the World Series. This is the fourth book in a series that uses actual sports heroes to reinforce a positive attitude among young athletes. Here, it is Ernie Banks, who hit over 500 home runs but usually played for a team that finished near the bottom of the league. -Blair Christolon

USA Today Baseball Weekly

Long-suffering Cubs fans of all ages (especially kids) will identify with the plight of a young Chicago boy whose knothole team can t seem to make the grade. Then the presence of a Wrigley Field legend and his sunny-side-up approach to baseball changes everything.

Children's Literature:
Readers will enjoy the baseball action interwoven with a little Cubs history in this story with positive messages about teamwork and winning. Reviewer: Tim Whitney

Washington Parent:
With warm weather comes the crack of bat against ball. For young baseball lovers, Fred Bowen offers a good read in the fourth book of his "AllStar SportStory" series. In Playoff Dreams, Brendan is a star player for the Cubs, whose lackluster record seems to mirror that of the Major League team of the same name. But Brendan tries to learn from the example of Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks (who never made a playoff game with the losing Cubs) and is rewarded at the end with insight and a special gift. — Mary Quattlebaum

Playoff Dreams


Brendan is a crackerjack center fielder on a team going nowhere. He's frustrated and he's mad. His parents are no help. His father is a jazz musician and his mother is a doctor. When it comes to sports, they are clueless. But then Brendan's sports-crazy uncle takes him to a game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. He tells Brendan some interesting stuff about the hard-luck Cubs and suddenly Brendan starts to see things a little differently. . . .

The History

During his nineteen-year Hall-of-Fame career with the Chicago Cubs, Ernie Banks set one record that he wished he hadn't: He played more games than any other major leaguer without ever making it to the playoffs or World Series. But Banks always had a great attitude and always said: "It's a beautiful day for baseball, let's play two."