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A Talented and Funny Story

Mike Murphey
Mike Murphey Author Interview

The Conman: A Baseball Odyssey is based on the life of professional baseball player Keith Comstock. What was the inspiration that made you want to write and publish this fascinating story?

I have known Keith for many years and have spent a lot of time with him talking about baseball. Keith is a talented and funny story-teller. He could have made a career as a stand-up comic. But I also realized that behind all those funny stories was a lot of struggle and heartbreak as well. I talked with Keith for several years about the possibility of a book, and he finally agreed.

What was the writing collaboration like between you and Keith Comstock?

Over the course of six months or so we met a couple of afternoons a week at an IHOP in north Phoenix. I’d ask questions and take notes. Other times, we’d meet in his office at the Texas Rangers Spring Training complex in Surprise, and we’d combine a pitching lesson with more discussion about the book. I’m an amateur pitcher playing in old-man baseball leagues, and Keith finds my lack of ability amusing.

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

Most baseball books are a collection of funny stories or big-game moments. Both Keith and I wanted to present the reality of professional baseball’s grind. I wanted to show the human cost of single-minded purpose—the things that family and friends sacrifice to a player’s ambition. The Conman has plenty of funny moments. But they are balanced by the poverty of struggling through the minor leagues, and by the constant specter of failure.

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

The second book in my Physics, Lust and Greed Series—Taking Time—came out a couple of weeks ago. I am finishing the editing process and the third book in this humorous time-travel series. I am also working on my first non-fiction book about the Chad Mitchel Trio and the 60’s era of folk music. Both those books will be published next year.

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Conor Nash has lived his life with a single purpose—to pitch in the Major Leagues. He’s been released from professional baseball contracts ten times over a sixteen-year career, but he’s overcome every obstacle to finally reach The Show when he’s a decade too old. As he faces the specter of injury-forced retirement, he becomes a man neither he nor his wife recognizes. During his career, Conor avoided the trap of alcohol and drugs because his drug was baseball. And what can an addict do when he realizes he will never get that high again? Conor climbs treacherous Camelback Mountain, drinks a bottle of Champagne, recalls people and events, and seeks an answer. Who is Conor Nash if he can’t pitch? The Conman is based on the Life of Keith Comstock. Keith pitched professionally for sixteen years, including Major League time with The Seattle Mariners, the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants and the Minnesota Twins. Following his retirement in 1992, Keith has held minor league coaching and managing positions with several organizations. For the past decade he has served as the rehabilitation instructor for the Texas Rangers.

The Conman: A Baseball Odyssey

The Conman by Mike Murphey is based on a true story of the life of professional baseball player, Keith Comstock. The story follows Conor Nash a professional baseball player. His sole mission in life is to pitch in the major leagues. He has been released from his baseball contracts ten times within his 16 year career. After being forced to retire due to an injury he is not able to recognize the person he has become. He goes on a journey to discover who he is now that he can no longer pitch.

Mike Murphey has done a fantastic job portraying the life of a professional baseball player and the struggles they deal with. You begin to understand Conor and his tenacious attitude towards baseball. Conor has gone through so many challenges from being fired, dismissed, kicked off the team, traded multiple times but he still persevered. The portrayal of Conor’s wife Kate is admirable, she is a strong and loving woman and supported Conor throughout his baseball career. The author seamlessly switched between third person narration to first person. Murphey displays his sophisticated writing skills by smoothly transitioning between a memory and what was going on in the present.

You don’t have to be a fan of baseball to truly appreciate this story. The dialogue is funny and witty and keeps you entertained from beginning to end. Not only does the author discuss the obstacles that Conor went through he also brings forth Conor’s accomplishments. You are taken on an emotional roller coaster right alongside Conor. At times I did get frustrated with some of the decisions Conor made but I was still rooting for him.

The Conman is a witty, complicated and inspiring read that gives the reader hope that no matter what you are going through in life, if you never give up, you will reach your dream.

Pages: 379 | ASIN: B07ZJNDSHD

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