It is said that only about six per cent of the United States population gets to spend a lifetime working in a profession the person dreamed of since childhood. Author Bob Wirz believes he is part of a much smaller group who has lived a long life rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in baseball without ever swinging a bat or throwing a ball beyond the scruffiest of diamonds.
“The Passion of Baseball”, Wirz’s book (October 5, Ravenwood Publishing), tells the headline-making, celebrity-filled story of living out the dream of a tiny town lad who grew up in the Sandhills of Nebraska and went on to head up Major League Baseball’s media fishbowl for more than a decade in New York City. As a friend once put it, this is a “dream journey from Halsey (current population 76) to Gotham. Holy Cow!”
Wirz uses more than 300 riveting pages to share insights on the early years of the Kansas City Royals (he was publicity director) to White House trips, sitting with manager Bob Lemon on the New York Yankees’ victory flight after the history-making Bucky Dent home run of 1978, surviving the early years of the sport’s anger-filled free agency to helping market the dream marketing slogan “Baseball Fever, Catch It.”
“Passion” also warmly describes the author’s own experiences during the 1989 San Francisco-Oakland earthquake-interrupted World Series, rubbing shoulders with actor Jack Nicholson during an All-Star Game, the joy of induction weekends at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and his last visit that stretched into four hours with former commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who had gone from being his boss in NYC to his friend and business partner.
Wirz takes readers through about three decades of the ups and downs of running his own sports public relations and marketing company, which included handling publicity for the coveted Rolaids Relief Man program, ground-breaking anniversary planning for Little League Baseball and helping IBM become the first company to put reality into home run measurements. Along the way, he fell in love with–and wrote about– the touching stories of undrafted players who worked their way from the smallest of Independent baseball leagues to major league baseball fame and financial security.
“The Passion of Baseball” ($20.95) may be ordered starting October 5 via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo or WirzandAssociates.com. eBooks also are available from B&N and Amazon.