“From the Farm to the Big Leagues: Burleigh Grimes and Andy Pafko” will be presented by author Joe Niese at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 16, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Jointly sponsored by Winchester Academy and Waupaca BookFest, the program is free and open to the public.
Niese, a librarian and baseball researcher, will present the stories of these two legendary baseball players, Wisconsin natives Burleigh Grimes and Major League Baseball fan favorite Andrew “Andy” Pafko.
A resident of Chippewa Falls, Niese became engrossed with both Grimes and Pafko, whose introductions to professional baseball started in Niese’s hometown of nearby Eau Claire.
“Fans of major league baseball have always been drawn to certain players,” Niese said, “from the obvious (what team they play for or the way they play the game) to the arcane (the way they wear their uniform, how they hold a bat or how they speak during interviews).”
Niese’s book, “Burleigh Grimes: Baseball’s Last Legal Spitballer,” was published in 2013 and chronicles the human and professional side of the Hall of Famer.
“A lot of people had kind of heard of him, but didn’t know his story that well,” Niese said.
Grimes won 270 games and pitched in four World Series over the course of his 19-year career. He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1954 and to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.
Niese’s second book, “Handy Andy: The Andy Pafko Story,” was released last month.
It provides details about Pafko, a popular and beloved baseball player well-known for good hitting and fielding, and contributing to championship-caliber teams, like the Cubs, Dodgers and Braves, in the 1940s and 1950s.
Niese’s program is being co-sponsored by Wilson and Sue Roane, on behalf of Winchester Academy, and by Vance and Ann Linden, on behalf of Waupaca BookFest.
Copies of Niese’s books will be available for purchase and signing.
For more information about Winchester Academy, visit winchesteracademywaupaca.org or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2917 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.waupacabookfestival.org for more information about the 2015 Waupaca BookFest.