Inkwell: Authors and Artists
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Sun 29 Sep 02 12:22
Yes, Steve. In fact, the publisher had to spend more money on new advanced copies. There are two paperback uncorrected galleys. The first is blue, without Rice, the second is red, with Rice. And gail, Routledge is paying for the tour. It's weird, that Routledge. On the one hand, they've done a brilliant job of publicity, yet on the other they appear to be so far over their heads in terms of actually moving books. I understand it's a bigger book than their used to, but shouldn't that be a good thing? Publishing houses never tell the writers the business parts of the deal, but my moles tell me, that Routledge announced a print run of 20,000 copies, but really only printed a grand total of 6500, 4,000 of which have shipped/sold, and 1900 or so are sitting in a warehouse in CA. That explains why so many people are telling me that they can't find the books, and that the book was #5 on the Boston Globe bestseller list in the first week, but out of the top 10 in the second. We need to get more books out there. Also, Clean, Well-Lighted is sold out, after selling all 50 at the book signing. This, however, doesn't mean the book has lost steam, because while it was in stores, the sales rank of all books Amazon sold remained around 7,000 on Amazon. Now that it appears to be in fewer stores, today's Amazon no. is 540, which is very, very good. What you need, of course, is both. You need stacks of books, visible in the big stores, and you also need the type of publicity I've been getting. I'm getting one of two, and you can see it in the skewering of the numbers. this is a very dangerous time.
pointy, but rarely undeservedly savage (vard) Sun 29 Sep 02 16:08
I checked Powell's and they say they have 25 copies in their warehouse but none in the stores. MORONS.
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Sun 29 Sep 02 21:27
This is precisely the example of the old adage of spending money to make it. The publisher won't print a large amount of copies for fear of having them returned, instead of taking the position that the visibility of the book will spur sales. So what will happen? I'll do CNN and NPR and some other important shows, people will look for the book, won't be able to find it, and will move on to something else. Routledge, too late, will print some more copies of the book, but it will take 2-3 weeks to get them from warehouse to store and by that time, readers will have forgotten about this book and moved on. It's very disheartening. But the book as a matter of work has received nothing but positives.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Mon 30 Sep 02 09:09
(quick note: if you're not a WELL member and would like to ask a question or add a comment to this discussion, email firstname.lastname@example.org )
Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Mon 30 Sep 02 10:53
Howard, a key question: In what ways, you think, does the Red Sox orginzation's extended legacy of racism bear on the team today? In that all major-league baseball teams were segregated until 1947, all 16 of the pre-'47 teams carry a racist legacy, but with the Sox it lasted longer -- 12 more years, in fact. Do you still see an impact on the team now?
EMAIL FROM DR. CONRAD MILLER (cdb) Mon 30 Sep 02 15:25
email from Dr. Conrad Miller: The Red Sox are supposedly forever cursed by the Curse of The Babe. What about the curse of Willie Mays? probably the greatest all around baseball player who ever lived (not to lessen the importance of Mr. Ruth) who could have been a Red Sock, but ended up a NY Giant instead? Red Sox were the last team, if I am not mistaken, to finally take down the race barrier. They deserve never to win anything for their bad karma. An Old NY Giant and Willie Mays and NY Mets Fan, Conrad Miller M.D.
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Mon 30 Sep 02 21:51
Steve, the effects are still being felt today 1) because it is a subject that has never been discussed in full detail either by the Boston media, which has been conflicted on the topic for decades or by Red Sox management, until now (We'll see what Mr. Henry & Co. do with their special opportunity). But the real reason for the topic's relevance is that the concept of race still affects the team's bottom line. When you have black players who are nervous about Boston's reputation as a place to play (Griffey, Puckett, Sheffield, Winfield, Justice, Grissom, etc...) this is a critical situation. Bernie Williams mentioned it as a factor when he was making his decision about staying with the Yankees or going to the Red Sox back in 1998. Ths is a not dusty, stagnant discussion, uncovered from the archives. It is a living consequence of the team's history, something that must be confronted. There are tangible examples that suggest the team's racial history affects it every day.
Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Tue 1 Oct 02 13:00
The emergence of Latin players in major-league baseball is an interesting, if not parallel, complement to the story of black players. Hardly anyone remembers the name of the player who broke the "Latin Line," for example (geez, now I'm forgetting it, too). There were Latin leagues, of course, but they existed in countries where Spanish was the common language, and so were more hidden from mainstream America's view than even the Negro Leagues were. Howard, what about the Red Sox experience for Latin players? Was there an equal reluctance on Yawkey's, Cronin's and Harris's part to sign Latin players?
JOHN JAMES writes... (tnf) Fri 4 Oct 02 08:36
From John James in Raleigh NC: I'm enjoying the discussion and looking forward to buying the book. About the question of the Red Sox signing Latin players: just eyeballing the names on the rosters, it appears the first Latin player they had was Bobby Avila, a veteran player from Mexico, who played 22 games with Boston in 1959 (the same year Pumpsie Green debuted). It's possible Avila joined the roster shortly before Green did. John James Raleigh, NC
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Fri 4 Oct 02 13:37
The Latin experience has always been different in Boston, I suspect, because the first prominent, prominent Latin player was Luis Tiant, a guy who could make the worst despot smile. As for the Cronin, Higgins, Collins set, they waited till '59 to sign a Latin player, too, which suggests that the attitudes of the club covered nonwhite players, and not just blacks.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 4 Oct 02 13:49
I want to thank Howard and Steve for joining us in Inkwell.vue. This is a fascinating discussion and I can hardly believe that it's already been two weeks! You're more than welcome to continue the discussion as long as you want. The topic will remain open, so please feel free to keep talking, or to use the topic to post any more book-signing dates you might have, Howard. Thanks so much! It's a pleasure to have you here!
Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Thu 10 Oct 02 11:33
Hey Howard, I heard a blurb on National Public Radio this morning to the effect that tomorrow morning's "Morning Edition" program (Oct. 11) will feature a segment on "the last major-league baseball team to integrate." You going to be featured? (he asks with hope) This morning's "Morning Edition" included a segment about Jackie Robinson, drawing from a just-published book on Robinson that NPR's "Weekend Edition" host Scott Simon wrote.
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Thu 10 Oct 02 18:24
That would be me, with Juan Williams. I hope I'm awake to hear it!
Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Thu 10 Oct 02 18:39
Hey now! Congratulations! And I'm going to get up extra early just to hear you twice. Really, Howard, tomorrow's interview comprises terrific support for "Shut Out." Kudos to you! BTW, the Jackie Robinson segment this morning on "Morning Edition" was very interesting. Scott Simon is a great interview, of course, but he kept the focus on his subject. Cool factette: Robinson was playing for the ping-pong championship of Pasedena at age 15 only a few months after he picked up a paddle for the first time.
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Thu 10 Oct 02 18:53
What have you heard about that book? Worth picking up, beyond simply adding to the library?
pooning tang; tanging the poon (viv) Sat 19 Oct 02 14:38
I'm sorry I didn't visit this topic when it was ongoing. It's a terrific interview. Thanks so much. Going to seek out HOward's book.
(fom) Sat 19 Oct 02 15:31
It could still be ongoing, if anyone has any questions...
pooning tang; tanging the poon (viv) Sat 19 Oct 02 19:30
Okay. My question is about winter ball and whether black players sought the winter leagues for a respite from racism. Or was it just a change in geography?
Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Mon 21 Oct 02 11:52
>>>What have you heard about that book? Worth picking up, beyond simply adding to the library?<<< The NY Times gave Simon's "Jackie Robinson ad the Integration of Basebal" a lukewarm review in the 10/13/02 edition of the Book Review. Sample: "Simon...is at his best when giving the reader the texture of Robinson's story before he set foot on Ebbets Field... Unfortunately, Simon too often lapses into familiar honorifics for Robinson, including 'knight,' 'hero' and 'lightning rod.' Then again, one reader's banality can be another's signpost." The reviewer, Alan Schwarz (who I'm sure you know, <ohmy>), was much more enthusiastic about "Extra Bases: Reflections on Jackie Robinson, Race, and Baseball History," the new book by Jules Tygiel, described in the review as "perhaps the leading expert on baseball and integration." This is a collection of essays by Tygiel, who is a professor of history at SF State. The one I very much want to read that's in the book is titled "Ken Burns Meets Jackie Robinson." The 10/13 Book Review also includes a page reviewing new Mickey Mantle and Sandy Koufax biographies.
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Mon 21 Oct 02 18:37
Jules is a great guy, and his "Baseball's Great Experiment" is a groundbreaking work. He gave everyone who came after him a roadmap to find reporting no one seemed to have much interest in. Despite being "Shut Out" by the Boston Globe and NYT (at least for now), The Nation offered up a very strong and insightful review of the book. The reviewer, Louis Masur, was very thorough in his commentary. He did say that he thought I was "too hard" on Peter Gammons.
pointy, but rarely undeservedly savage (vard) Mon 21 Oct 02 22:12
Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Thu 7 Nov 02 13:32
I hope Howard still checks in here! I have a question ==I haven't read your book yet, but I am wondering if you interviewed Pumpsie Green? He lives in Oakland and I met him last summer.
Andrew Alden (alden) Thu 7 Nov 02 13:47
Pumpsie appears throughout the book. He's a crucial character.
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Sat 9 Nov 02 00:57
Yes, I did interview Pumpsie on dozens of occasions. Sadly, his wife was very angry at me for writing about him in such detail, for she maintains that I have robbed him of his own opportunity to write his memoirs (he's been retired for 38 years now). It was a bizarre exchange (I never heard from Pumpsie himself about how he felt about the book) which ended with me telling Mrs. Green that history does not belong to one person, even the person in the center of it. I tried to appeal to her that positive interest in my book enhances Pumpsie's chances to find publishers enthusiastic. She would have none of it, and we haven't spoken in a couple of months. Oh well.
Jim Klopfenstein (klopfens) Mon 11 Nov 02 11:09
Howard, I just read your book this weekend, and think it's a valuable addition to my baseball library. There are so many things that, as a lifelong fan, I had never realized or thought about. The earliest teams I watched, in the late 50s and early 60s, were all integrated and many included Latin players. But you've opened my eyes as to how recent and incomplete the process of integration was at the time (and still is, in some ways and in some places). I found the inside information about Boston baseball writing particularly interesting, especially regarding Will McDonough and Peter Gammons. I noticed you thanked McDonough in the acknowledgements, though you were very hard on him in the book. Have you gotten any feedback from him (or from his son, Sean)?
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