Action Comics #389: "The Kid Who Struck Out Superman!"

Action Comics #389
"The Kid Who Struck Out Superman!"
June, 1970

Story: Leo Dorfman
Pencils: Curt Swan
Inks: George Roussos

The Man of Steel is in superb shape.  If he were to try out for any sport
on Earth, he'd be most welcome, but when it comes to the great American
pastime, watch out for... "The Kid Who Struck Out Superman!"

Mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent is covering the Majestics' practice
baseball session.  As the Man of Steel, he is about to transform a dull
news story into the sports scoop of the year.  CRAAACKK!  Just as the
batter hits a line drive for a double, a fast-moving figure speeds along
the field, and catches the ball.  The manager of the Majestics meets with
Superman, and learns that the Metropolis hero would like to try out for
the team.  The manager eagerly agrees, and directs the Man of Steel
towards the batter's box.

WHAAAPP!  After Superman's first swing, it looks like he failed to make
contact with the ball.  Only when the bat is inspected, do they discover
that he swung so hard and fast that the ball bored its way.  In order to
have a bat strong enough for his mighty swing, the Man of Steel removes
the bronze bat replica from the statue of Babe Ruth with his heat-vision.
WHAMMMO!  The next pitch finds the ball slammed so hard that its
friction with the air sets it on fire.

Superman is about to demonstrate his pitching ability, when the manager
asks to have the ball.  His nephew, Ronnie, is a little leaguer, and was
promised by his uncle to pitch against the Man of Steel.  WHOOOSHHH!
WHIFFF  ZIPPP!  The kid strikes Superman out on three pitches.  Superman
retrieves the ball from the catcher, who thinks that he will autograph it
for Ronnie.  They are surprised when the Man of Steel throws the ball
away, and blames his failure at bat on dumb luck.

Superman tells them that he's had enough of baseball, and will head off
in search of a more challenging sport.  Perry White asks Clark Kent why
the Man of Steel would give up his super hero career in favor of sports.
The mild-mannered reporter figures that it was probably time for a
change.  As the Daily Planet editor wonders what sport the Metropolis
Marvel will take on next, the answer is found on the following day.
After practicing soccer on his own, Superman would like to try out for a
British team.  Eager to have their sport become popular in the states,
the coach obliges him.  The Man of Steel uses only his head and his feet
to pass through the team's defense as a single player.

WHAMMO!  Superman headbutts the ball, causing it to pass through the
goal-net, and heads up...up... and away.  The coach is ready with a
contract and salary offer, but the Man of Steel tells him that soccer is
just too easy for him.  Later that day, Perry White and Jimmy Olsen are
reading about Superman's challenge to the heavyweight boxing champ.  The
following day finds Jimmy watching his pal sparring with a partner who is
wearing steel armor.  A light tap from the heavily padded glove is enough
to send the opponent into dreamland.

The cub reporter asks Earth's greatest hero why he's on a sports kick all
of a sudden.  His pal says that even he should be entitled to some time
off every now and then.  KAPOW!  If anyone is going to decide what career
to pursue, it will be him.  The Man of Steel's punch sends a punching bag
into space.  Jimmy points out that if he were to hit his opponent like
that, it would be a mighty short career.  Superman agrees to stop
pursuing his boxing career, but later that afternoon, the Super-Champ
arrives at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium.

SPANNGGG!  With the aid of an all-steel racquet and special ball, the Man
of Steel is able to play against himself.  KAPOWW!  In order to break the
even-matched game, Superman sends the tennis ball into the air.  When he
asks if he has a chance for a tennis career, the Man of Steel learns that
he'd be his own opponent in the exhibition tournaments.  That afternoon,
the Action Ace tries his luck with basketball.  The coach wants him to
guide the basketball through all of the dangling hoops, and then into the
basket itself.  WHIZZZ!  ZIPPP!  WHAM!  CRASH!  The ball passes through
every hoop, but it rims the basket, bounces, and crashes through a

The coach is impressed by the display, but the players don't want to feel
second-best.  On a big league football field, the Man of Steel is asked
to kick the footballs over the goal posts from every corner of the field.
POW  BOFFF!  KAPLUNK!  Fifty field goals in three seconds flat.  Five of
the footballs go over the goal posts, but the sixth is heading for outer
space.  On the edge of the planet's atmosphere, Superman uses his x-ray
vision to inspect a spacecraft to confirm that it is booby-trapped to
explode at any approach.

Every piece of sporting equipment has found itself caught on one of the
intake tubes.  If the Action Ace's information is correct, the spacecraft
will activate in five minutes.  HUMMMMMMMM!  ZOOOOOOOOFFF  Superman
watches as the intake tubes remove the air from the sports equipment.
The probe is heading back for its home planet, with its space-warp drive
making the trip in minutes.  Instead of an example of Earth's atmosphere,
it carries the gas from within the equipment.  On the planet of Slurran,
the environmental chamber is being readied for the test.

WHUSHHHHH!  The probe is guided into the chamber, where it releases its
atmospheric samples.  The Slurrans watch to see if their samples of
native flora and fauna will be harmed, and if they will be able to get on
with their plans for conquest.  The Jewel-Bird becomes a blob creature,
the feathered Ranx becomes an insect, and the Yllu Vine becomes a
meat-eater.  The Man of Steel's telescopic-vision sees the Slurrans
calling off their plans for fear of becoming mutants.  At the Fortress of
Solitude, Superman dictates the facts for his records archives, to be
opened a hundred years after his death.

He had spotted the Slurran probe days ago.  The inter-galactic police
warned him about them, and the Man of Steel knew he had only seventy-two
hours before the probe's activation.  After creating the mutation gas at
super-speed, Superman switches the specially-prepared item with the
sports equipment.  He assumed his sporting career in case of being
monitored by the Slurrans, and sent the gas-filled sports equipment to
the probe's intakes.  Back in Metropolis, Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen
watch as Ronnie autographs baseballs for his young fans.  It turns out
that the Man of Steel was going to pitch a mutation gas-filled baseball,
but he noticed that the seams on the ball were unravelling, and the
casing was defective.

If Superman were to hit the ball, the gas would be released.  The gas was
only supposed to affect the Slurrans, but even the Man of Steel didn't
know what would happen to the inhabitants on Earth.  Clark muses that the
kid may have struck out Superman, but he still won the ball game.

On the cover of Action Comics #389 by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson, the
catcher calls out "Strike Three", and tells the Action Ace that he's no

I decided to review this story after seeing the cover featured in Tom
Peyer's "The News Explained With Comic Book Covers: Special Baseball
Edition" at The PULSE.  Click here to check
it out.

On the splash page, the sports fans have lined up to have a baseball
signed by the kid who struck out Superman for a ten dollar donation to

Supes is doing the same thing, but his price has gone down from five
dollars to fifty cents due to lack of demand.

Metropolis has the Majestics and Gotham has the Knights.

As a batter, the Man of Steel gets a hole in one, and I wonder if he'd
have gotten a home run at golf.

It's a hard day's knight when you're the designated sparring partner for

Jay Garrick played tennis with himself in Flash Comics #1.

Thanks to the Man of Steel, the basketball players now know the meaning
of "Hoop Dreams".

The Slurran probe looks suspiciously like an old Sputnik from Earth.

The Slurrans have green skin, four arms, and four legs.

As the Action Ace has proven, forewarned is four-armed.

Steve Chung
"The Kid Who Reviewed Superman!"