Monday, July 6, 2009

Mark Stang - Phillies Photos: 100 Years of Philadelphia Phillies Images -- An Author Interview

I met Mark as he was signing copies of his book Phillies Photos: 100 Years of Philadelphia Phillies Images at the front entrance of the Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting PA. He was smiling at each customer that entered or left the store.

He stood to introduce himself and had a firm handshake. He was prepared for the interview with promotional information on his books. He has written eight - all are about baseball. This dedication to one subject made me ponder - why baseball?

Mark spoke of his father’s coaching varsity baseball during his childhood. His father put him to work. He spent many hours working on the field, hauling equipment, and interacting with players.

As Mark went away to college his focus shifted on other areas but was drawn back to the game in the early 1980’s. He was so dedicated to this sport that he joined the Society for American Baseball Research.

His first large project, researching uniform numbers, was a first taste into a literary career. He self-published the seven pound, 1152 page book. Eventually a publisher took the pitch and it was published as a reference book titled Baseball By The Numbers by Scarecrow Press in 1996.

Mark had moved to Cincinnati and found someone who did book imprinting, Greg Rhodes. Together they did the first photo history book. Mark learned quite a bit from Greg and after the success of this first project, Mark asked Greg to work on another book with him. After Greg declined, Mark moved to the Cleveland Indians alone.

Over the years Mark moved to various metropolitan areas and became a fan of that city’s baseball team. Many diehard fans would say this is not the action of a true fan, I disagree. Mark is a fan of the game and when you look at and read any of his books, you will notice this also.

He wants to give memories to his audience. The reader can use the book to show reasons they are a fan of their team. They can bond with their parents, siblings, friends, etc. by having a photograph trigger a story. Mark noted that many people do not realize the history that is also written in his books when they first glance through due to the wonderful pictures.

As the conversation concluded I had to know if there were any teams Mark disliked. The answer is yes. For information on his books, please visit his website:

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