Matthew F. Christopher was born on August 16, 1917, in Bath, Pa. He died in 1997 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Matt Christopher is well-known for his sports fiction novels and has won the 1993 Milner Award, given annually to the author whose books are most liked by the children of Atlanta, Georgia. Christopher was the 11th recipient of the award.
Christopher's first award was a Boys' Clubs of America Junior Book Award Certificate presented to him in 1958 for his book, BASKETBALL SPARKPLUG.
Back in the late 1930's, Christopher played baseball with several teams, including Cayuga Rock Salt Baseball team and the Freeville-Dryden Baseball team. In high school Christopher played baseball, football, and soccer. He played basketball with NCR, the team sponsored by the National Cash Register Company in Ithaca, NY where he worked (while he wrote stories in the evenings).
Christopher got interested in writing while a freshman in high school. He retired from NCR in 1963 to go into fulltime writing.
In 1938 Christopher was one of the athletes selected to play in an exhibition game against the former major league baseball team, The New York Giants. The game was to raise funds for a memorial to John McGraw, former manager of the Giants. Christopher recalls batting twice against Johnny Wittig and getting one hit.
In the spring of 1938 he played Class C minor league baseball with Smiths-Falls, Ont., Canada, a New York Yankee farm team. Later that year, after returning to continue playing baseball with Freeville-Dryden, he was awarded the MVP, most valuable player, of the team.
Besides books, Christopher has had about 275 short stories and articles published in over 65 children and adult magazines. His first sale was a one-act play that was published in 1940 by Greenburg Publishers of New York. His first short story sale was a detective story, titled THE MISSING FINGER POINTS, published by Detective Story Magazine in 1943.
He wrote the text for the Chuck White series for TREASURE CHEST MAGAZINE from 1967 until 1973, when the magazine, distributed to Catholic schools, became defunct. In the late 1960's, the International Imperial Co. of Kankakee, IL published a series of his short stories that were also dramatized on tape, including an adventure story titled RESCUE MISSION, about an airplane that crashed in the Florida Everglades among a bunch of alligators.
In the late 1970's the READER'S DIGEST published 19 of his high interest, low reading level short stories and articles in their READER'S DIGEST school reading program. These, too, were dramatized on tape. Included in the articles was one about the Bermuda Triangle. Another was of Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon.
His first book was an adult mystery novel titled LOOK FOR THE BODY, published in 1952 by Phoenix Press. His first book for children, THE LUCKY BASEBALL BAT, was published in 1954 by Little, Brown and Co. of Boston, MA, who has published most of his books. The book was in print for 25 years, and in 1992 was reprinted in shorter form which Little, Brown and Co. has called a Springboard Book.
Three of his mystery novels for children were published under a pseudonym, Frederic Martin. Four animal books, including STRANDED and DESPERATE SEARCH, were published under his own name. All by Little, Brown.
In 1989, his book, DIRT BIKE RACER, was nominated for the Maud Hart Lovelace Award, given to the author whose children's book is judged best in the state of Minnesota.
Other books nominated for awards, ie: THE SPY ON THIRD BASE, 1992-93 Massachusett's Children's Book Award; TAKEDOWN, nominated for the 1994 Kentucky Bluegrass Award; CENTERFIELD BALLHAWK, nominated for the 1993-94 Sunshine State Award Master List; SKATEBOARD TOUGH, nominated for the Black-eyed Susan Award in 1993-94.
In 1993 three new books published in hardcover include THE DOG THAT STOLE HOME, MAN OUT AT FIRST, and PRESSURE PLAY. Four paperback books that came out in 1993 are LONG STRETCH AT FIRST BASE, LITTLE LEFTY, THE LUCKY BASEBALL BAT, and THE DOG THAT PITCHED A NO-HITTER.
New hardcover books published in the spring of 1994 include TOP WING, a soccer book, THE WINNING STROKE, and ZERO'S SLIDER. Fall 1994 publication was FIGHTING TACKLE, which will be his 93rd hardcover book.
Matt Christopher and his wife Cay were the parents of four children and the grandparents of ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Matt Christopher FAQ'S