Ken Boyer: All-Star, MVP, Captain

I’m excited to share the title and front cover of my latest book project, a biography of baseball great Ken Boyer.

Ken Boyer: All-Star, MVP, Captain tells the story of Kenton Lloyd Boyer (1931-1982), who played major-league baseball for 15 seasons, most of them with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1955 to 1965. He spent his last four seasons with the New York Mets, the Chicago White Sox, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a five-time Gold Glove Award winner for his exceptional defense at third base, an 11-time All-Star at the same position, and the recipient of the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1964.

The book also explores his personal life, his childhood in southwest Missouri, his minor-league career, and his coaching and managerial careers.

Ken Boyer: All-Star, MVP, Captain is tentatively scheduled for publication in August 2014, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of both the Cardinals’ 1964 World championship and Ken’s MVP season.

To learn more about this project, please visit my book page, like my Ken Boyer page on Facebook, or follow it on Twitter.

Ken Boyer_Front Cover

Title Considerations

Book-question-mark

Sometimes it’s the easiest part of writing a book. Or it can be the hardest decision to make in the whole process.

What should I call it?

That’s the dilemma I have with my biography of St. Louis Cardinals great Ken Boyer. Oh, I have several titles in mind, but I haven’t settled on the one I’ll use yet.

I’ve asked my Kickstarter backers and followers of my Ken Boyer: Captain of the St. Louis Cardinals Facebook page for their input and suggestions.

Below is a list of possibilities as well as ones that have been suggested to me:

  • Ken Boyer: A Life in Baseball
  • Ken Boyer: A Baseball Biography
  • Ken Boyer: A Baseball Life
  • The Captain: The Life and Baseball Times of Ken Boyer
  • 14: The Baseball Life of Ken Boyer
  • Ken Boyer: A Cardinal Legend
  • Ken Boyer 14: The Captain’s Baseball Life
  • Ken Boyer: The Biography of a Cardinals Legend
  • Janie Boyer’s Dad*

* I thought this was the funniest one.

I’ve also started looking through photos I’ve gathered (and exploring a few other possibilities) as likely candidates for use on the front cover. But to have the cover, I need to have the title selected.

I’d be very interested to know what your thoughts may be, either from the list above or another suggestion. (Note: This poll is only to record reader input and the final title decision will be at my discretion.)

Kickstart for Ken Boyer Book Successful

Thanks to 42 backers (actually 44 to account for two contributions sent by mail), the Kickstarter campaign for my Ken Boyer book was successfully funded at 9:48 PM CST last night!

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After the first effort in February and March fell very short of the $2,500 goal, I had my doubts whether this second try would succeed. But a friend thought that tax preparation time was a bad time to ask anyone for money–which in hindsight makes perfect sense!–so I regrouped and gave it another try in July and August. Thankfully, it was a success.

The following comes from my project update to my backers posted this morning:

I’m amazed at the outpouring of support for my project, especially in the last few days as the deadline to fund this Kickstarter effort drew closer. Honestly, there were moments when I doubted the mark would be reached in time. But every one of you came through to make this possible. And for that, I will be forever grateful to you.

Longtime friends, Cardinals fans, and baseball fans in general really stepped up to the plate and showed their support for me personally or how much they wanted to make this book to be written and published.

What has really struck me is the faith that Ken’s children and grandchildren have showed in my work through their pledges, emails, and Facebook messages. This is the most rewarding aspect for me–to have their approval for my project as it goes forward.

A few special “thank-yous” are in order:

Thank you to all 44 backers who have placed their faith and trust in me to accomplish my goal of writing and publishing a book fitting of Ken Boyer’s legacy. I will do my best to make you all proud!

$1964 Raised but $536 Left to Raise in 60 Hours

Yesterday, pledges were added or increased to my Kickstarter effort for my Ken Boyer book to bring the total amount raised as of this morning to $1964.

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Anyone who knows about Ken Boyer and the St. Louis Cardinals realizes the significance of that number.

It was in 1964 that the Cardinals made an August-September comeback to clinch the National League pennant on the last day of the season. It was also the year that Ken, the team captain, batted .295 with 24 homers and 119 RBIs and was named the N.L. Most Valuable Player.

Whether it’s successful or not (though I hope it is!), I’m very grateful and appreciative of the support shown through the pledges that have been made. It’s nice to know there are still fans of Ken who remember him and the personal qualities and talent he brought to the St. Louis Cardinals and–I’m finding out–to the other teams he played for and managed as well.

