Highpockets, by John Tunis, is a baseball novel, first published by Scholastic Book Services in 1948.
It is one of a series of books that Tunis has written on the subject of a fictionalized Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. In this book the title character, Cecil (Highpockets) McCade is an unlikable rookie professional ball player in New York City. He is totally selfish and is not liked by anyone on the team. He does not play for the team.
He is only concerned with his own records and his money. He was a poor farm boy from North Carolina, and now that he is in the major leagues and playing in the outfield for a famous and well-loved team he thinks only of how it will profit him. He considers his siblings at home in North Carolina and thinks about how to pay for their schooling as well as pay off the mortgage on his family’s home. No one else matters.
Before the end of this book the protagonist, Highpockets McCade, learns the importance of being a team player and that the praise of your team and friends is much more important than the cheers of the crowd or a good story from a sports writer. The book didn’t change my thoughts much, though I enjoyed the book. It seems to me that the lessons he learned should have been a part of his upbringing and his parents should have instilled better values in him to begin with.
The turning point in his life, the incident that causes him to see the light, is an accident involving a boy. It is not McCade’s fault but he becomes friends with the boy and it changes his attitude and his life as he starts to become the team player that his teammates want and need. In a move that is so predicable that it seems right out of Hollywood, his team makes it to the playoffs and he makes the play that wins the game and the pennant. The story is dated and juvenile but has good values and is worth the reading.
Tunis, J. Highpockets New York: Scholastic Book Services 1948