Ridley Park author’s book tells story of two local baseball legends – Delco News Network

RIDLEY PARK>> When Bob McLaughlin of Ridley Park was only 9 or 10, he began to dream of someday writing a book. Even as a young boy, growing up in Chester, McLaughlin liked to write. He later became sports editor of his high school newspaper, “The Bark,” at Saint James High School in Chester. McLaughlin continued his education, graduating Widener University in 1977 and went on to a successful career in Engineering Construction, working for Bechtel Corp. and United Engineers in Philadelphia as a contract purchaser.  Along the way, McLaughlin also developed a fondness for sports, playing basketball and softball in Chester’s city leagues and later coaching Saint Madeline CYO, Ridley ABA and local men’s softball teams.

When he retired in 2012, McLaughlin tapped into his fondness for writing and for sports and combined the two, and added in his fascination and admiration for two local baseball heroes, Danny Murtaugh and Mickey Vernon.

In his very first book, Danny and Mickey, Ordinary Heroes, McLaughlin tells the story of the life-long friendship of Danny Murtaugh, Manager of the 1960 and 1971 World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, and Mickey Vernon, seven-time American League All Star first baseman, and AL batting champion in 1946 and 1953. Danny and Mickey were boys when they met in 1927 playing sandlot baseball in Chester, the same city where McLaughlin grew up.  Vernon and Murtaugh’s shared passion for the game of baseball drew them closer together as friends, teammates, rivals, and finally as champions.

The new book, published by Cloud 9 Publishing in Philadelphia and with a forward written by Philadelphia Sportswriter Hall of Famer Ray Didinger, actually evolved from a screenplay the author had written. McLaughlin said the story seems made for the big screen so he initially penned a screenplay. After he was done, he decided to also write a book on the subject. On the book’s cover, along with a photo of the two legendary players are these words describing the book, “It’s a story of America throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Set amidst one of the most turbulent times in American and world history, the boys struggle for their dreams like so many other ordinary Americans. They overcome obstacles and adversities to fulfill their boyhood promise to each other (getting to the World Series), and finally achieve together, side by side, their childhood dream and become world champions at the top of the baseball world. It is the story of the powerful partnership of the American spirit and the American dream. Their story shows us the best of what we can all be, Ordinary Heroes.”

The story took McLaughlin three years to write and he had many interviews with Danny’s son, Tim Murtaugh, SJHS Class of 1961, as well as conversations with Jim Vankoski, president of the Mickey Vernon Sports Museum. Additionally, McLaughlin said he read every sports article on the two legends and talked to everyone and anyone who knew anything about the pair.

“I identify with these two kids,” McLaughlin said, referring to the two baseball legends in their earlier years. “We all came from the same background, the same place and I feel a connected spirit with them. I appreciate the values we were all raised with and held onto through life’s ups and downs. I think others, too,  can relate  and will identify with Vernon and Murtaugh, in their earlier and later years.”

McLaughlin was all smiles during an interview last week. The retiree admitted that his work is cut out for him now in promoting Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes.

“The purpose of this book is to evangelize Danny and Mickey, and let people outside of this east coast area get to know who they are,” he explained. “These two absolutely should have been in the Hall of Fame and the only reason they weren’t is because not enough people outside of this immediate area know about them. I hope this book can help in some way to change that.”

Soon after Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes came out in print, McLaughlin had a book-signing party at his home on August 30. Dozens of friends, family members and neighbors attended. The party was intended as a celebration for all those who helped McLaughlin along the way to completing his first book. McLaughlin’s wife of 50 years, Dorothy, and his three children, Stephen McLaughlin of New Jersey, Bobby McLaughlin of Middletown Township and Dr. Laura Taddei of Ridley Park, were his greatest cheerleaders, he said, encouraging and reading excerpts every step along the way. Daughter-in-law Helene McKelvey-McLaughlin designed the book cover and grandson Kevin Taddei created the book’s website (dannyandmickey.com).

