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About Lonnie Wheeler
Pitch by Pitch closely follows Intangiball, which was released on August 11, 2015. Published by Simon & Schuster, it champions the value of intangibles in relation to baseball players and teams. For Intangiball, Wheeler was a winner of the 2016 SABR Baseball Research Award.
A native of St. Louis, Wheeler moved to Kirksville, Missouri, during his high school years, and there began his newspaper career. As a journalism student at the University of Missouri (class of 1974), he interned in the sports departments of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Miami Herald. He returned to the Enquirer in 1977 and left in 1984 to pursue freelance writing. Wheeler later wrote a sports column for the Cincinnati Post.
His first book, The Cincinnati Game, was co-authored by John Baskin and published by Orange Frazer Press in 1988. The same year saw the release of Bleachers, for which Wheeler spent a season watching ballgames from the bleachers of Wrigley Field.
In 1991, he collaborated on Hank Aaron's autobiography, I Had A Hammer, which reached No. 5 on the New York Times bestseller list. He also assisted on the autobiographies of Gibson (Stranger to the Game) and Mike Piazza (Long Shot), another Times bestseller; and joined Gibson and Reggie Jackson to write Sixty Feet, Six Inches.
Wheeler's other collaborations include the memoirs of former Detroit mayor Coleman Young (Hard Stuff) and Omega Boys Club founder Joe Marshall (Street Soldier). In 1998, he described the culture of Kentucky basketball in Blue Yonder.
Lonnie and his wife, Martie, live in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they raised three children: Abby, Clark, and Emily.
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Pitch by Pitch gets inside the head of Bob Gibson on October 2, 1968, when he took the mound for game one of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers and struck out a record seventeen batters.
With the tension rising in the stadium, an uproarious crowd behind him, and the record for the most strikeouts thrown in a World Series game on the line, Gibson, known as one of the most intimidating pitchers in baseball history, relives every inning and each pitch of this iconic game. Facing down batter after batter, he breaks down his though process and recounts in vivid and candid detail his analysis of the players who stepped into the batter's box against him, his control of both the ball and the elements of the day, and his moments of synchronicity with teammate Tim McCarver, all the while capturing the fascinating relationship and unspoken dialogue that carries on between pitcher and catcher over the course of nine critical innings.
From the dugout to the locker room, Gibson offers a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the players, the team's chemistry, and clubhouse culture. He recounts the story of Curt Flood, Gibson's best friend and the Cardinal center fielder, who would go on to become one of the pioneers of free agency; shares colorful anecdotes of his interactions with some of baseball's most unforgettable names, from Denny McLain and Roger Maris to Sandy Koufax and Harry Caray; and relives the confluence of events, both on and off the field, that led to one of his---and baseball's---most memorable games ever.
This deep, unfiltered insider look at one particular afternoon of baseball allows for a better understanding of how pros play the game and all the variables that a pitcher contends with as he navigates his way through a formidable lineup. Gibson's extraordinary and engrossing tale is retold from the unique viewpoint of an extremely perceptive pitcher who happens to be one of baseball's all-time greats.
The man who shattered Babe Ruth's lifetime home run record, Henry "Hammering Hank" Aaron left his indelible mark on professional baseball and the world. But the world also left its mark on him.
I Had a Hammer is much more than the intimate autobiography of one of the greatest names in pro sports—it is a fascinating social history of twentieth-century America. With courage and candor, Aaron recalls his struggles and triumphs in an atmosphere of virulent racism. He relives the breathtaking moment when, in the heat of hatred and controversy, he hit his 715th home run to break Ruth's cherished record—an accomplishment for which Aaron received more than 900,000 letters, many of them vicious and racially charged. And his story continues through the remainder of his milestone-setting, barrier-smashing career as a player and, later, Atlanta Braves executive—offering an eye-opening and unforgettable portrait of an incomparable athlete, his sport, his epoch, and his world.
Mike was groomed for baseball success by his ambitious, self-made father in Pennsylvania, a classic father-son American-dream story. With the Dodgers, Piazza established himself as baseball’s premier offensive catcher; but the team never seemed willing to recognize him as the franchise player he was. He joined the Mets and led them to the memorable 2000 World Series with their cross-town rivals, the Yankees. Mike tells the story behind his dramatic confrontation with Roger Clemens in that series. He addresses the steroid controversy that hovered around him and Major League Baseball during his time and provides valuable perspective on the subject. Mike also addresses the rumors of being gay and describes the thrill of his game-winning home run on September 21, 2001, the first baseball game played in New York after the 9/11 tragedy. Along the way, he tells terrific stories about teammates and rivals that baseball fans will devour.
Long Shot is written with insight, candor, humor, and charm. It’s surprising and inspiring, one of the great sports autobiographies.
James “Cool Papa” Bell (1903–1991) was a legend in black baseball, a lightning fast switch hitter elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. Bell’s speed was extraordinary; as Satchel Paige famously quipped, he was so fast he could flip a light switch and be in bed before the room got dark.
In The Bona Fide Legend of Cool Papa Bell, experienced baseball writer and historian Lonnie Wheeler recounts the life of this extraordinary player, a key member of some of the greatest Negro League teams in history. Born to sharecroppers in Mississippi, Bell was part of the Great Migration, and in St. Louis, baseball saved Bell from a life working in slaughterhouses. Wheeler charts Bell’s ups and downs in life and in baseball, in the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico, where he went to escape American racism and MLB’s color line. Rich in context and suffused in myth, this is a treat for fans of baseball history.
Intangiball tracks the progress of the Cincinnati Reds through five years of culture change, beginning with the trades of decorated veterans Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey, Jr. It also draws liberally from such character-conscious clubs as the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Rays. Author, sportswriter, and eternal fan of the game, Lonnie Wheeler systematically identifies the performance-enhancing qualities (PEQs) that together comprise the “communicable competitiveness” that he calls “teamship.”
Intangiball is not designed to debunk Moneyball, but rather to sketch in what it left out: “What order is there to a baseball world in which a struggling rookie benefits not a bit from the encouraging words of the veteran who drapes his arm around the kid’s shoulders; in which Derek Jeter’s professionalism serves none but him; in which there is no reward for hustle, no edge for enthusiasm, no payoff for sacrifice; in which there is no place for the ambient contributions of David Eckstein, Marco Scutaro, or the aging, battered Scott Rolen; in which shared purpose serves no purpose?”
Intangibles, as it turns out, not only ennoble the game; they help win it. And this is the book every fan must read.