MICKEY BAKER SERIES
When some of my friends heard I was going to give writing/publishing a try, they naturally thought I was going to write about my 25 years in professional baseball.
Maybe someday I will. But I just could not stop thinking about the two fictional sports series, “Chip Hilton” and “Bronc Burnett” I started reading when I was in grade school in Eldred, Pennsylvania.
Chip and Bronc were based on the same concept. They were star high school athletes and together with their lifelong friends played baseball, football, etc. and basically did almost everything together. The characters stayed almost the same in each book and each series must have numbered over twenty books in all.
The characters remained the same, but in each new book the conflicts changed. They ranged from injuries, parental discord, tragedies, rival opponents, jealousies, etc.
In each circumstance, both Bronc and Chip were able to lead their teammates and find a way to overcome each challenge.
I loved those books (still do). I couldn’t forget the enjoyment I received from reading those books. I finally decided my maiden voyage in to the world of writing would be creating my own fictional sports series. My goal was to build a series that could be read by youngsters in school libraries and classrooms, yet also would be of interest to adults.
The central character in my four part series (at this juncture)is Mickey Baker. Mickey lives in a small, rural area in northwest Pennsylvania. Like Bronc and Chip, he is a skilled athlete who is surrounded by a group of young men he has been teammates with since their little league days.
I enjoy writing fiction because of the imagination you are free to use. But, I also found that you can’t help drawing upon your own childhood-what you experienced personally, what you saw or the stories you heard.
My friends from back home will be able to identify some of the locations, venues and maybe even the descriptions of some of the characters. Most of the characters are composites, but I’m sure some hometown readers will have thoughts about a person(s)who they believe bears a strong resemblance to someone they know or remember.
I am not Mickey Baker. Mickey is probably the young man I wanted to be, but Mickey is my Chip and Bronc. He joins them in being an excellent athlete and even a better person.
Mickey and his teammates are very successful on the field and court, but they don’t always win. The rare loss reveals the true makeup and nature of each young man. I believe that athletes, parents and coaches will identify with many of the events and challenges that are faced in each book. with the release of “Coaching Crisis,” the series now numbers four books with probably more to come in the near future.
Finally, thanks to all those who have read one or all of my books. I am proud the books are in numerous school libraries and classrooms. I hope the students will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed reading about Chip and Bronc when I was a youngster
MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYERS’BIOGRAPHIES
My second writing genre is the biographies of selected past and current Major League players.
The impetus behind this was my many trips to bookstores and looking through the baseball sections. You will find books about Jeter, A-Rod, Kershaw, LaRussa and many stars of the past like Aaron, Mays and Clemente.
These are all giants in the game and their books are usually bbest sellers. Every fan can appreciate their superlative skills and their long term success.
But they are more the exception than the rule. It’s not that they don’t have interesting stories, but I believe the average fan can relate more closely to those players who fought the odds of becoming a big leaguer from the start. Yet, somehow they made it to the majors.
You’d have to be an avid fan to identify many of these players, but many of their stories are inspirational and a tribute to hard work and a never-give-up attitude. They weren’t supposed to make it and yet they did. The path the “non-prospect” has to take and the people who provided help along the way is a testimony to “nobody does it by himself.”
My criteria for choosing my subjects were:
1. They were all players that I knew well and could attest to their on and off the field character.
2. They all were the longest of long shots to play major league baseball.
3. I didn’t think anyone else would ever write about them and their quest and eventual success.
Currently, I’ve written about three players; Josh Rabe and Josh Kinney “Josh and Josh: Small Towns, Big Leagues” and John Flaherty, “John “Flash” Flaherty: Behind the Scenes, Behind the Mask.”
I asked each player to provide me with a list of individuals they wanted me to interview as I was putting their book together. They all chose their parents, youth league and high school coaches, high school and college teammate, college coaches, some minor league coaches and to my surprise, only a few ML teammates. It proved to me how each player never forgot his roots and recognized all the people who played instrumental roles in their early years.
The next biography is outlined and ready to go. I’m going to continue this format because they all have excellent motivational stories to tell, just like so many of us do.
Here are some recent thoughts from young readers who have just finished ‘Championship Expectations:
“I thought “Championship Expectations” was really cool. Especially because it was about our town. I liked the part when Mickey hit the home run to end the game. The book was worded well and I felt like I could be there with them. I could also recognize different towns. Go Eagles!!
“I think “Championship Expectations” was great. I want to know who the people are. I want the next book; this one was so good. I think Mr. Pransky did a great job; he should keep going!!!! Morgan Dalton
I think the book is great for fifth grade. I really loved this book. I hope to read the second book sometime soon. Mr. Pransky, you did a great job!! Haley Cousins
…….. On the baseball diamond or on pages filled with the written word, Jim Pransky has always enjoyed a good story. A professional baseball scout, the Davenport resident now spends his offseason crafting stories of his own to share. In recent years, Pransky has had multiple short stories published in online publications, most written during the three months or so when he isn’t on the road searching for baseball’s next big thing. And now he has become a published author
Jim would definitely be interested in speaking to coaches and youth teams about possible fund raising activities using his books.
“I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, similar to the book’s environment. My home was in the northwest part of the state, only six miles from the New York State border. My small hometown of Eldred was very similar to the other towns in McKean and Potter County; Port Allegany, Smethport, and Coudersport
Current: Professional Baseball Scout
Education: B.S. Education, Clarion University, Clarion, Pa.
M.S. Education, Saint Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, N.Y</
"Championship Expectations," "Playoff Run," "The Comeback Kid" and "Josh and Josh: Small Towns and Big Leagues are available on Amazon, this website and the Tate Publishing website.
Professional Baseball Career:
Head Baseball Coach at Saint Bonaventure University from 1982-1984 (three seasons).
Assistant coach at George Washington University from 1985-1986. Players on that GWU team included Gregg Ritchie, who was recently the big league hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates and is now the head coach at GWU and John Flaherty, who played 14 years in the big leagues and is now a broadcaster on the YES network.
Head coach at Quincy University (Il.) from 1989-1991 before starting my career in professional baseball.