Other family members, as well as many friends and acquaintances also aided in various ways to the book to fruition, including Mike Milone, Rich Westcott, Gay Vernon (Mickey’s daughter), John Mooney, Frank Wujick, Pat Brough, Bill Smeck, John and Nancy Schmidt, Mike Taddei, Mike Blair, Chris West and Ben Wilson. Continued…

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes will be donated to all local public libraries and school libraries. The donor sent McLaughlin a check to cover the cost of the donated books with a letter saying, in part, “This book shows the power of the American spirit through the lives of two boys who become men amidst great desperation, hunger and war. Along with so many other men and women of their time, they become the ordinary heroes that inspire us. I hope everyone reads this story and finds their own proud place in the future chapters of America’s new century.”

McLaughlin said he will soon embark on a schedule of book-signings and will be happy to visit any groups to talk about the ordinary heroes and his new screenplay and book. He recently spoke at the St. James Class of ’57 luncheon at Duffers and he’ll speak Nov. 18 to the St. James Class of ’65 at the SJHS Doghouse.

McLaughlin also plans to have copies of his book available at the Sports Legends of Delaware County Museum’s “Danny Murtaugh’s History-Making Moments” gala, which will be held Oct. 8 at the Radnor Township Municipal Building, 301 Iven Avenue in Wayne. Bob Friend, who pitched for Murtaugh’s 1960 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates, and Bobby Shantz, a pitcher with the Pirates’ 1960 Series opponent, the New York Yankees, will be in attendance at the affair.

 McLaughlin said as soon as the dust settles, he plans to get busy writing the next book that’s been swirling around in his head. In the meantime, he’s happy to take a small breather to relish in this new hat that he’s wearing as a published author.

“The book, Danny and Mickey and I all became close friends through this journey,” McLaughlin admitted. “I am passionate about the subject and I wanted to share their inspirational and triumphant story with America because the story is American through and through. I really hope someday this story will become a movie so that all of America, all of the world, can see how anyone who works hard and is persistent, can realize their dream.”

(Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes is available through Amazon, at local libraries and book stores and at www.dannyandmickey.com/.The author can be reached at [email protected]/ or for more information on Danny and Mickey, like “Danny and Mickey Baseball Heroes 1960 World Series” on Facebook.)

RIDLEY PARK>> When Bob McLaughlin of Ridley Park was only 9 or 10, he began to dream of someday writing a book. Even as a young boy, growing up in Chester, McLaughlin liked to write. He later became sports editor of his high school newspaper, “The Bark,” at Saint James High School in Chester. McLaughlin continued his education, graduating Widener University in 1977 and went on to a successful career in Engineering Construction, working for Bechtel Corp. and United Engineers in Philadelphia as a contract purchaser.  Along the way, McLaughlin also developed a fondness for sports, playing basketball and softball in Chester’s city leagues and later coaching Saint Madeline CYO, Ridley ABA and local men’s softball teams.

When he retired in 2012, McLaughlin tapped into his fondness for writing and for sports and combined the two, and added in his fascination and admiration for two local baseball heroes, Danny Murtaugh and Mickey Vernon.

In his very first book, Danny and Mickey, Ordinary Heroes, McLaughlin tells the story of the life-long friendship of Danny Murtaugh, Manager of the 1960 and 1971 World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, and Mickey Vernon, seven-time American League All Star first baseman, and AL batting champion in 1946 and 1953. Danny and Mickey were boys when they met in 1927 playing sandlot baseball in Chester, the same city where McLaughlin grew up.  Vernon and Murtaugh’s shared passion for the game of baseball drew them closer together as friends, teammates, rivals, and finally as champions.

The new book, published by Cloud 9 Publishing in Philadelphia and with a forward written by Philadelphia Sportswriter Hall of Famer Ray Didinger, actually evolved from a screenplay the author had written. McLaughlin said the story seems made for the big screen so he initially penned a screenplay. After he was done, he decided to also write a book on the subject. On the book’s cover, along with a photo of the two legendary players are these words describing the book, “It’s a story of America throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Set amidst one of the most turbulent times in American and world history, the boys struggle for their dreams like so many other ordinary Americans. They overcome obstacles and adversities to fulfill their boyhood promise to each other (getting to the World Series), and finally achieve together, side by side, their childhood dream and become world champions at the top of the baseball world. It is the story of the powerful partnership of the American spirit and the American dream. Their story shows us the best of what we can all be, Ordinary Heroes.”

