Pattison, Mark 1956–
Pattison, Mark 1956–
PERSONAL: Born July 6, 1956, in Detroit, MI; son of Robert James (a custodian) and Jeannine Gilberté (a homemaker; maiden name, Kirouac) Pattison; married Beverly Clark, October 26, 1985 (marriage ended April 30, 1992); married Judith McCullough (a union organizer), January 15, 2000. Ethnicity: "French-Canadian/Scottish." Education: Wayne State University, B.A., 1978; University of Massachusetts at Amherst, M.S., 1998. Politics: D.C. Statehood Green Party. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Music, liturgy, guitar, parody, religion and spirituality, reading, popular culture, trade unionism.
CAREER: Managing editor of newspapers in southeast Michigan, including Northeast Detroiter, Harper Woods Herald, and St. Clair Shores Herald, 1978–84; Wyandotte News-Herald, Southgate, MI, reporter, 1984–85; Michigan Catholic, Detroit, reporter, 1985–89; Catholic News Service, Washington, DC, media editor, 1989–.
MEMBER: United Association for Labor Education, Society for American Baseball Research, MaYo Smith Society, Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild (member of executive council, 1990–).
(With David Raglin) Detroit Tigers Lists and More: Runs, Hits, and Eras, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 2002.
(Editor) Memories that Have Stayed with Me, privately printed, 2003.
Author (under pseudonym Patrick Gilbert) of music columns, including "Sounds," Detroit Monitor, 1979–92; "Discovery," 1992–, and "Jazzy Side Up," 1984–87. Author of "TV Eye," (monthly column), syndicated by Catholic News Service, 2002–.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Detroit Tigers Nicknames and More (with David Raglin), Tigers Time Line, Detroit Tigers Biographical Encyclopedia, Detroit Tigers: Champions and More, and Detroit Tigers Almanac, all forWayne State University Press; research on contemporary Catholic liturgical music, baseball (including Detroit Tigers and Detroit Wolverines, the nineteenth century, biographical research, and the Negro leagues).
SIDELIGHTS: Mark Pattison told CA: "As a journalist, I am presented with a set of facts and am charged with the responsibility of making the most sense of them in a relatively brief space. Writing a book, though, is a deceptively different endeavor. The difference is akin to playing a concert grand piano and the mighty Wurlitzer organ at an old-time movie palace. It is the same kind of keyboard, but the effect of what you produce is quite different.
"I've wanted to write since at least age seven, when my brother and another playmate down the block put together a 'newspaper' we sold to a lady across the street for three cents so we could each get a penny out of it. By age twelve, my friends and I had concocted competing groups of animals with super powers, who would do battle with each other to show how hapless their powers were against those of our animals. For me, the best way to do that was in the comics section of a multiple-issue, make-one-copy-at-a-time newspaper. At age sixteen, when I got to join the high school yearbook staff, I became the only credit copy writer after everybody else seemed to beg off the job. Maturing in the age of Woodward and Bernstein didn't hurt, either.
"I write for a living, although I don't see either my journalism or my authoring as the prime source of my identity. I consider myself blessed to have relationships, community, family, faith, and other areas that help buttress my life so that, if one or more of these areas should fail me, the others will support me. I know from my first two royalty checks that writing books won't pay the bills, but it is nice to know I'll be in the Library of Congress, at least until some future know-nothing Samson tears it down.
"The idea of writing a book came from my Detroit Tigers Lists and More: Runs, Hits, and Eras, coauthor, David Raglin. I was far more wary of rejection. I didn't want to put together a manuscript only to have it shot down and never see the light of day. Fortunately for my self-esteem, that did not prove to be the case; we were accepted by the first publisher we contacted (even though a second shot us down, after we had signed a contract with the first).
"I can't say that I have particular authors or writers that I admire, at least for their writing style. It's more a character issue for me. It's easier to note the writers that I disdain, though it would be impolitic for me to do so, so I won't do it here. I'm a distant relative of Jack Kerouac, who once established his own 'fantasy baseball' league with fictional teams and players, but I can't say our writing styles are similar. One of my university professors was novelist Charles Baxter, who said in the marginal notes of one short-story assignment that I was the 'most idiosyncratic' college-level writer he had encountered (but this was 1977–78, so he may have found someone even more so).
"Journalism, they say, is the first rough draft of history. And collecting the facts for mass redistribution is closely related to my work as an author of sports books. I take notes in my source books, write them down, work feverishly and futilely at cross-indexing them in our computer-driven age, and then synthesize the material at hand.
"Detroit Tigers Lists and More, as stated earlier, was actually the brainchild of David Raglin, who had heard the author of a book of lists on the Baltimore Orioles describe his writing process at a book group. That author's publisher had asked him if he could do books on other teams like he did for the Orioles, and he said that he couldn't because he didn't know other teams like he knew the Orioles. Turning to David, he said, 'You could do a book on the Tigers.' That afternoon, as David and I watched the Tigers lose to the Orioles at Camden Yards, he said, 'We could do a book on the Tigers.' After a month and a half of hemming and hawing, I got to work.
"In research for the book and in the writing of subsequent drafts, I found that certain chapters or segments within the book suggested books of their own. Rather than go through the same books multiple times, I can go through them once, put my notes in the individuals' files, and be well on the way to having nearly as much institutional history on the Detroit Tigers as the ball club itself."