Boots Gains Recognition

Boots Poffenberger: Hurler, Hero, Hell-Raiser received some nice recognition over this weekend in several ways. Many people stopped by the Winchester Book Gallery on Saturday to purchase a signed copy and to talk some baseball. Three different people were proud to tell me that they knew Boots personally. The book signing was covered in a nice feature by free-lancer Alison Laurio in the Winchester Star the day before.

The book (and its author!) were also featured in a large spread in the Sunday Herald-Mail. The interview was conducted by Meg Partington and the on-line version may be seen here.

The signing schedule for Williamsport’s Canal Days has finally been finalized. (Is that redundant?) I will be at the Town Museum from 1:00-4:00 BOTH Saturday and Sunday, August 23rd & 24th. This is different from what appeared in the Herald-Mail, however the error was not theirs. The interview was conducted a couple of weeks ago when the times which Meg listed were the most accurate available.

At approximately 1:15 on the 24th, I will be presenting a slide show on Boots’ career, the same presentation that I gave at the book launch.

That should bring everyone up to speed. I apologize for such a fact-filled entry. Usually, the only facts that I present are the ones that I invent for purposes of illustration. To make it up to you, however, here is a photo of Boots that was previously unknown to me and was posted to the Sulphur Dell Ballpark Facebook page by a Mr. Jay Richards. I’d love to know what Boots was thinking about in this shot.

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No matter how many times you (or the editor) proofread a manuscript, there is always a mistake or ten in a finished book. The first mistake has turned up in Boots Poffenberger: Hurler, Hero, Hell-Raiser. I misspelled the name of the man whom Boots stated was the best ballplayer ever to come out of Washington County. What appears as Jack Krebs with a b should be Jack Kreps with a p. I apologize to Connie Cole, Jack’s daughter, and all of Jack’s friends. I would much rather have written an incorrect date or strikeout total because I am very sensitive to misspelling someone’s name. When your own name is Gisriel you become sensitive like that because you’ve seen multiple and creative misspellings your whole life.

When Bob D’Angelo of the Tampa Bay Tribune reviewed an advance copy of Boots, he noted several misspellings which we were able to correct because Bob read an advance copy and not the final copy. The mistake that I found most amusing was that I referred to Yankees’ manager Joe McCarthy as “Charlie McCarthy.” Charlie McCarthy was the dummy in Edgar Bergen’s ventriloquist act. D’Angelo’s review led to one more edit just for names, but I simply missed Jack Kreps’ name.

Books often insert a page at the end entitled errata, a Latin term the translation of which is “oopsie page.” Of course, I’m translating somewhat loosely. On this page are listed the mistakes that are found after the book has gone to print. I’m hoping that there won’t be much to add after this one; however, if anyone finds another mistake, please place it in the comments section for this blog entry. If we can fix ‘em in future editions, we will.

A note to my Winchester friends: I will be appearing at the Winchester Book Gallery, this Saturday, August 16th, from 11:00-1:00. Look for a write-up in the Winchester Star this week (probably Wednesday.) Hope to see you there!

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Why Was Pete Ramirez Wearing Spurs in His Hotel Room?

I loved the Lone Ranger when I was a kid. He seemed cool and suave compared to other cowboy heroes, and with the powder blue jumpsuit and the red scarf, he kind of had an Elvis thing going even before Elvis had the Elvis thing going. And Clayton Moore, the actor who to me was the Lone Ranger, delivered every line as though it had been written by Shakespeare.

I have to stop watching the Lone Ranger, however, before all my childhood illusions are destroyed. Oh, the Lone Ranger is still cool, but as an adult, I get the sense that the show was written, not by Shakespeare, but more like two patrons of the Funkstown Tavern right before last call. Patrons who arrived at say, 3:00 that afternoon. Many entertaining and even serious movies have holes in the plot. Most of us can accept those, but it’s the details that sometimes destroy a movie. You know, the ones that you notice that make no sense; the ones that make you say, “Hey! Wait a minute . . .” And it only takes one “Hey! Wait a minute . . .” moment to make you realize that in fact, the entire movie is nothing but such moments.

I recently watched the 1956 movie The Lone Ranger and instead of being inspired by the Masked Man’s pursuit of justice, I was instead inspired by the scriptwriter’s profound denial of reality. We’ll skip the part where the Lone Ranger has assigned his horse, Silver, to be a lookout, and that when Silver does see a gang of bad guys, he begins tapping out some kind of equine Morse Code with his hoof to let the Ranger know that Evil Personified is riding across the land. Maybe it was the actual Morse Code, I don’t know, Silver is pretty smart.

Anyway, there’s this scene with cow hand Pete Ramirez who, fresh off the trail in Abilene, is writing his best gal back home while seated at a table in his hotel room. There’s a knock at his door and his spurs jingle as he walks over to answer it. And this is the exact point at which this movie fell apart for me.

