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Announcing Home Runs: Tales of Tonks, Taters, Contests, and Derbies

We’re eager to announce a new title for a fall release, as Home Runs: Tales of Tonks, Taters, Contests, and Derbies focuses on the contests and dramas surrounding baseball’s most dramatic play.

Master storyteller Andy Strasberg follows up his best-selling My 1961 with a look at famous home run derbies and contests over the decades, including a notable Roger Maris tour in North Carolina after his record-breaking 1961 season with legends Harmon Killebrew and Jim Gentile.

With home run derbies ascending to prominence during the 2021 baseball season, the sport’s most celebrated competition takes center stage in Home Runs: Tales of Tonks, Taters, Contests, and Derbies. Set for a mid-September release from August Publications, Home Runs begins with the story of the most famous home run derby competition—TV’s Home Run Derby—and focuses on memorable derbies and competitions through the years.

Home Runs: Tales of Tonks, Taters, Contests, and Derbies focuses on three big stories:

  • The creation of the lodestone of all derbies: television’s Home Run Derby, where legends like Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Duke Snider, Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew, and Ernie Banks competed in a head-to-head competition.
  • The first full accounting of a post-1961 North Carolina derby tour by Roger Maris, Harmon Killebrew, and Jim Gentile. Arranged by Wilson Tobs owner Matt Boykin, the tour hit Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Wilson, and Durham, with the three sluggers competing on the field and acting as ambassadors for the game off the field. Sharing their memories of the tour: Gentile and Jack McKeon, the manager of the Tobs in 1961 who pitched to the three participants. The chapter is highlighted by previously unpublished photos of the competition.
  • The evolution of MLB’s Home Run Derby, held in conjunction with the annual All-Star Game. While with the San Diego Padres, Strasberg had an inside view of how the event was created and evolved, beginning with the 1978 All-Star Game Workout (a precursor of sorts to the Home Run Derby), running through several Padres Old Timers games featuring notable derbies (including a memorable 1980 event with former teammates Henry Aaron and Warren Spahn) and culminating with the 1992 Home Run Derby, won by Mark McGuire in convincing fashion.

Andy Strasberg is author of the best-selling My 1961, his memoir/history of Roger Maris’s record-setting 1961 season and what it meant to a certain 13-year-old fan originally hailing from The Bronx. His working in and writing about the profession of baseball includes 22 years in marketing with the San Diego Padres and 18 years representing high-profile players, as well as consulting for Major League Baseball teams and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Home Runs: Tales of Tonks, Taters, Contests, and Derbies is scheduled for a tentative mid-September release. Readers can sign up for the August Publications newsletter at for ordering information.

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