If you would like to make a pledge, please visit the Kickstarter page and click “Make a Pledge” in the right-hand column. Thank you!

PROJECT UPDATES

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to interview former major-league pitcher Tommy John, who was Ken’s teammate with the Chicago White Sox in 1967 and ’68. The two became good friends and Ken would invite him to go quail hunting in the winter near his home in Hermann, Missouri.

Daniel Shoptaw of the Cards Conclave blog wrote a nice post about the project and the Kickstarter effort this morning. (Thank you so much to Christine at the Aaron Miles’ Fastball blog for her help in spreading the word about them!)

I’ve been working diligently on the manuscript this past week and have finished a first draft of the chapter(s) dealing with Ken’s minor-league seasons at Lebanon and Omaha, as well as what I know so far about his military service. This week, I will start working on his season with the Houston Buffaloes of the Double-A Texas League. It was his performance at Houston that convinced the Cardinals he could be their starting third baseman in 1955–and for years to come.

UPDATE: While writing this post, a $75 pledge was made to bring the total to $2,039.14! Only $460.86 left to go in 59 hours.

2nd UPDATE: A $15 pledge has brought the total up to $2,054.14! Only $445.86 left in 58 hours.

New Kickstarter Campaign for Ken Boyer Book

Ken Boyer_1956_1With a few starts, stops, and restarts in between, I’ve been working on my book project about St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Ken Boyer for the past two years. Now I want to complete my research and start working exclusively on the manuscript in order to have it ready for a 2014 publication date.

I have a new Kickstarter campaign underway at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kevindmccann/ken-boyer-a-baseball-biography

Please take a moment to learn more about the project and look over the rewards I’m offering. As of today, $745.14 has been pledged with 20 days to go. The goal is $2,500, and it’s an all-or-nothing proposition: if I don’t meet the minimum amount, my project receives none of it.

Christine Coleman at Aaron Miles’ Fastball (a great Cardinals blog) invited me to write a guest post to explain the project and the Kickstarter campaign.

I hope my fellow St. Louis Cardinals will support this effort. Pledges will go toward research and travel expenses, including a trip to St. Louis this summer to do work at the public library and the Mercantile Library, as well as interview Kathleen Boyer (Ken’s wife) and family members and teammates.

To follow my progress, please “like” my Ken Boyer Facebook page and follow my new tweets!

 

The Kitty League Book

I’m pleased to announce that my latest book (co-authored with Joshua R. Maxwell) entitled The Kitty League is now available! I’ll post upcoming book signings and events soon.

I have a limited stock of books available for anyone who would like a signed copy. To order, please click the Buy Now button below:


If you prefer ordering by mail, please send $21.99 + $5.00 shipping to:
Kevin D. McCann
P.O. Box 1587
Dickson, TN 37056

Copies are also available to order below:

The Jackson Generals store
Arcadia Publishing
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Barnes and Noble

Jackson Generals

I had the opportunity this past week to be given inside knowledge of the name change of the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx baseball club of the Double-A Southern League. I was sworn to secrecy, and I did my best to keep it to myself.

The team has gone back to its baseball roots and remade itself as the Jackson Generals.
I was excited when I heard about it. Eleven years ago, I published a book on the history of minor league baseball in my hometown entitled Jackson Diamonds: Professional Baseball in Jackson, Tennessee. In it, I chronicled each season, giving the reader an idea of its ebb and flow: how the team fared in the Kitty League pennant race, distinctive player performances and achievements, and lots of anecdotes. The Generals played in the Kitty League from 1935 to 1942, then came back from 1950 to 1954.
The Diamond Jaxx (now the Generals) allowed me to take part in the event and even sell a few books after the game. I had the chance to be interviewed by a local television station and radio station. And since the announcement was made, I’ve heard and read what local fans think of the new name. I was surprised with the loyalty some of them expressed for the Diamond Jaxx name. I never really warmed up to the nickname myself; it reminded me too much of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Some thought it had something to do with Jackson-Madison County General Hospital ( I had never thought of that one) or that it was taking the name of the local community college’s baseball team.
Many fans (especially those born after the Generals folded almost 60 years ago) have no clue what the new name means, or the history behind it. I would encourage every baseball fan in Jackson and West Tennessee to purchase a copy of my book. It’s really a fascinating history, if I do say so myself.