Happy Holidays, Everyone!
Made it back from our cross-country trek to pick up our oldest daughter from college … and saw all sorts of things. For instance, we went to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to the Alcatraz East Crime Museum, because said daughter is fascinated with crime. Don’t ask.
Anyway, we ran across this bizarre but rather incredible piece of memorabilia.
As you may be able to read, that is an original painting by serial killer John Wayne Gacy signed by FORTY-SIX members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and President Richard Nixon. An art dealer had them sign it without telling them who painted it — though it might be noticeable that the name J.W. Gacy is in the right-hand corner.
You can see the autographs of Mickey Mantle, Bob Feller, Joe Morgan, Al Kaline, Sandy Koufax, Luke Appling, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Lou Boudreau, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Brock, Red Schoendienst, Juan Marichal, Monte Irvin …
We like to have fun here at Joe Blogs. Baseball. Football. Tennis. Chess. Family. Basketball. Music. Infomercials. Movies. Olympics. Hockey. Nonsense. Magic. In short, it’s an adventure. I hope you’ll come along.
Man, you never know what you will find in Pigeon Forge. I mean, seriously, what do you think a piece like this is worth? It’s kind of thrown into a little display in one of the rooms where you could easily miss it … but it has to be one of the most valuable pieces in the entire place.
Well, they do have the O.J. Bronco there too.
What else did we see? Well, obviously we saw a water show spurting water to the tune of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Wizards in Winter.” I mean, that goes without saying. We saw the world’s largest chess piece in St. Louis …
I wrote about this piece and the amazing chess scene in St. Louis for Chess Life, coming out in January.
I signed some books along the journey. They actually had copies of The Baseball 100 at West Bank Books in St. Louis … that was quite exciting because you can’t find the book ANYWHERE these days. They ran out of stock at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, at Books-A-Million, and I would check at independent bookstores in every town we passed through. I stopped in at the incredible Parnassus Books in Nashville, and they said they had a bunch on order but no copies in the store.
So it was joyful to see TWELVE books in Left Bank Books.
I love that “ALL CAPS” sweatshirt, by the way.
Oh, I just checked at Left Banks Books and the book is back-ordered again, so those books might already be sold. Crazy.
It is endlessly astonishing — and so gratifying — to see the reaction to The Baseball 100. I do realize that my surprise at it becoming a runaway bestseller can sound humble-braggy — Dan LeBatard has now yelled at me multiple times over my apparent shock* — but I simply cannot get over it. Sports books rarely sell. Baseball books rarely sell. Eight-hundred-plus-page books rarely sell. To see this thing defy gravity like this has been truly wild.
*This sounds humble-braggy too.
Let me say two more things about The Baseball 100 while we’re here. One, I’m so proud to say that it is a finalist for The Casey Award, which has been given to the year’s best baseball book since 1983. The list of finalists is quite incredible, as always, and it’s so awesome to be nominated. If you’re looking for baseball books, well:
The Bonafide Legend of Cool Papa Bell, Lonnie Wheeler
The Bronx Zoom: Inside the New York Yankees’ Most Bizarre Season, Bryan Hoch
Cheated: The Inside Story of the Astros Scandal and a Colorful History of Sign Stealing, Andy Martino
Cobra: A Life of Baseball and Brotherhood, Dave Parker and Dave Jordan
Escape from Castro’s Cuba, Tim Wendel
Forty Years a Giant: The Life of Horace Stoneham, Steven Treder
Lights, Camera, Fastball: How the Hollywood Stars Changes Baseball, Dan Taylor
Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series that Changed Baseball, Luke Epplin
Two, I know a lot of you signed up to get signed bookplates from Simon & Schuster. There was a small mixup around that, but most of the bookplates were sent out this week and the rest will be sent out just after the first of the year. Apologies all around. We also will be having a special virtual event for everybody who signed up after the first of the year, and I believe it will feature a guy you might know named Michael Schur.
By the way, Mike’s book How To Be Perfect is available for preorder. I’d tell you how great it is, but he hasn’t gotten me a copy yet because he’s a jerk. He got Ted Danson a copy. What does Ted Danson have that I don’t?
One last book thing: I signed a bunch of copies of The Soul of Baseball for Rainy Day Books. Let’s really celebrate Buck as he goes into the Hall of Fame in 2022!
I think that covers everything for now. I have so many exciting things to share with you in the new year about my next book, about cool new things here at Joe Blogs, about the PosCast. But for now, we’re going to spend the next few days watching Elf (“Francisco!”) and It’s A Wonderful Life (“Why don’t you kiss her instead of talking her to death?”) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (“And rare Who roast beast/which was something the Grinch couldn’t stand in the least!”). Merry Christmas, everybody.
Joe if you haven’t already, you should read two true crime books by Bill James - yes that Bill James. One is kind of his thoughts on famous criminal cases in US history, and his excellent research and no nonsense writing style makes it very entertaining for me. This includes his thoughts on many other crime books. He also discusses a pretty plausible theory on who killed JFK.
The other is called the man from the train, where he and his daughter(!!!) basically solve numerous murder cases from the early part of the 1900s, probably identifying the first known serial killer in the US.
I cannot see how Joe and Elizabeth wouldn’t enjoy these.
I was shocked, my wife bought me Baseball 100. I didn’t think she even knew about it but Tony on CBS This Morning said it was great and she bought it. He’s right and she’s special.