SSTN Interviews Mike Whiteman (Writer & Blogger)
SSTN: We are here with Mike Whiteman who is a member of SABR and has contributed on numerous baseball books as well as being one of the writers here for Start Spreading the News. I am glad we have this chance to interview you Mike.
Thanks Paul. It’s my pleasure.
Please begin by telling us a little about the books you have contributed to. How did these writing opportunities come about?
I joined SABR in 2014. Shortly afterwards, I noted on the weekly SABR email that an editor putting together a book on the fifty greatest games at the old Tiger Stadium (previously Briggs Stadium and Navin Field) was looking for contributors. I expressed interest, and ended up writing an account of the July 18, 1947 game in which the Tigers beat the Yankees 8-0 to snap the Yanks’ 19-game winning streak. So, my first published work was on a Yankee loss!
The book is Tigers by the Tale: Great Games at Michigan and Trumbull. It was really fun to get the hard copy and see myself “in print” for the first time.
Since then I’ve also contributed articles to SABR books on the Houston Astrodome, Cincinnati’s Crosley Field, and Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. It’s been a great experience. The articles are rigorously reviewed by other members before publication, which has improved my writing skills,
You write about so much. For the blog, you have penned pieces on the Yankees of today, Yankees history, the Negro Leagues, and more. What do you most enjoy writing about?
I really enjoy all things baseball. If you nailed me down, I’d say I enjoy writing about baseball history the most. Researching and writing the recent Negro League articles has been very satisfying for me.
Please tell us about SABR and how one can become a member.
The Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) was formed in 1971. SABR “strives to be the essential community for the world of baseball through our global membership, inclusive events, and all-encompassing research”. Practical SABR tools that I utilize regularly are a database of all issues of The Sporting News, numerous player biographies on the website and guides to research and writing.
I’m sure I’m just touching the surface of the SABR resources.
Go to https://sabr.org/ . There’s a number of membership options. There is a fee for membership.
Have you attended any of the SABR conventions?
I have not in person. The 2020 conference was online, so I did take in some of those sessions. The 2021 convention is scheduled to be in Baltimore so I hope to attend.
If you could live out one baseball dream, what would it be?
I would love to be a Hall of Fame voter.
You have been a baseball fan your entire life. In the book and the movie The Natural, the main character wants nothing more than to walk down the street and have people say, “There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was.” Who was the best player you ever saw?
Boy, that’s a tough one, there have been so many greats. I’d say that when he was healthy and locked in, Don Mattingly was the best player I ever saw. His 1984-86 seasons were just awesome.
Our final question is really just a collection of short answers:
What was your favorite baseball team growing up? (I’m pretty sure we know this already…)
The Yankees of course. Even though we lived closest geographically to the Phillies and the Orioles, my dad was a Yankee fan from the 1950s and passed on that love to me.
Who was your favorite player?
My first favorite player was Reggie Jackson. I remember following his 1980 season religiously as an eleven-year old.
What is your most prized collectible?
One of the first gifts my younger daughter bought me “by herself” is a figurine of a 19th century baseball player she picked up at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Who is your favorite musical group or artist? My favorite music genre is Christian contemporary/rock. I’ve enjoyed attending many concerts with my older daughter. My favorite artist is Steve Taylor, who I’ve listened to for over 30 years.
What is your favorite food (if it is pizza, what is your favorite pizza restaurant)? I really like a good sandwich. My favorite is an Italian hoagie (oil and vinegar, no mayo) and there’s nothing better to me than washing it down with an ice cold Coke.
Please share anything else you’d like with our audience:
I just want to share appreciation for those who read and take time to comment on what I write – even if the feedback is critical. Writing for SSTN has really brought me a lot of enjoyment.
Mike, it has been a pleasure conducting this interview. I am so glad that you are part of Start Spreading the News. I am glad that our readers got this chance to know a little more about you.
Thank you for all your contributions to the blog. I look forward to reading your next article and maybe taking a road trip one day soon to Cooperstown!