Blog Archives

When Baseball Was King

When Baseball Was King, The New York Yankees Were Kings of Baseball by Dr. Len Bergantino is the full recounted story of the popular sport and its greatest players. From baseball’s history to its player’s stats and respective journeys throughout their careers. And while the main focus is the New York Yankees, there is also mention of other great teams and their players.

The peculiarity of this book is that it’s visually graphic. It includes texts and images from other sources such as magazines and newspapers. This adds a unique touch to back up the author’s quotes and citations. However, at times it seems like the author simply copied and pasted the pages of the books he thought relevant without summarizing and citing the information correctly. The book is fifty-three pages, almost a third of these being scans or excerpts from other books.

The story is narrated through Dr. Bergantino’s point of view as he discovers baseball and dives further deeper into its history and greatest stars. He tells the story of how his father introduced him to the sport and how he then fell in love with it; this gives it a nostalgic touch that I’m sure old baseball fans will very much appreciate.

While this book is non-fiction and primarily informative, having a “character” narrate gives it a storylike quality that makes it more enjoyable and feels less of an educational text and more like something to read for fun. This book gives readers a general insight into the sport and exciting facts about the most prominent players. It’s perfect for any baseball fans or as an introduction for anyone looking to get into the sport. It’s short and easy to read and quickly captivates the reader’s attention.

When Baseball Was King, The New York Yankees Were Kings of Baseball is an exciting historical look at the game with illuminating facts and entertaining stories.

Pages: 98 | ASIN : B085WMX5P6

Squash The Boorish Louts

Don Shearer Author Interview

The Ballpark Buster follows a boy who grows to be over seven feet tall and takes the baseball world by storm with his impressive skill and strength. What inspired the setup to your story?

I had been reading about a young man known as the Alton Giant — Robert Wadlow of Alton, IL. Robert had a pituitary disorder that caused him to grow at an unprecedented rate. In fact, he was more than 8 feet 11 inches tall when he died at the young age of 22 in 1940. Somewhere around the time of that research, I accidentally rediscovered a set of captivating baseball park cartoons done by artist Gene Mack for the Sporting News in the mid-1940s. I liked these cartoons as a kid, and as I revisited the panels after all these years I started thinking about what would happen if a super-large kid (one who benefited from a surgery that Robert Wadlow did not get) landed in historic baseball settings of the past. It took a lot of fitting together of plot puzzle pieces and baseball chronology in order to make this “new” history possible, but my big kid Buster made his way and knocked down quite a few barriers. 

Buster Logan is a charming character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

I wanted to keep Buster pretty down-to-earth throughout the book. Although he has obvious physical gifts, I didn’t want him to try and intimidate anyone as he competed in professional sports and lived his life. He did not draw attention to himself. He was a quiet boy with a lively sense of humor. He never veered away from the simple values of loving one’s family and being accepting of others along the way. 

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Buster’s great size often positioned him as an outsider, and I didn’t minimize the struggles he had as a young person who sometimes took abuse from competitors, unruly fans and insensitive strangers. In the book, Buster rubs shoulders with others who are outside the norm in one way or another — players like Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth and Ted Kluszewski. Buster both provides and receives encouragement from them. He interacts with a number of vicious people (including one major league manager) and, with great effort, learns to conduct himself with restraint even though he’s tempted to squash the boorish louts.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

This isn’t anything traditional, but these days I’m writing and assembling a large compendium of comedic wordplay puns paired with images. (You could even say they’re memey.) I’m likely to release them as a collection in early 2023.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Every once in a while, a miracle of nature occurs in our midst. This is a story about Buster Logan, who was born a normal Pennsylvania boy but soon begins growing much bigger than those around him. It turns out he has a medical condition that causes him to grow to the point of a near-giant. Although modern medicine is able to intervene and slow his growth, Buster has already become a very large person at over seven feet tall. He’s also extremely powerful, as he takes up weightlifting after his recovery from surgery. Bringing great size and strength to the realm of sports, he becomes a true force on the field. Eventually making it to the major leagues in his late teens, Buster takes many of the classic ballparks of the 1940s and ‘50s by storm, hitting astonishing home runs in baseball cathedrals like Forbes Field, Ebbets Field, Sportsman’s Park, the Polo Grounds, old Yankee Stadium, Crosley Field, Braves Field (Boston) and Shibe Park. Travel alongside our good-natured baseball giant as he conquers these hallowed ballparks with jaw-dropping blasts.

