May 22, 2018

Things I Wish I Could Have Gotten into the Comic Book Story of Baseball, Part 1

Having only 176 pages to work with, I couldn't come close to cramming in every baseball story I wanted to tell. So, to get some of these regrets off my chest, I'll post once in a while about other great baseball-related stuff I ran across while researching The Comic Book Story of Baseball...but couldn't get into the final book.

Here are the first three:


Baseball Comics #1, Will Eisner's sadly ill-fated 1949 attempt to start up an ongoing baseball comic. The story of Rube Rooky and his rough-and-tumble journey from backwoods iceman to the World Series is superb Eisner. (Is there any other kind?)

The story of Jackie Mitchell, who as a 17-year-old girl struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition while pitching for the AA Chattanooga Lookouts. (Although it may have been a publicity stunt.) Two years later, she would sign up for the House of David barnstorming team.


Lena Blackburne Rubbing Mud, the official mud used to dirty up baseballs before they're used in a game. The exact source of the mud is a secret. It is named after Russell "Lena" Blackburne, a manager and coach for the White Sox and Athletics, who starting applying it to balls in 1938.

May 14, 2018

May 8, 2018

Play Ball!

The Comic Book Story of Baseball is out today! Thanks to Tomm Coker and C.P. Smith for making it look so good, Jason Yarn for his indefatigable agenting, Patrick Barb and Chloe Rawlins for their sharp editorial and design work -- and you for reading.

What's that, you say? You would like to purchase a copy? Well, here's a way to find the book at your local independent bookseller via IndieBound.

Or here's the Amazon link.

And if you're going to pick it up at a comic shop (it won't be there until tomorrow), here's a handy Comic Shop Locator.


Need some convincing? Here are a few early reviews...

“Marvel comics veterans Coker and Smith deliver powerful graphics, tinted lightly with color for a marvelous vintage effect, while Irvine orchestrates a brief, masterly overview of this morale-boosting sport. Fans of any age will love.” -- Library Journal

". . . a lively and accessible chronicle of America’s pastime, with panels that crack and wallop with image and fact." -- Boston Globe

"Heroes, villains, long odds, and tall-tales: baseball history should always be presented in comic book form. The Comic Book Story of Baseball is probably the most accessible history of the game I've ever held in my hands. I'd recommend this little gem to anyone who wants to learn the history of the game and its colorful characters." -- Dirk Hayhurst, former Major League pitcher and author of The Bullpen Gospel

"Two great American art forms collide in The Comic Book Story of Baseball, and the result is a sprawling, comprehensive, tremendously fun look at the national pastime. It’s all here, from the Babe to Buckner, billy goats to Barry Bonds. Writer Alex Irvine and artists Tomm Coker and C.P. Smith exalt baseball’s triumphs while reckoning with its sins, and the result is a rich, thorough history that you’ll return to again and again, just like the grand old game itself." -- Jay Busbee, lead writer for Yahoo Sports

May 7, 2018

Baseball Countdown Numbers

If you were following along and perhaps wondering who some of the players were in the countdown to The Comic Book Story of Baseball's launch, here's a complete list:

60 Dallas Keuchel
59 Todd Jones
58 Jonathan Papelbon
57 Johan Santana
56 Mark Buerhle
55 Orel Hershiser
54 Goose Gossage
53 Don Drysdale
52 CC Sabathia
51 Ichiro Suzuki
50 Sid Fernandez
49 Ron Guidry
48 Torii Hunter
47 Jack Morris
46 Lee Smith
45 Bob Gibson
44 Hank Aaron
43 Dennis Eckersley
42 Jackie Robinson
41 Tom Seaver
40 Oscar Charleston
39 Roy Campanella
38 Curt Schilling
37 Casey Stengel
36 Gaylord Perry
35 Rickey Henderson
34 Kirby Puckett
33 Eddie Murray
32 Sandy Koufax
31 Dave Winfield
30 Nolan Ryan
29 Toni Stone
28 Bert Blyleven
27 Juan Marichal
26 Billy Williams
25 Satchel Paige
24 Willie Mays
23 Kirk Gibson
22 Jim Palmer
21 Roberto Clemente
20 Frank Robinson
19 Bob Feller
18 Darryl Strawberry
17 Dizzy Dean
16 Whitey Ford
15 Dick Allen
14 Ernie Banks
13 Dave Concepcion
12 Roberto Alomar
11 Sparky Anderson
10 Rusty Staub
9 Ted Williams
8 Martin Dihigo
7 Mickey Mantle
6 Stan Musial
5 Albert Pujols
4 Lou Gehrig
3 Babe Ruth
2 Buck Leonard
1 Sadaharu Oh