It’s an exclusive club. Thirty teams, 25 players each, 750 players in all. For every new player that wins a place on the roster, another player is removed. A few talented players have careers that cover more than two decades. Most last less than three years. But for those who can retain a place on the roster, the money is good – minimum wage is almost $450,000 a year. And if they’re really superstars, they can end up with an annual eight-figure salary. But there is more to it than money.
The men of baseball love the game and they love the clubhouse. The game sometimes costs them their wives and time with their kids. The clubhouse is where they bond as a team and as a family. As with all families, it is a place of laughter and anger, tragedy and loss, happiness and dysfunction. And what unites that family is love. The love of a game called baseball.
This collection of encounters with some of these men by sportswriter Larry LaRue takes the readers inside the clubhouse and behind the scenes to share with the reader what these men have accomplished and the price they have paid.
Newspapers were part of his life long before Larry LaRue started working for them at age 18. His grandmother was a typesetter for a weekly in San Dimas, California, and he sat in her lap while she’d run an old lead-type machine. He was first published at 10, when a San Clemente newspaper ran his story on Pookie, his dog.
He’s been writing ever since. Five newspapers, a business journal and an entertainment magazine wrapped around brief careers as a window washer, bouncer, and private investigator. Always, he wrote.
There was a book on an American Capuchin priest who performed exorcisms in New York and Iowa, another on political cartoonists, a novel based on a news story he followed, and a book of major league baseball anecdotes. All wound up in a drawer or a closet.
Since 1976, there’s been another constant in his life – George Cunningham. As co-workers, backpackers, entrepreneurs, political opposites, writers, photographers and friends they have pursued projects and dreams together.
Reader Publishing Group may be the best yet for George and Carmela Cunningham, and LaRue was one of the first to leap on their backs.
Currently a writer with the Tacoma News Tribune covering the Seattle Mariners, LaRue’s sports writing can be found at http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/mariners/ and you can follow him and see his photography on Facebook at facebook.com/kwlarue, Twitter at (@LarryLaRue and the News Tribune Mariners’ blog at http://blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners/.
His most recent ambition hasn’t changed in 35 years – LaRue is writing projects he hopes Cunningham can use to get him out of the newspaper business.
You can purchase Major League Encounters at the following Retailers:
Major League Encounters is a collection of short stories from Author Larry LaRue's experiences over the years from countless interviews, meetings and friendships throughout his journalism career.
I will admit, I have never been a baseball fan, except for the times my own children played little league. However, this collection of stories was so much more than I expected. Not knowing any of the players or coaches, I did discover that they have one thing in common, the love for baseball and the incredible journey to achieve their dream. Larry's dedication to his craft is commendable, with his persistence and loyalty to the players.
This book holds a tremendous amount of wisdom. One of my favorite quotes
The Ethics of the profession were that we never root for a team.I never have.....taught me was that I could root the individuals, no matter what team they were with.
This player moved me (and I hope it is ok I quoted you Larry). Not all experiences to reach the dream were easy. Sacrifices, dedication, family, blood and sweat helped me learn that there's so much more to baseball. Larry is one lucky guy, you can tell he also loves the game, and to be able to meet so many people, I'm sure he is envied by all baseball fans.
Thank you Larry, for sharing your experiences and your wisdom. I will never look at baseball the same again.
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