The Ballpark Buster

The Ballpark Buster by Don Shearer tells the story of an average kid, Buster, who lives an ordinary life like everyone else, with just one difference: he’s well over six feet in height by the time he’s twelve years old. Buster strives to have a normal life, hanging out with friends, going to school, helping his parents at home, and playing sports, despite this unusual medical condition that rapidly speeds up his growth rate. Instead of focusing on the challenges of his record-breaking height, Buster Logan uses it to his advantage to become an athlete. He quickly learns how his size can work for him, not against his pursuits, transforming his life from ordinary to an extraordinary nationwide sports hero.

This fascinating story is set in the 1940’s, imbuing this sports fiction story a unique historical fiction feel. The story explores the golden era of major league baseball, a simpler life, and the nostalgia of this decade. Shearer writes a rousing story which feels like a classic with a clear and lighthearted tone throughout, making this an easy read. It’s a fun book for children and young adults. It conveys the importance of living your life to its fullest potential and using any attribute you have, including an unusual height, to your advantage.

Shearer adds creative and unique characteristics into a tale that could otherwise be considered ordinary. It’s a fantastic story for baseball fans as there are pictures of ballparks included, and the descriptions give the reader a decent visual of the author’s love of the game. It’s an inspirational and feel-good story that makes a great light read. I recommend The Ballpark Buster for its creativity and simple but profound writing that makes a fun story for all ages.

Pages: 287 | ASIN: B0B7QP7V9X

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When Baseball Was King the New York Yankees Were King of Baseball

When Baseball was King The New York Yankees were King of Baseball recounts some of the greatest baseball players ever. Author Dr. Len Bergantino is able to recount many of their stats, from how fast pitchers could throw and how fast the greatest players could hit! From Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Jackie Robinsons, we get to read about how great each player was. While mostly discussing great Yankee players, Dr. Bergantino also discusses some of the other great players from other teams, such as the Cleveland Indians and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

I enjoyed reading about some of baseball’s greatest players in this enlightening book. The author is correct about baseball not being such a loved sport anymore. Most people seem to enjoy football now. While I have personally heard about most of the players mentioned, I didn’t know their stats. Reading about the batting averages from back then compared to the players now was eye-opening. It makes me wonder what has changed in the players between then and now.

I enjoyed reading the letters that Dr. Bergantino wrote to Carl Erskine. It was nice to see that Mr. Erskine replied to his letters as well. He even sent a copy of his book. While he originally disliked Carl Erskine because he was a great pitcher for the Dodgers, he realized he did like him in the end because he was such a great player.

There are scans of other books that Dr. Len Bergantino wrote inside this book. There are excerpts from those books as well. They are printed multiple times as well leaving the actual story to be about 45 pages. The rest is from the other books.

This is an illuminating book that conjures a nostalgic feeling while providing readers with interesting facts about great baseball players. I enjoyed this story, especially when the author talked about watching baseball as a kid. This is a great read for any fan of the New York Yankees and anyone interested in baseball history.

Pages: 98 | ASIN: B085WMX5P6

A Universal Fantasy

Mike DeLucia
Mike DeLucia Author Interview

Born for the Game follows a man that has worked hard for all he has in life, now he wants to create the perfect baseball player. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

The original idea grew from a story I heard in the 1970’s about a blind man who tripped over his dog’s dish, hit the wall with his head and was able to see. I thought that there are tremendous possibilities within the brain. I played a lot of ball as a kid, so I originally thought of a baseball player who hits his head in a car accident and becomes the greatest ballplayer of all time, even though he was well past his prime. The story changed over the past 40 years, but the concept of being the greatest of all time and the challenges accompanying that lofty goal, remained the crux of the story. What does it take to be the greatest at anything? This is a universal question and dreaming about it is a universal fantasy. Someone has to be the best. Why not me? Why not you? The possibility of it, albeit slight, exists, and that’s what makes it so much fun to imagine.

Ryan Stone is the result of Phineas’s plan for the perfect player. What were some driving ideals behind her development?

