Against the context of our nation’s and South Carolina’s struggles to attain assured freedoms of equality and choice co-authors J David Miller and Ronald Joseph Kule chronicle the rise of one of college baseball’s best-known programs, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
Beginning with a brief history of the game of baseball itself, the narrative picks up the “Fighting Gamecocks” baseball program at its austere beginning in 1892. It then rumbles through a briar patch made without uniforms or gloves and no set number of players on the field — then a square field, not a diamond. What followed for decades was a musical-chairs switching of several part-time coaches, including more than one football coach wearing two hats!
When award-winning football coach (the late) Paul Dietzel, acting as Athletics Director, makes the crucial decision to bring in the retiring Hall of Fame Yankee Bobby Richardson as the university’s first full-time baseball coach — albeit without his having any previous coaching experience — he sends a signal flare of commitment to excellence over a campus without such a tradition. The result is a long string of winning seasons.
The String Continues…
Richardson moves on after seven seasons, but then his groomed protege, June Raines, takes over and nearly wins the coveted baseball national championship that his mentor sought in his time at the helm. Raines moves over for a newly acquired, North Carolina native, Ray Tanner, who eventually does lead the Gamecocks to back-to-back NCAA College Baseball World Series championships in 2010 and 2011.
The book’s progression from the early days of ignominy through the growing pains and turnstile rotations of personnel and players, as well as their struggles, hopes, and dreams — some fulfilled and some dashed forever, plays out its lines with meticulously researched and magnificent text. Full-color action photos add to the tale of this timeless story.
A Book for All Ages…
Miller and Kule designed their book for both older and younger generations of past and up and coming baseball fans who love the game at any level. In their work we find that the lessons of baseball as played by the Gamecocks, turn out to be the life lessons that help everyone face each day on and off their own playing fields, making Pressure Makes Diamonds a Timeless Tale of America’s Greatest Pastime a to-be-cherished asset suitable not only for Gamecock Nation bookshelves, but also those of sports fans dedicated to any other school.
NOTE WELL: The eBook edition is available through Amazon.com. The hard-copy, real baseball leather-covered, Limited-Edition version, entitled Carolina Baseball: Pressure Makes Diamonds, may be purchased through The Ray Tanner Foundation. These books are numbered and are only available until supplies run out.
Miracle League™ Ballparks…
Ask the authors about volume-purchase prices for the Limited Edition version. All purchases of either the eBook or Limited Editions contribute to the funding and building of a Miracle League ballpark in Columbia, South Carolina. Miracle League fields permit children with physical challenges to play baseball for the first time and the rest of their lives. Contact the authors by email through KuleBooksLLC@gmail.com by writing “Miracle League” in the subject line.
© 2014 KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.