Disney Book Group has signed a deal with Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. for a middle-grade baseball series; Baltimore Sun sportswriter Kevin Cowherd will coauthor. The retired Baltimore Oriole’s first book, Hothead, about a shortstop with a problematic temper, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in winter 2011, with additional books arriving yearly. Disney-Hyperion editorial director Stephanie Owens Lurie did the deal for world rights with Ian Kleinert of Objective Entertainment.

“Working with Kevin and the team from Disney has been a pleasure,” said Ripken in a statement. “Connor is a character that I was able to help develop with Kevin based on my experiences as a kid who struggled with his emotions. I hope that the kids reading it find it to be fun and take away a few lessons from it.”