When I was looking at a story with all-male characters, I thought it was in desperate need of a strong female presence, so I thought that the challenges facing a female to be the greatest baseball player adds so much more fuel to the story’s fire. Once I decided on that concept, I began thinking what a female would have to do to be better than men. Just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean it cannot be done. Those who lived before the Wright brothers could have never imagined that a ton of steel and fuel could fly through the air to deliver people and goods all over the world or that picture and sound could be transmitted through airwaves into space and then shot down into your phone or TV. Just because it hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean it cannot be done. I had to build a story where this idea was feasible.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The pursuit of dreams, love, betrayal, gender roles, and how choices drive our life’s journey.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

It’s hard to say at this point because I decided to work on getting a literary agent this year. I’d like to see my books as films. First, I write the screenplay and then I write the novel. Writing one book for me is writing two. I have several ideas for other stories and none of them are in the sports genre. I’ve written four books and a short story in the sports genre… although I really do flip genres during my stories, so this next one will be a whole new platform. I have seven or eight ideas scribbled on a piece of paper, but I won’t even begin until at least a year from now.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

What do a 4 foot 5 inch eccentric billionaire, a Japanese karate master, and a rogue Hall of Fame pitcher have in common? They create the greatest baseball player of all time… And her name is Ryan.

Multi-award-winning author Mike DeLucia is back with new and exciting characters, and a story about the pursuit of dreams, love, betrayal, and how choices drive our life’s journey.

Phineas Stone’s life as a dwarf and a product of the foster-care system mold his dogged determination to rise above his meager circumstances and build a financial empire. But even his magnificent wealth and influence cannot buy his lifelong dream of playing baseball for his beloved Los Angeles Greyhounds.

Together with Rollie Rollins, a former Major League knuckleballer with a penchant for mischief, and his longtime friend, Ito Hachi, Phineas effects a brilliant, yet unorthodox plan of creating an elite athlete under a veil of secrecy and pretense.

The characters in this story are driven by their dreams, but ultimately realize that chasing them brings with it the possibilities of both rapture or insufferable tragedy.

Born for the Game

What does it take to become the greatest of all time? Mike DeLucia’s new book, Born for the Game, presents a well-crafted and riveting premise where a bit of cleverness and hard work is all you need to achieve the impossible. Phineas Stone has big dreams, he’s trying to build a big, successful life for himself, and there’s nothing that can get in the way of reaching his goals. He creates a successful and profitable business through pure will, yet he knows that his biggest dream is one he can’t actually accomplish: getting the chance to play in the major leagues. Nevertheless, his immense determination and his inventiveness lead him to craft a plan through which he intends to create the greatest baseball player of all time.

Readers will find Phineas’ plan exciting to experience, from design to execution. He made sure to keep close people with talent and MLB connections to pull it all off. The plan involved the creation of the perfect baseball player from its conception, where he chose two of the most talented people as parents and only left one thing to chance: the gender of the baby. With this, we finally meet Ryan Stone, a girl and possibly the perfect player that Phineas had envisioned. Readers will have the fantastic opportunity of seeing Ryan’s unique career from the moment she was just a child, and it’s such an exciting and intriguing idea that readers absolutely will enjoy.

The book is structured in short chapters, each gripping and with a new, adventurous idea to present. DeLucia is an incredible storyteller. From the very beginning, readers will be hooked, flipping through every page to find out more, learn about Ryan’s experience, and finally see if she was going to prove herself. Phineas Stone was able to turn his plan from fantasy into reality, which will immediately captivate readers. There’s so much to love in this book, the writing, the story, the characters: everything is perfectly structured. It’s also fascinating getting to explore the idea of a girl trying to become the greatest baseball player of all time, demolishing sexist notions on her way to achieving the most significant success.

Born for the Game is a story about hard work, talent, and family. There are so many lessons hidden in this fiction story, making it entertaining and inspiring. Ryan is such a unique character with a fierce personality and unstoppable attitude that will leave readers asking for more. This riveting and enthralling story will entertain readers of sports fiction, women’s fiction, and baseball lovers of all kinds.

Pages: 179 | ASIN : B09KF6GCGN

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Who We Are and Who We Become

PAUL BURGOYNE
Paul Burgoyne Author Interview

Two Seasons relives the two years that shaped the narrators life and explores questions of identity and belonging in a quickly changing world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

One thing we all share is the need to belong, a need which is especially acute in childhood. I have uncomfortable memories of trying to fit in, believing I could make that happen through sports accomplishments. The story grew out of the sense of disappointment when my best efforts failed to produce the desired results.

Boone is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

Boone is not simply a sports-obsessed child, he is an observer. He notices when things aren’t going right but he has no outlet. He is a reader, and as an only child, books are his companions. They open his eyes to a bigger world than the small town where he lives. He is also curious and resourceful. When adults won’t provide answers to his questions, he keeps prodding for and assembling the scraps he receives into a coherent version of “the truth”. This question emerged: would Boone become insightful enough to take the steps that would help him cope with his life-situation?