Why was Pete wearing spurs in his hotel room? Why was Pete, a cowhand, in a hotel room and not at a boarding house or even more likely, camped on the prairie? And he was not staying in a little room either. It was big enough to be the Bat Masterson Suite at the Abilene Hilton. And how is it that the Evil Foreman felt that he could shoot through the wall and kill Pete without anyone noticing? And no one did seem to notice, not even the town marshal who, when questioned by the Lone Ranger, who was wearing his “codgy old miner” disguise, couldn’t remember any murders that had taken place in his town just a week earlier? It could have been a month earlier or a day earlier, I’m not sure. It took the cattle drive a lot longer to reach Abilene than it seemed to take the Lone Ranger. Maybe Silver is just that fast or maybe Silver was smart enough to tap out “t-a-k-e-t-h-e-b-u-s” in Morse Code. In any case, when the marshal finally did remember that a murder had taken place, he didn’t remember any of the details. The town’s general store owner did, but never mind; explaining why he did and the marshal didn’t will only make our heads hurt.

We know that Pete was shot because he knew too much. This demonstrates the true flaw in the script for it was the writer who should have been shot for knowing so little. Pete knew that the Evil Rancher was buying dynamite, which we learn he will use to drive the Innocent Indians from “Spirit Mountain,” their sacred grounds, because there’s silver in that thar hill. The Evil Rancher leads his hired hands through a canyon pass that looks much more like Utah than it does anyplace between Texas and Abilene, but why should the scriptwriter know anything about geography? Innocent Indians, who take no notice whatsoever when the Lone Ranger rides into their village which sits on top of a butte at the least convenient point from which to gather water, have walled off part of the canyon with a barricade of vertical logs sunk into the ground. It would have been easier to stick two logs in the ground at each side of the canyon and then stack the rest inside the form, but whatever. When Evil Rancher and his men attack, some of the Indians climb the short rise around the wall, while others take the trouble of climbing up one side and down the other of the log barricade. These climbing Indians must have failed basic training or something. Certainly, the writer failed to explain why, having gone to the trouble of building a barricade, the Indians were making such a fuss about getting in front of it instead of staying behind it.

I could go on, but it only saddens me to think that the Lone Ranger has righted wrongs throughout the Old West for all these years, but has never come close to arresting the writers whose assault on reality is a crime in and of itself.

(The trailer for this movie appears below; in fact, the entire movie is available on YouTube, which shouldn’t be surprising since a recording of what I had for breakfast this morning is probably now available on YouTube. Watch until the end at which point you’ll notice that Silver gets top billing. It’s possible that Silver did the editing on this film.)

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Boots Launch a Big Success

Thank you to everyone who made the launch of Boots Poffenberger: Hurler, Hero, Hell-Raiser such a big success. Joan and Jerry Knode were wonderful hosts providing an array of refreshments (still marveling at the banana bread, Joan!) and more importantly, a welcoming atmosphere. Indeed, it was like old-home week for those who gathered to hear my presentation on Boots, as many in the audience knew the former big leaguer. (Even as I am writing this, I have received a call from Laco Anderson saying that he saw people there that he hadn’t seen “in 40 years!”)

It was especially heart-warming to see many friends who didn’t know Boots, but came out to support me. There were friends from Charles Town, Winchester, Stephens City, Waynesboro, PA and Columbia, MD, meaning that the greater four-state area was well-represented.

Again, thanks to Joan and Jerry Knode, to Laco Anderson whose heart-felt remarks added a wonderfully personal touch, to Jeff Cline for an outstanding publicity campaign (his Facebook photo album of the event may be found here), and to my wife Martha for handling all the book transactions leaving me free to talk and sign.

In fact, the launch was such a success that Joan has asked me to come back for C & O Canal Days in August. I’ll be signing in the Town Hall from 11:00-1:00 on Saturday and presenting my talk on Boots at 1:00 on Sunday in the Town Museum after which I will also be signing books.

Again, it would be a great help if you would leave a review on Amazon. The more reviews, the higher the book is ranked in Amazon’s calculations and that means the more people who will get to know Boots. You need not purchase anything from Amazon, just have an account. Log in and leave your review. Click here to go directly to Boots’ Amazon page.

As I said in my talk, if the folks gathered at the launch on Sunday feel that Boots Poffenberger: Hurler, Hero, Hell-Raiser creates the sense that Boots has never left, then I will consider the book my biggest success. Of course, the extent to which the book is successful with the public is as much Williamsport’s success as it is mine.

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The Launch Is About to Launch and One Other Tidbit

There seems to be a great deal of excitement building in Williamsport for the launch of Boots Poffenberger: Hurler, Hero, Hell-Raiser. That is rewarding and humbling at the same time!

