by Paul Semendinger
I always enjoyed Charles Schulz’s famous Peanuts comic strips. Like so many people, those characters were a big part of my childhood.
A number of years ago, a collection of books was produced that chronicle the complete and entire collection of every single Peanuts comic strip. With every single strip available, I decided to set about reading the entire collection. (I just completed reading Volume 4 which cover 1957 and 1958.) It is fascinating seeing how the strip and the characters developed over time.
I thought it would be fun to chronicle here the history of how Charles Schulz used baseball in the Peanuts strips.
I hope you enjoy this historical look back at Charlie Brown and his friends and the wonderful game of baseball…
THE 1952 “SEASON”
Charlie Brown becomes known for striking out, a lot. But, early on, he wasn’t a bad hitter. Here, in his first appearance in 1952 (March 23), he connects and comes close to circling the bases:
As can be seen above, Snoopy seems to be getting into the action as a ball player. On April 6, Charles Schulz uses a play on words in a clever way to tie the cartoon strip to baseball.
On April 12, 1952, Charlie Brown is seen pitching for the first time of the new season.
On May 19, Charlie Brown is playing in the outfield.
Things don’t go so well.
May 28 and May 29 brought back-to-back strips, with Charlie Brown again as the catcher (the kid played so many positions). These show that Charlie was also not the only poor pitcher on his team.
This strip, from June 3, is a true classic. It is one of my favorite’s ever as it truly shows a true understanding of kids, imagination, and baseball.
It is possible that this June 11 strip even signals a victory for ol’ Charlie’s team. If it was a loss, it was a close game at least!
Any one of us who played baseball as a child can probably relate to poor Schroeder from this July 5, 1952 comic strip:
Girls can also play ball as evidenced in this great strip. (I also like how the characters also refer to the “funnies.”)
Charlie Brown’s 1952 season came to a close on August 24. Here we see that Lucy Van Pelt is an up-and-coming star.
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