Sporting Chance Press (SCP) has produced this interview with J. D. Thorne (JD) just as the World Series is getting started. We want to call attention to J. D.’s new book, Baseball’s Winning Ways, to provide a backstory for young baseball fans, libraries, and schools at this time.
SCP: JD, tell us about your new book on baseball.
JD: My first book, The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy’s Principles for Success in Baseball (and Life) touched on a nerve with baseball fans because it was a fun book with a historic look and plenty of shorts on baseball and its great players. Events the past few years inspired me to write a new book for teens called Baseball’s Winning Ways that would be both attractive to young people and help them get better educated about issues that are so important today–not just sports, but American history and values. Plus the importance of remote learning and reading on important topics for teens has become a vital need.
SCP: So how did all this work into Baseball’s Winning Ways.
JD: We started with an outline that covered current and past players. Young readers are most interested in the personalities of athletes. 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 some material on 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 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. So we looked at baseball principles, the kind of things that good baseball coaches teach in their programs such as take the bat off your shoulder, always run them out, hustle, and do not find too much fault with the umpire. When you expand your thinking a little on these, they become life lessons as well. Taking these principles, we put them in the framework of Ben Franklin’s scheme for creating habits of virtue. We created charts that readers can use to review their efforts each day.
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 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: 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.