Just as a reminder, the launch will be held this Sunday, the 27th from 1:00-4:00. I’ll be giving a power point presentation (we used to call that a “slide show”) at around 1:15 and refreshments will be served for as long as they hold out. Looking at the list of people who said they were coming, I don’t give the cookies much of a chance to make it until 4:00.

The event will be held in the Williamsport Town Museum at the Springfield Barn. If you’re not sure how to get there, go back one blog entry where there’s a map.

The book is also available direct from Summer Game Books or through as well as Barnes and For you relative locals, Boots Poffenberger: Hurler, Hero, Hell-Raiser is also available at Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro and at the Williamsport Town Hall during regular business hours (8:30-3:30.)

The “one tidbit” referred to in the title of this blog is an article which I recently posted to I discovered a fascinating article in a 1949 Sunday Sun Magazine entitled, “Frontier Story With a Curve” about a Baltimorean who, in 1878 went off to join the cavalry. The boy could pitch, however, and is it turns out, giving preferential treatment to good athletes goes back along ways. You can read it here.

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“Boots” Will Launch on July 27th

We are just about at the end of a process that began in January of 2012. The official launch of Boots Poffenberger: Hurler, Hero, Hell-Raiser will take place on Sunday afternoon, July 27th at the Williamsport Town Museum in the Springfield Barn. I’ll be there from 1:00-4:00 signing books, and I will also give a 15 minute talk about Boots beginning at around 1:15. Refreshments will be served. These arrangements have been graciously made by Joan Knode who is not only a member of the Town Council, but is also Boots’ daughter-in-law! I would love to see all of you there, and it is the best way to purchase an autographed copy.BootsPoffenberger_1400-for-apple

For those of you who just can’t wait, the official release date is July 15th, meaning that both paper and electronic books will be available from Summer Game Books on that date.

On July 22nd, I’ll be on the air with Hagerstown’s own Lou Scally on WJEJ radio at 7:35 a.m. talking about Boots and the book. (You can click on the link and listen live that morning, but that would require most of you to get up early and I wouldn’t get up early to hear me talk.)

For all my friends in the Winchester/Berryville area, I will also be appearing at the Winchester Book Gallery on Saturday, August 16th from 11:00-1:00.

I will be presenting a talk during Williamsport’s World War II Days on October 11th tentatively entitled, “Boots and Baseball During World War II,” a talk which will be given some time that morning. (I will provide the details when they are confirmed!) Naturally, I’ll be signing books then as well.

Many people have been very encouraging during this two and one half year journey from a tub full of scrapbooks to a published book. To the readers of this blog, I say thanks for coming along and that I hope you’ll be pleased with the result. Hope to see all of you in Williamsport or Winchester soon!

To get to the Springfield Barn, take exit 2 off I-81, then head south on Route 11. Turn left onto Springfield Lane, a small road with an unassuming entrance that is easily missed!

To get to the Springfield Barn, take exit 2 off I-81, then head south on Route 11. Turn left onto Springfield Lane, a small road with an unassuming entrance that is easily missed!

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Eating and Sleeping in Bedford

A couple of notes leftover from my trip to Bedford three weeks ago:.

If you ever travel to Bedford, and I highly recommend that you do, just know that there really aren’t many good restaurants in town. With the exception of The Forks, there was nothing in the way of excellent local eateries, which forced me to Ruby Tuesday’s one night and Applebee’s the second. The salad bar was at least quite good at the former, but everything at the latter left an aftertaste. And not one of those, “Boy, that was good!” kind of aftertastes. No, it was a “Boy, this makes me want to shave my tongue” kind of aftertaste. At one point during my stay, I asked one of the volunteers at the Memorial where there was a good places to eat and after a long pause, he answered, “Roanoke.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy accommodations were great, at least for me, but you need an adventurous spirit to stay where I stayed. I won’t mention the name of the motel, because I would stay there again, and a very nice family runs the place. It’s cheap and convenient, and has the best wi-fi of any hotel at which I’ve ever stayed, but it is not exactly modern having been built in the ’60s, by my best guess. I may be off a bit, though. It could have been the 1860s. It was certainly built when people were smaller as evidenced by the accompanying photo of the bathroom. You can stand in one spot and use the toilet, brush your teeth, and shower all at the same time. Ironically, the marquee below the motel sign told people to “check out our new rooms.” Perhaps, the sign intended no irony; perhaps it simply hasn’t been changed since the motel was built.

That little black tab on the sink is actually an old-fashioned door key. Remember how they used to say “Drop in any mailbox in the U. S. A.”? Of course, I had to pull on the knob and push on the frame and disparage the door hanger’s mother before it would actually close well enough to give any utilitarian purpose to the key. Still, the nostalgia of having an actual key rather than a door credit card more than made up for that annoyance.

It’s always fun to experience little things such as these. That’s what turns a vacation into an adventure.

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