Jim is a professional baseball scout with the Colorado Rockies and recently had his fifth book published, “John “Flash” Flaherty: Behind the Mask, Behind the Scenes.” It is a biography that details 25th round draft pick, John Flaherty and his ascent to the major leagues where he played 14 years. Jim’s newest book can be found on the Tate Publishing website or by contacting Jim at jpransky123@gmail.com

 

“If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” (Stephen King)

If you are a father and remember reading the “Chip Hilton and/or Bronc Burnett” fictional sports series as a youngster or if you are a young person now and want to experience books like those classics, the Mickey Baker sports series is now ready for you.  The basic themes of those Hilton and Burnett books remain true; camaraderie, friendship, team play, competition,  always a conflict to battle and sportsmanship. Those principles of 50-60 years ago are combined with cell phones, texts and computers of today, but the excitement and thrill of each book leading in to another exciting book about these boys of Pennsylvania is still there. 

The Comeback Kid,” the third book in the Mickey Baker fictional sports series is now available by contacting Jim at jpransky123@gmail.com and all three books of the series can soon be found on Amazon and the Tate Publishing website along with this website.

 This book follows “Championship Expectations” and “Playoff Run.” “The Comeback Kid” is an eight month athletic adventure for Mickey and his West River HS teammates. It begins in the late summer with the American Legion State Playoffs and continues as their senior years finds them competing for conference championships in football and basketball.
Unlike the initial two books in the series, “The Comeback Kid” is a novelette (217 pages). Several schools are using “Championship Expectations” and “Playoff Run” as part of their reading curriculum and hopefully “The Comeback Kid” will follow that path
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Jim’s dual biography, “Josh and Josh, Small Towns and Big Leagues is available on the Tate Publishing website and on Jim’s website. Jim can also be contacted at jpransky123@gmail.com

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!!
Emmalee Sheeler.

“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   

………NEW BOOK ON THE WAY………. Jim has written another biography about a major league player. This time it’s about 14 year big league veteran John Flaherty entitled, “John “Flash” Flaherty: Behind the Scenes, Behind the Mask.” The book is on schedule for a late summer/early fall release.

  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, Coudersport, etc.

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.

 

When I was a youngster, I loved to read both the “Chip Hilton” and “Bronc Burnett” series of stories. Both series were about a star teenage athlete who along with some lifelong friends and teammates competed in several different sports, always facing rugged competition and the challenges young people are confronted with as they grow.

Most people, when they found out I was writing a book, assumed it would be about scouting and/or professional baseball. Hopefully, those books will be written in the near future. I loved those Hilton and Burnett books and have such fond memories of playing youth sports that I felt compelled to write a fictional baseball story about those times in a young person’s life.

Professional Baseball Career:

Scout, Houston Astros-1991-1997. I signed two players while scouting with the Astros who eventually made it to the big leagues, pitchers Jason Green and Tim Hamulack.I also was an assistant coach in 1996 with the Quad City River Bandits, an Astros’ affiliate in the Midwest League.
Scout, Oakland A’s-1997-2005: Worked for the club pre, during and after the “Moneyball” era.I also was the hitting coach for our short season club in Medford, Oregon in the summer of 1998. Four players from that club made it to the major leagues; Tyler Yates, Oscar Salazar, Jason Hart and Eric Byrnes. I signed six players as an A’s scout who ended up as big leaguers; pitchers John Rhinenecker, Neal Cotts, Jeff Gray and Shane Komine and first basemen Jason Hart and Dan Johnson.
Professional Scout, Tampa Bay Rays-2005-present

College coaching:

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.

Jim would like to proudly recommend a new book, written by a life-long friend. Steve Jackson’s, “N1FX Is Going Down.” This is the exciting story of Steve piloting a small plane that crashed in the hills of Pennsylvania. This book can be found on Steve’s websites, “N1XF.com and N1XFIsGoing Down.com. The book is being published by Tate Publishing.

GLORY DAYS: SPRING TRAINING 2013

It’s February so it is time to get back to work. In fact, because of the World Baseball Classic, spring training games are beginning about a week earlier than usual.

