Sporting Chance Press (SCP) has produced an interview with J. D. Thorne (JD), the author of our book: Baseball’s Winning Ways. This provides readers with the author’s backstory to the book.
SCP: JD, tell us about writing books on baseball.
JD: I have always been a fan of the game. Over 12 years ago, I achieved a life-long goal to write my first book, The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy’s Principles for Success in Baseball (and Life). I focused on important principles that coaches teach in the best of programs. These are not so much the rules of the game or the techniques players use, they are the virtues or good habits that make the game fun and rewarding. “Always run them out,” “hustle,” “make the right play,” “take the bat off your shoulder”— these kind of principles are the focus. By using stories of many of baseball’s greats, I illustrated the principles with real-life examples and then I wrote about how these baseball principles can serve as helpful life lessons. The stories sold baseball fans on the book.
The 10 Commandments of Baseball found a great variety of readers. Many baseball fans thought the book a beautiful title all the way around. Business people said it was a perfect airplane book—simple, straightforward and accessible on a short plane trip or daily commute on a train or a bus. Some called the book a “keeper” that found a place of pride in their libraries. Others told me that the book was enjoyed by three generations in their families: father, son, and grandson. Many people ordered more than one copy because they wanted to get the book out there to friends but they did not want to part with their own. A Lutheran minister came back several times to my publisher and bought copies for young people he worked with. At presentations, I had priests who bought copies, because they just thought it was one of the most decent books on sports. A Jewish charitable organization had me out to speak to their membership and supporters because the book touched a nerve with them.
SCP: From our work with authors, we know a second book often is inspired on an original project. How did you come to write Baseball’s Winning Ways?
JD: First, I should say that events the past few years inspired me to write a book that would be both attractive to young people and help them get better educated about issues that are so important today. Plus the importance of remote learning and reading on important topics on their own has become a vital need.
SCP: So how did this work into Baseball’s Winning Ways.
JD: First, we started with an outline that covered current and past players. Young readers are most interested in the personalities of athletes, movie stars, and other celebrities. Our book had to have content that would excite readers.
Once we had some material that would grab readers; attention, we wanted to help give them historical background on the sport of baseball and its place in our society. A natural outgrowth of that led us to add American history to provide context to what was happening as the sport developed. The historical framework of baseball is a significant topic and always has been.
SCP: So Baseball’s Winning Ways kept expanding.
JD: Well, the expansion occurred in the outline phase. We knew that we had to do things well or we would lose our readership.
SCP: So then what happened?
JD: We had a brief history of the game and a quick look at important players. Next we wanted to focus on tools to help young readers on the habits of virtue that are part and parcel of the game. This was perhaps the most important outcome of the book. We wanted to make sure that readers got something positive in a very personal way that might remain with them throughout their lives.
SCP: But you weren’t done were you?
JD: No. The world has changed since I wrote The 10 Commandments of Baseball. Kids are taught close physically, remotely, or they might be home schooled. So we, my publisher and I, wanted to build into the book certain learning aids that would make the book more valuable. We included a quiz and discussion questions that would help them understand and remember the important points.
SCP: For many people, it might sound a little overambitious.
JD: Well that’s right and that’s why we didn’t stop there. The book includes historical photos along with special illustrations that are reminiscent of classic baseball cards. This provides certain information in a visual way and it also breaks up the content for easier reading.
SCP: So in the end you have a perfect storm of a baseball book. One that is ambitious in learning, but also great entertainment.
JD: That’s exactly, right!
SCP: How are the books sold?
JD: You can buy them at Amazon and at my publisher’s website at sportingchancepress.com. If you are from a library or school, the book is in Follett’s catalogue. And finally, it will be available at select bookstores and retail outlets as it becomes more widely available.