The Books

 

I became a writer because I liked to read. I admired the way writers honed their craft to tell a story. Additionally, I enjoyed when a writer was able to make an emotional connection with readers. And I found it somewhat surprising from my own experience just how a writer can connect to a reader.

 

When people find out I have written four books about the White Sox, they assume that my interest in baseball consumes my life. At my last job, co-workers, with good intentions, would stop at my desk to drop off some article that was baseball-related. Sometimes they seemed offended when I demonstrated no interest. I am a life-long baseball fan, but I have other interests and also want to write about other things. Those divergent interests led me to write my last book that is going to be released by Pelican Publishing of Gretna, Louisiana.

 

Dallas Forever Changed-The Legacy of 1963 does not attempt to solve the mystery behind the assassination of President John Kennedy. I explore how the tragic event affected the city, and in turn, then showed how it affected the rest of the country. This turned out to be the most interesting professional experience in my life. I am proud of this work, and I think I take a unique look at history. In a sense, doing the book changed me somewhat.

 

Growing up with major league baseball in the Chicago area was different. White Sox and Cub fans cheered for the other teams to lose as much as they did for their team to win. Each set of fans shared many things and the feeling of losing was one.

 

The Cubs and White Sox – A Baseball Rivalry from 1900 to Present- was published by McFarland Publishing in 2010. I discovered one thing that each set of fans shared: They valued their traditions and reacted angrily when new owners came in and tried to change things. Also, each set of fans looked at their team loyalty as a strong part of their personal identity. Cub fans look at Sox fans as being fair-weather. Sox fans look at Cub fans as being gullible. The book didn’t sell as well as I had hoped because each fan base didn’t want to read about the other.

 

1977 was a great baseball year, especially for White Sox fans. Although their team didn’t make the post season, fans loved the 1977 team almost as no other.

 

South Side Hitmen – The Story of the 1977 White Sox was released by Arcadia Publishing in 2005. In this book, I show why fans loved this team. There is almost no way to describe the atmosphere at Comiskey Park that summer. Third baseman Eric Soherholm told me how he felt the roar of the crowd when he rounded the bases after hitting a home run. The emotion of 1977 was incredible. If the White Sox had actually won the World Series that year, the whole history of the franchise would have changed. Only the championship year of 2005 beats this season.

 

Being a Chicago baseball fan is not easy. Winning on any large scale happens so rarely. Most years fans are driven to drink by maddening losses or total ineptness. This provides a challenge to a writer as well. If a team loses most of the time, what is there to remember?

 

Chicago White Sox – 1959 and Beyond was published by Arcadia in 2004. I was able to recall some truly memorable times. My favorite memory centered around a night game on May 31, 1976. It had rained for several days and the Comiskey Park outfield was still damp. A fog hung over the stadium as the White Sox played the Texas Rangers. In the bottom of the first, the Sox had the bases loaded with two out. Chet Lemon hit a routine fly to left. Outfielder Tom Grieve came in and then spread his arms out in frustration. He had lost the ball in the fog. When it landed, it sank into the soggy turf without a bounce. The fans could see it but Grieve still couldn’t find it. By the time Grieve did find it, Lemon had a triple and three runs had scored. After the inning, the umpires had a meeting. It was then announced that the game would be halted any time the fog was too thick. Sox fans booed. They thought their most potent weapon had been taken away from them.

 

When I think of the White Sox, I often wonder how the franchise survived. They have had some success but even the front office will admit that the club has not been able to sustain that success. The team always seems to be on the edge of trouble.

 

Through Hope and Despair – A Fan’s Memories of the White Sox 1967-1997 was my one venture into self-publishing. I told a story of a team that had almost moved several times and suffered from fan alienation, bad luck, and inept management. I sold out a printing of 1,000 copies. This was a project that gave me valuable experience and it helped lead to other publications.

 

Unpublished novels

 

Currently I have one novel completed and another near completion. The first listed is the finished work.

 

The Trial of Lucy Summerfield has been adapted from a short story entitled “Angel Face” that was published in a 1995 anthology. The short story was inspired from a professional encounter I had with a confident and interesting woman. Although she had no reason to be self-revealing, she told me that she had just been acquitted in a murder conspiracy trial. She had been accused of conspiring to kill her husband. She then asked for my phone number which I didn’t provide.

 

The novel tells the story of mystery author Ted Phillips as he decides to write a book about the elusive Lucy Summerfield. In the beginning, he thinks he is trying to unravel her mystery when the real mystery centers on why his own life has taken a downward spiral.

 

No One’s Hero is a story about a young man who is attempting to deal with his late father’s heroic legacy. He finally does that when he sees the human side of his father and then realizes that his dad had always been proud of him.

 

 

One of the most interesting responses I had to my work occurred when I had a booth at SoxFest, the winter fan convention held annually. Not surprisingly, I was attempting to sell my White Sox books. A man came up to my booth with his teenage son. They had already purchased my books. The man wanted to ensure that his son met me.

 

The man was Tribune sports reporter Sam Smith. For me, that whole encounter is what writing is all about.