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The Oddball Insider E-Zine

March, 2006 - Vol. 7, No. 3  Issue #120

  • Knuckleballs by Dave Clark
  • Autograph Hound by Marc Schoder

  • Read previous issue

    KNUCKLEBALLS, By Dave Clark - Knuckleball HQ

    The Book on the Book

    A large part of authoring a book entails writing one that others want to read. Don't do that and you cut your chances of getting published. Some people call it luck, but it's really planning--before, during and after publication. In short, I would not have had fun stories about The Knucklebook if I'd spent my precious time writing about a little girl, her bunny rabbit, and The Meaning Of Life.

    My publisher sent a few proofs out, books simply bound in softcover and missing things such as an index, so key people could read the main text and graciously provide a review to be printed on the back of the dust jacket. They're plainly printed, "Not For Sale", but one somehow ended up in the hands of a S.F. online bookstore, available to the public. I rescued it from it's twisted fate, and before I got to look over much of it just to see what a proof is all about, my daughter snatched it from me to take to school for Show-And-Tell. If you never had the chance to be bullied by a nine-year-old, you have no idea how brutal they can act.

    I jokingly called it an applied physics textbook when I sent a copy to my high school science teacher who was responsible for some of the impetus behind it. As it turns out, I'm more on point with that description than I intended. I've heard numerous stories of purchasers young and old picking it up with a baseball and working on what they feel is their ticket to the Major Leagues. There are leagues for anyone of any age, and while MLB has an unwritten age requirement for rookies, these leagues may feel the effect of a reader who thought he had a filthy weapon to fire past unsuspecting batters. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out. There will be no shortage of knucklers that'l tempt batters so much, they'll screw themselves into the ground trying to rip them. And there will be a large number golfed into windshields behind the centerfield bleachers. Either one is dangerous, depending on how you participate in the event.

    I can see the intrigue behind the knuckleball, naturally. But there is something to be said for breaking one out in BP. If you're the batter, your job is to swing at everything you can reach and hit it all square and fair. If you're the pitcher and you throw a legitimate strike that freezes that batter, you just threw one sick pitch... probably a way cool knuckleball.

    I could write a book on the book, but suffice it to say I appearently struck a chord with baseball aficianados who also coach it or catch it or just want to know what's up with that silly thing. One umpire already was grateful for my remembering his kind, and providing some reassurance, if not solid advice. He told me that if I'm ever on the mound when he's working the plate and I fire a pickoff throw to first, he'll call it a strike.

    It's moving a few hundred copies a week, and it's barely baseball season. Experts in book sales who know how these things move off the shelves say this will sell for probably a few years, which is okay by me. My only concern is what buyers might actually do with the book. It's not often a book is not read and shelved, but actually put to practice in some way. So, my statement to them is: If you either make the Hall Of Fame or blow out your arm, I'm taking neither blame nor credit.

    And that's the no-spin truth.

    eTopps - Are You Fan Enough?

    AUTOGRAPH HOUND, By Marc Schoder - Autograph Dog

    Random Thoughts on Autographs

    I began to think the other day of all of the autographs that I have gotten in the mail and I decided to go back through memory lane. Here is my Top 10 list.

    10. Frank Tanana: The man will sign everything you put in front of him. A good player in his day, who found the path of the lord after retiring from baseball like many other players had.

    9. Charlie Hough: Didn't find God per se, however is still coaching in baseball and being fan-friendly.

    8. Sparky Anderson: This Hall of Fame manager will sign a large portion of items because he knows that they will end up on eBay.

    7. Bill Lee: Old space man... Certainly knows the value of his rookie card when he didn't return it to me with the 1975 Topps I sent him.

    6. Ed Romero: Former Sox and Brewer infielder of the 1980's. See #7.

    5. Anna Kournikova: Still trying to decide if this one is real.

    4. Paul Konerko: Same problem when I sent to his home address.

    3. Curt Schilling: Wins a World Series and stop signing during Spring Training.

    2. Boog Powell: You learned how to use an auto pen -- Congrats!

    1. Former President Bill Clinton: Like the cigar, will the ink stand up to the test of time?

    Marc Schoder is a freelance writer and computer consultant in New Mexico. He can be contacted at or or by e-mail at

    The contents of the respective articles represent the opinions of the individual writers and not necessarily those of the editor/owner of The Oddball Mall Sports Cards.

    © Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

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