The story took McLaughlin three years to write and he had many interviews with Danny’s son, Tim Murtaugh, SJHS Class of 1961, as well as conversations with Jim Vankoski, president of the Mickey Vernon Sports Museum. Additionally, McLaughlin said he read every sports article on the two legends and talked to everyone and anyone who knew anything about the pair.

“I identify with these two kids,” McLaughlin said, referring to the two baseball legends in their earlier years. “We all came from the same background, the same place and I feel a connected spirit with them. I appreciate the values we were all raised with and held onto through life’s ups and downs. I think others, too,  can relate  and will identify with Vernon and Murtaugh, in their earlier and later years.”

McLaughlin was all smiles during an interview last week. The retiree admitted that his work is cut out for him now in promoting Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes.

“The purpose of this book is to evangelize Danny and Mickey, and let people outside of this east coast area get to know who they are,” he explained. “These two absolutely should have been in the Hall of Fame and the only reason they weren’t is because not enough people outside of this immediate area know about them. I hope this book can help in some way to change that.”

Soon after Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes came out in print, McLaughlin had a book-signing party at his home on August 30. Dozens of friends, family members and neighbors attended. The party was intended as a celebration for all those who helped McLaughlin along the way to completing his first book. McLaughlin’s wife of 50 years, Dorothy, and his three children, Stephen McLaughlin of New Jersey, Bobby McLaughlin of Middletown Township and Dr. Laura Taddei of Ridley Park, were his greatest cheerleaders, he said, encouraging and reading excerpts every step along the way. Daughter-in-law Helene McKelvey-McLaughlin designed the book cover and grandson Kevin Taddei created the book’s website (dannyandmickey.com).

Other family members, as well as many friends and acquaintances also aided in various ways to the book to fruition, including Mike Milone, Rich Westcott, Gay Vernon (Mickey’s daughter), John Mooney, Frank Wujick, Pat Brough, Bill Smeck, John and Nancy Schmidt, Mike Taddei, Mike Blair, Chris West and Ben Wilson.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes will be donated to all local public libraries and school libraries. The donor sent McLaughlin a check to cover the cost of the donated books with a letter saying, in part, “This book shows the power of the American spirit through the lives of two boys who become men amidst great desperation, hunger and war. Along with so many other men and women of their time, they become the ordinary heroes that inspire us. I hope everyone reads this story and finds their own proud place in the future chapters of America’s new century.”

McLaughlin said he will soon embark on a schedule of book-signings and will be happy to visit any groups to talk about the ordinary heroes and his new screenplay and book. He recently spoke at the St. James Class of ’57 luncheon at Duffers and he’ll speak Nov. 18 to the St. James Class of ’65 at the SJHS Doghouse.

McLaughlin also plans to have copies of his book available at the Sports Legends of Delaware County Museum’s “Danny Murtaugh’s History-Making Moments” gala, which will be held Oct. 8 at the Radnor Township Municipal Building, 301 Iven Avenue in Wayne. Bob Friend, who pitched for Murtaugh’s 1960 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates, and Bobby Shantz, a pitcher with the Pirates’ 1960 Series opponent, the New York Yankees, will be in attendance at the affair.

 McLaughlin said as soon as the dust settles, he plans to get busy writing the next book that’s been swirling around in his head. In the meantime, he’s happy to take a small breather to relish in this new hat that he’s wearing as a published author.

“The book, Danny and Mickey and I all became close friends through this journey,” McLaughlin admitted. “I am passionate about the subject and I wanted to share their inspirational and triumphant story with America because the story is American through and through. I really hope someday this story will become a movie so that all of America, all of the world, can see how anyone who works hard and is persistent, can realize their dream.”

(Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes is available through Amazon, at local libraries and book stores and at www.dannyandmickey.com/.The author can be reached at [email protected]/ or for more information on Danny and Mickey, like “Danny and Mickey Baseball Heroes 1960 World Series” on Facebook.)

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