STANDARDS

CCSS: 3.NBT.A.2, 4.NBT.B.4, MP1, MP2, MP3

TEKS: 3.4A, 4.4A

The Case of the Fishy Baseball Card

Caleb Craft is a fifth-grade detective with a passion for math and a thirst for mystery. Can you match wits with him? Read this story carefully, thinking about the math clues. 

Illustrations by David SanAngelo

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Caleb and his friend Jo arrived at Tim’s Cards and Comics. The bell on the door jingled as Caleb and Jo entered the shop.  

“How much did you save up?” Caleb asked. He knew Jo had been saving his allowance for the past year just for this trip. Jo collected baseball cards. 

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon. Caleb and his friend Jo were going to Tim’s Cards and Comics. Caleb and Jo entered the shop. The bell on the door jingled.

“How much did you save up?” Caleb asked. He knew Jo had saved a whole year of his allowance just for this trip. Jo collected baseball cards.

Jo grinned and held up his envelope of cash. “I’ve got $150. I’m going to buy so many cards!” 

The man behind the counter looked up from his sports magazine and smiled. His mustache twitched.

“Hi, boys, I’m Tim! What are you looking for today?”

Jo grinned. He held up his envelope of cash. “I’ve got $150. I’m going to buy so many cards!”

The man behind the counter looked up from his sports magazine. He smiled. His mustache twitched.

“Hi, boys. I’m Tim! What are you looking for today?”

Illustrations by David SanAngelo

"Baseball cards!” Jo exclaimed. “Do you have any cool ones?”

“You’re in luck,” said Tim. He pulled out a baseball card in a plastic case from under the counter.  

Jo’s mouth dropped. “No way!” he shouted. “Is that Jackie Robinson?”

“You bet!” Tim grinned. “This is the best card in the shop. It’s an original from 1948. Only $150!”

Caleb leaned in for a closer look. The photo definitely showed baseball’s first black Major League player, Jackie Robinson. But the card looked new. Its colors were bright. The edges were unworn. 

“Are you sure this is from 1948?” Caleb asked.

“Of course,” Tim said. “You can see the date on the card.”

“I’ve got to buy it,” Jo said. “Jackie Robinson is my favorite player.” He handed Tim his savings.

“Let me take another look,” Caleb said once they were outside the shop. He read through the stats: Age—28; Height—5' 11"; Rookie of the Year—1945.

“This is going to be the best card in my collection!” Jo gushed.

“Baseball cards!” Jo exclaimed. “Do you have any cool ones?”

“You’re in luck,” said Tim. He pulled out a baseball card from under the counter. The card was in a plastic case.

Jo’s mouth dropped. “No way!” he shouted. “Is that Jackie Robinson?”

“You bet!” Tim grinned. “This is the best card in the shop. It’s an original from 1948. Only $150!”

Caleb leaned in for a closer look. The photo definitely showed baseball’s first black Major League player, Jackie Robinson. But the card looked new. Its colors were bright. The edges were unworn.

“Are you sure this is from 1948?” Caleb asked.

“Of course,” Tim said. “You can see the date on the card.”

“I’ve got to buy it,” Jo said. “Jackie Robinson is my favorite player.” He handed Tim his savings.

Caleb and Jo left the shop. “Let me take another look,” Caleb said. He read through the stats: Age—28; Height—5' 11"; Rookie of the Year—1945.

"This is going to be the best card in my collection!” Jo gushed.

Illustrations by David SanAngelo

That night, Caleb couldn’t stop thinking about Jo’s new baseball card. He looked up Jackie Robinson online. 

The first article he found was about segregation in professional baseball. It said an 1887 rule prevented black players from playing on white baseball teams. Jackie Robinson was the first to break that rule, exactly 60 years later.

A second article gave Jackie Robinson’s stats. It said he was 5' 11", hit 137 home runs, and was born on January 31, 1919.

“Aha,” Caleb gasped to himself. 

The next morning, Jo met Caleb inside Tim’s Cards and Comics.  

“Why did you ask me to bring my new card back?” Jo asked.

“Because this card is a fake,” proclaimed Caleb, “and I can prove it!” 

Tim’s mustache twitched. “You can’t prove anything! That card is real and in mint condition.”

“Oh yeah?” Caleb countered. “What about the Rookie of the Year date? And if you still think it’s from 1948, take a look at Robinson’s age.”

Caleb couldn’t stop thinking about Jo’s new baseball card that night. He looked up Jackie Robinson online.

The first article he found was about segregation in professional baseball. It said that a rule was passed in 1887. That rule prevented black players from playing on white baseball teams. Jackie Robinson was the first to break that rule. He broke it exactly 60 years after it passed.

A second article gave Jackie Robinson’s stats. It said he was 5' 11". He hit 137 home runs. He was born on January 31, 1919.

“This is going to be the best card in my collection!” Jo gushed.

Caleb couldn’t stop thinking about Jo’s new baseball card that night. He looked up Jackie Robinson online.

The first article he found was about segregation in professional baseball. It said that a rule was passed in 1887. That rule prevented black players from playing on white baseball teams. Jackie Robinson was the first to break that rule. He broke it exactly 60 years after it passed.

A second article gave Jackie Robinson’s stats. It said he was 5' 11". He hit 137 home runs. He was born on January 31, 1919.

“Aha,” Caleb gasped.

Jo met Caleb inside Tim’s Cards and Comics the next morning. 

“Why did you ask me to bring my new card back?” Jo asked.

“Because this card is a fake,” proclaimed Caleb, “and I can prove it!”

Tim’s mustache twitched. “You can’t prove anything! That card is real. It’s in mint condition.”

“Oh yeah?” Caleb countered. “What about the Rookie of the Year date? And if you still think it’s from 1948, take a look at Robinson’s age.”

1952 – 1947 = 

1952 – 1947 = 

1924 + 50 = 

1924 + 50 = 

2020 – 1985 = 

2020 – 1985 = 

1994 + 17 =    

1994 + 17 =    

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