Peanuts: Charlie Brown, His Friends, and Baseball (Vol. 3, 1953)
by Paul Semendinger
September 10, 2021
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…
Each comic strip comes from the wonderful site: Peanuts Wiki..
THE 1953 “SEASON”
Charlie Brown’s 1953 baseball season began on March 31 of that year. Charlie Brown (pitcher) and Schroeder (catcher) make their first appearances in the positions they become best known for. For three consecutive days, Charlie Brown and Schroeder were featured in this manner.
It is interesting, seeing the above, as with the 1952 season, that Charlie Brown’s team wasn’t always losing. Because I always root for Charlie Brown, I am going to assume they won the game in the final panel above.
In Charlie Brown’s next outing, a line drive knocks his hat right off his head. It would be years before all of Charlie Brown’s clothing would be flying off after a batter hit a ball through the middle. (I enjoy seeing how themes like this developed in the series over time.)
On April 8th, Charlie was back again on the mound. His control that day wasn’t so good…
There was Babe Ruth. Now there is Shoei Ohtani. It seems, in between, a certain C. Brown, as also a pitcher and an outfielder…
C. Brown’s results were not always as stellar as the aforementioned.
On April 12, we see Charlie Brown’s resourcefulness and a wonderfully young (and adorable) Snoopy, who, it seems, wasn’t quite ready to assume enough human characteristics to also play ball with the gang.
1953 was a long season for Charlie Brown and his baseball team. It is apparent that by 1953, baseball was becoming a bigger and bigger theme.
On April 14, Charlie Brown was pitching again:
On April 19, it seems that Charlie Brown was again playing catcher. This seems to be Shermy’s only appearance as a pitcher:
And then, in May, a superstar in the making begins to show his mettle…
Even though he’s just a kid, Schroeder seems to understand pitchers (of any age):
Charlie Brown must have been thrilled when he first learned that he’s get a pitching mound to work from…
Baseball took a long break from the daily strips until June 1953 when it becomes clear that Charlie Brown’s team was still struggling. Of course, Snoopy didn’t understand the idea of idioms or unique phraseology…
And by late June and into July, Lucy seems to have earned a spot of the team. (If Charlie Brown only knew how much angst this would eventually cause him over the ensuing years…)
In August 1953, we saw that using a baseball uniform as an advertising space was something that was bound to come, more than sixty-five years before Nike added the “swoosh” to MLB uniforms.
Charles Schulz was WAY ahead of his time!
And with that look at the future of what baseball would eventually become, the 1953 Peanuts baseball season came to a close.
ON DECK – The 1954 Peanuts Season!
PREVIOUS ARTCLES IN THIS SERIES: