SHAD’S TALE: A Fictional Retelling of a True Baseball Disappearance

The following short story was drawn, inked, and colored by Jim Mosley based on my scribbles and script. It originally appeared in Home Brew, a collection of comic book tales published in 2014 and based on St. Louis to mark the city’s 250th birthday. The book can still be purchased here. The entire six-page story has been reprinted here with the blessing of Handsome Jim on what would have been Babe Ruth’s 120th birthday.

Derrick Goold

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Writing Shad’s Tale

Image“SHAD’S TALE” — Page 1

WASHINGTON — As I plunged into Cardinals history for a book several years ago, one of the minor stories that always felt like it had major possibilities was the legend spun by pitcher Flint Rhem. A righty with the Cardinals, Rhem went missing for several days in September 1930 while the team was in New York, set to play a key series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. He returned to the team with this fantastic tale of kidnapping, thugs, and forced binging. It was all fiction, of course. Longtime Post-Dispatch columnist and Cardinals chronicler Bob Broeg wrote that Rhem had all the talent in the world but would drink himself out of the game. He certainly drank himself into this story. Still, it was fertile ground for writing. The gaps in memories are always fun to fill, and here were two days — two whole days — carved out of Cardinals history that were blank. What did Rhem do during his “kidnapping”? What could have Rhem done during his “kidnapping”? Maybe he really was ambushed by thugs and forced to chug grain alcohol for two days. Maybe there was a gambling element, because isn’t there always? Maybe he raced around New York saving cats from trees, apprehending robbers, and doing so much good that no one would believe him anyway. Or, as I thought when the opportunity to came to write this story, maybe he saved baseball.

Many months ago, I was asking at the comic shop about a local St. Louis group, Ink and Drink Comics, and the anthologies they had produced in recent years — sci-fi, romance, horror, wild west. A lapsed cartoonist with a comic sweet tooth, I always wanted to try my hand at writing a comic book story. It would be a Continue reading

A Guiding Star Behind “Star Wars”

JUPITER, Fla. — When we first moved to Colorado, we lived for a stretch at the Hotel Boulderado and Pearl Street Mall was my backyard.

The hotel and my tiny room may or may not have been referenced in Stephen King’s book Misery — as a kid I swear it was; as an adult I doubt it — and it had the wonderful grand, historic feel with that little twinge of unsettling gothic-ness. We’d breakfast at the restaurant on the first floor. We’d stroll Pearl Street in the afternoon. I learned how to leapfrog on these metal pylons that were designed to keep cars from barreling into the pedestrian mall. And we made a second home of the nearby used bookstore. It wasn’t too far from The Daily Camera, right down by the top shoppe Grand Rabbits, and just past the place we’d later go to get my violin repaired — several times.

This bookshop, Boulder Used Books (I think), had the classic smell and look of its name. The main room was a jumble of misfit shelves, drooping with the weight of paperbacks stuffed at various angles. The place reeked of old paper, ink, dust and that slightly vinegary mix of all three that can only can described as wisdom. It’s the same smell I Iater found at a university’s library in Oxford, one that outdated, oh, America. And picking through this island of misfit books and dog-eared novels one day I found a treasure that inspired.

I was 7.

And it wasn’t a book. Continue reading

Filling in for Ozzie Smith at Shortstop: Oliver Hardy

TOWER GROVE — In 1994, late in the last stand of 16-bit consoles, a Super Nintendo baseball game gained the endorsement of All-Star center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. and approval of Major League Baseball, but it could not land the licensing rights from the Major League Baseball Players Association and could not use real games.

For that, we are forever grateful.

A lack of authentic names forced a stroke of genius.

“Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball” brought some of the most creative lineups ever to gamers. Oh, if only they were real! Unable to have Cal Ripken Jr. as the starting shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles, Junior’s game instead had Baltimore native (and colorful film director) John Waters playing shortstop. The Colorado Rockies were loaded with famous movie monster actors, putting, as the game says, B. Legosi in center field and L. Chaney at first. Griffey is playing center for the Seattle Mariners — hey, he endorsed the game — but instead of Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez and Tin Martinez around him in the lineup are the names of Nintendo employees. The Kansas City Royals are former presidents. The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers are punk bands from those areas, putting the city’s Joey Ramone against the coast’s Lux Interior. The Oakland Athletics have a lineup of authors such as M. Twain, L. Tolstoy and, filling in at first base fore Mark McGwire, is a bearded chap named Continue reading