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Talking Baseball

Artist Profile

Tom Stanton, award-winning author, will be at Rust Library, 380 Waterford Road, Leesburg, Thursday, May 24, at 7 p.m., to discuss his newest book "Ty and the Babe" about baseball legends Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. Visit www.lcpl.lib.va.us.

Introduce yourself:

I'm the author of four baseball books, including the just-released "Ty and The Babe," about the wild rivalry between baseball icons Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

How did you get your start writing?

I started by freelancing for weekly newspapers in 1978 while a freshman in college. After graduating, I launched my own newspaper, The Voice in suburban Detroit, which grew to five newspapers before I sold them in 1999.

What was the first piece you had published?

At age 14, a letter to the editor of my local daily newspaper, seeking a sponsor for my youth baseball team.

What is it that you love about writing?

The creative freedom. The satisfaction that comes with successfully taking readers to another time and place.

Where do you do most of your writing?

In my second-story home office, which looks out over pine trees.

Do you have a writing process? If so what is it?

I do my best work in the morning, before noon.

What is your favorite book, movie and piece of music?

Wow! My favorites change frequently. My favorite book from the past years was "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides. My favorite baseball movie is "Field of Dreams," and I enjoy the music of Elton John, particularly "Tumbleweed Connection."

How did you come to write about baseball?

It had been a long-time dream. I began studying journalism with hopes of becoming a baseball beat reporter. But I found I loved other aspects of journalism, too. After selling my newspaper group, I finally began pursuing my baseball literary dreams.

Who is your favorite baseball player (current or past)? Favorite team (current or past)? Why?

I live in the Detroit area, where four generations of my family have followed the Tigers. They remain my favorite team and for guys my age Al Kaline is our baseball god. He, along with Mickey Lolich and Willie Horton, rate as my favorites.

What made you write about Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth?

I've been intrigued by them since childhood. They are the most mythologized giants in the history of the game and their rivalry is the stuff of legends.

What is the biggest misconception about Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth?

That they remained bitter enemies until the end. Actually, Cobb and Ruth came to respect each other in the 1920s and became friends, sharing drinks and meals and even golfing together in a series of 1941 golf matches.

What is your best memory when it comes to baseball?

Sharing the final game at Tiger Stadium with my father, who introduced me to the sport. Our relationship and that last year led to my first book, "The Final Season."

Best compliment about a book or piece of writing?

"The Final Season" won the Casey Award, given to the Best Baseball Book of the Year.

Anyone you would really like to write a book about?

My mom.

Describe your writing style:

Warm, welcoming, unpretentious.

Biggest influences:

Willie Morris, Mark Twain, Joe Falls.

Where have you toured?

Throughout the Midwest, northeast and south.

Future plans:

To begin work on a memoir related to my mom.