I’m a Pittsburgh native who got started in journalism in the early 1970s at the old Suburban Gazette in McKees Rocks, a venerable weekly newspaper that died a few years ago but has been resurrected by a few hearty souls.
It didn’t take many nights at the Gazette’s old Locust Street plant to get completely hooked on the newspaper business, and after moving to California to finish my degree, I spent the next 30-plus years covering everything from sports to murder trials to the annual Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee in beautiful Angels Camp, Calif. In case you’re wondering, a frog named Rosie the Ribiter holds the world record leap of 21 feet, 5.75 inches, set in 1986.
For the past 15 years, I’ve been showing prospective journalists and – sigh – public relations professionals the tools of the trade as a faculty member at Gannon University in Erie, Pa. I’ve also spent my summer months researching and writing primarily baseball-related material. My first book – a biography of Pirates Hall of Famer Willie Stargell – was published in 2013 and I’m wrapping up a second biography. This one looks at the life of another Bucco great – Arky Vaughan – and is scheduled to be published in 2020.
I grew up living and dying with the Pirates and came of age in the early ‘70s along with the club’s young core at the time – Al Oliver, Manny Sanguillen, Richie Hebner, Bob Robertson, et al. It was a great time to be a Pirates fan, and that team played a large role in steering me toward sports journalism and journalism in general. I couldn’t wait to tear into the Pittsburgh Press sports section every day, and I learned a great deal from reading the work of Phil Musick, Roy McHugh, Bob Smizik, Dan Donovan and others.
I understand and appreciate the importance of advanced statistics in today’s baseball coverage, but you won’t get much of that in my writing. To say I’m old school might be a bit of an understatement – ancient school might be more accurate. Still, I hope to bring you insights and information that help enrich your enjoyment of the world’s greatest sport: baseball.