“Contenders” Book Has People Talking…including NPR’s “Weekend Edition”

Arigon Starr with Traci Sorell at Book Festival

“Contenders: Two Native Americans, One World Series” has been released by Kokila Books, a subsidiary of Penguin/Random House Books.

The children’s picture book was written by Cherokee author Traci Sorell and tells the story of Ojibwe baseball pitcher Charles Bender and Cahuilla catcher John Meyers. Bender was a member of the major league Philadelphia Athletics and Meyers was part of the New York Giants squad. They faced each other in the 1911 World Series.

Arigon provided the illustrations for the book. “Forty-Eight glorious pages of art,” smiled Arigon. “I sweated many hours over a hot Mac computer to bring the story to life. I couldn’t be more proud to help tell the story of two Native pioneers in Major League Baseball.”

Arigon Starr holds the book Contenders.

The book was officially launched on April 11, 2023.

One of the first outlets to talk about the book was NPR’s “Weekend Edition.” “I love listening over the weekend and author Traci and I enjoyed talking to host Miles Parks,” said Arigon. As many of you know, Arigon was raised a baseball fan. “My sister Gay and my Mom loved the San Diego Padres. However, once I moved to Los Angeles, I adopted the Los Angeles Dodgers as my favorites. Even though those teams are considered rivals — we were able to co-exist,” she laughed.

Here’s a link to the archived interview:


If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of “Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series,” here are a couple of options:

Penguin Random House:


Amazon Books

Cover of “Contenders”

“I am so excited to have been selected to bring my love of baseball and knowledge of Native America to a wider audience. Sure do hope that folks reading the book will be filled with pride for our culture and contributions to Major League Baseball,” beamed Arigon.

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