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The most important theme was identity. How do we develop our sense of who we are and where we fit in the world? Does our sense of identity shape our choices or do our choices shape our sense of identity? By observing the life of a young boy struggling with a confusing family dynamic, I hoped to consider how family, friends, mentors (in person or in print), along with our own mental processes, help shape who we are and who we become.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on another novel this time focused on a young adult. I want to examine the idea of character change. My protagonist will be a fault-filled person beginning to recognize his failures and working hit-and-miss on becoming a better person. He will need a great deal of help along the way! It’s still early but I hope to have the first draft finished by summer 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Is it like father, like son?
His father is growing more erratic every day and 11-year-old Boone Martin wants to know – is it true? Like father like son? As his twisted family breaks apart, Boone clings to baseball, his one foothold in life. But it’s winter when his father moves out.
In summer, his best friend Rocky expects him to pitch Omak Little League to a third straight State championship – no pressure there – and former big-leaguer Lou Debrunes shows Boone a way out, the perfect curveball. His mother becomes more friendly with Coach as each game passes – is it Boone’s job to keep her trust issues from messing up a good thing?
Set in the fruit-growing town of Omak, Washington, Two Seasons is narrated by an adult Boone Martin reliving the two years that most shaped his life. More than a baseball story, Two Seasonsexplores the questions of identity and belonging in a shifting world rocked by the assassinations and anti-war movement of 1968.

Through Hard Work and Tenacity

Will Hallewell
Will Hallewell Author Interview

Driven follows a young man who fights to achieve his dreams while trying to pull his dad out of his depression. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I was asked to participate in the Legacy Series of teen sports novels by my publisher and gladly accepted. At that same time, my wife and I were on the phone with my stepson who had played high school sports, and I asked him to help me develop a theme. He had gone through what Gabe had to go through with the rich kids in school getting playing time over those who had played hard for their four years and felt thrust aside because of wealthy parents. The theme was established.

The depression arc with Gabe’s father was based on my depression and the struggle I encountered to even get up off of the couch some days. Even though I didn’t drink my way through it, the struggle is very hard. Whenever I get the opportunity to talk about it or help others through it, I do. The white fleece jacket that Gabe’s father wore was the same one I wore each and every day of my depression. It was my security blanket, keeping me mentally safe.

Gabe is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Every story has to have conflict and a hero to fight through it. Realizing what was going on in his town and that he was the only one who could help himself achieve his dreams, I wanted to use Gabe to bring focus to teenagers the concept that life isn’t handed to them, they have to go out and get it on their own through hard work and tenacity. In today’s world where so many young kids fall into that “me” mentality, I also wanted to stress the importance of family. No one is more important than family. And although I realize that not everyone has the same core family of mother and father, they still have parental role models. And, good or bad, we all need to be there for our families and friends.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The fact that money can’t buy you everything, the importance of family and helping those in need, and the possibility that life can be lived and conflict can be resolved with “No Hate in the Heart”. Those were the main themes.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have written a series of mid-grade books called The Gazore Series, which is an older kid’s tribute to Dr. Seuss, and am currently working on turning that into a podcast with 9 episodes completed so far. My current sports book is a hockey book entitled Blindsided. The Gazore Series and Podcast are available now and Blindsided I hope to get finished soon. I am approximately two-thirds of the way through that.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Good or bad, money can be a major factor in everyone’s lives. In the lives of Charlie Shaw and his family, however, it’s what makes them happy and what makes them popular.
When they move into the small town of Falls Creek, divisions of people who have known each other for years begin to occur, and the town becomes split by the creek that bears its name. On the north side resides the Shaws and those who have latched on to their money to try and better themselves, their social status, and their baseball team’s bottom line.
On the south side, there is no influence, only layoffs at the factory. Layoffs and sadness and depression.
Gabe “Honus” Wagner is a senior at Falls Creek High school, and his family is feeling the crunch of the layoffs, his father slipping deeper and deeper into depression. All Gabe wants is a chance to get to the regional game where he and his senior friends will get to display their talents for the scouts of the nation’s biggest schools, but Nate Shaw – Charlie Shaw’s freshman son – has other ideas.
Can Gabe overcome the misguided lure of money as well as help his father out of his depression, or will he lose his chance at a scholarship and his dreams? Driven to succeed, he has to do whatever it takes with no hate in his heart.
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