I kicked off my scouting season on February 18th with a trip to Port Charlotte, Florida for three days of pro scouting meetings. We have several new scouts on the Rays’ staff this year and it is the only time during the year that we are all together in the same place.

Along with topical discussions like, “what makes a good scout?,” what determines good “makeup” in a player?” and listening to our coaches talk about specific areas of the game like base running or hitting, we get a rare opportunity to spend some time watching our own players work out daily.

Sitting in a dugout or standing behind the batting cage gives you a close perspective of what it takes to play professional baseball at a ML level.

We also spent time getting updated to the latest advances and capabilities of computer and video technology. Scouts now have access to game footage of every professional player. It’s a long way from when I started in 1992, writing reports on three-page carbon paper, mailing one to the office, another to your supervisor (the scout who manages all the scouts in a 10-12 state section of the country) and keeping the other copy for your own files. Now you just push a button on your lap top and your evaluation is circulated to as many as 15-20 people in the organization, including the general manager.

I flew out of the Fort Myers airport late Thursday afternoon and despite having to sprint (well, maybe it’s called jogging when you are 57} I made my connection to Charlotte, North Carolina. I arrived at my Phoenix destination about 10:30 p.m., picked up my month’s worth of luggage and checked in to my new home (Springhill Suites) at midnight.

Seattle and San Diego opened the Cactus League season the next day with an annual charity game. Hopefully, the first inning wasn’t a harbinger of what lies ahead this baseball year. Seattle starter Hector Noesi threw a total of 42 pitches in the first inning, getting only  two outs before being removed.

Spring training games despite not having long breaks between innings for national television advertisements that occur during the regular season, notoriously are three hours or more in length. The opening third of the spring training campaign finds clubs using between five and seven pitchers during a game. There are always a couple of hurlers in each game who struggle with control problems making some innings feel like an eternity.

The next two days were my initial visits to The Ballpark at Camelback Ranch , home of both the Dodgers and the White Sox. Sunday’s pre-game activities were highlighted by the appearance of several Dodger stars of the past. Wearing L.A. jerseys, these fan favorites were introduced to the crowd although true Dodgers’ supporters would have no trouble recognizing Steve Yeager, Ron Cey, Maury Wills, Fernando Valenzuela and one of my all-time favorites, Sandy Koufax.

My wife was excited when I called her later that evening and told her I had seen the great Dodger lefthander, Koufax. We just adopted two four-month old kittens and named them Ted (Williams) and Sandy (Koufax).

For the folks in the Northeast or Midwest, the “cool” weather would be a welcome treat. Most of the spring days in Arizona find themselves identical to the day before or the day after, temperature in the 70′s and 80′s and no rain. I’ve had only one rainout in all my years of scouting in the Phoenix area.

Los Angeles’ current star southpaw, Clayton Kershaw, pitched the opening two inning on Sunday and even a month away from Opening Day displayed the form that made him one of 2012′s top ML pitchers. He threw mostly 93-94 mph and displayed a plus (better than ML average) curveball.

My next two days were at the home of the Milwaukee Brewers’,Maryvale Park. I have been going to Maryvale for the last four or five years and have become quite accustomed to some of their traditions on display each spring.

In the second inning they always announce the local temperature  and then the temperature in Milwaukee currently. There have been times when there have been a forty degree distinction, but on Monday it was only 57 in Phoenix and 37 in Milwaukee. There’s always the famous sausage race in the fifth inning with fans yelling for their pick (bratwurst, Polish, Italian, etc.)

The bottom of the seventh is always time for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”and the Brewers always follow that up with a rousing version of “Roll Out the Barrel.”

This year’s early season games are not sellouts, a casualty of the games moving up a week, some unseasonable cool weather for a few days and college spring breaks still some days away. The announced crowds at Maryvale were around 1,200 fans and some of those fans may have been disguised as blue box seats. They were the smallest crowds I’ve seen at an Arizona spring training site, but that will most likely change in the next couple of weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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