Stanton, Tom 1960–

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Stanton, Tom 1960–

(Tom H. Stanton)

PERSONAL:

Born December 17, 1960, in Warren, MI; son of Joseph (a photographer) and Betty (an artist) Stanton; married Beth Bagley (a librarian and storyteller), June 26, 1983; children: Zachary James, William York, Taylor Reed. Education: Oakland University, B.S., 1982; Michigan State University, M.A., 1993.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New Baltimore, MI. Agent—Philip Spitzer, Philip Spitzer Literary Agency, 50 Talmage Farm Ln., East Hampton, NY 11937. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Voice newspapers, New Baltimore, MI, cofounder, co-owner, and editor, 1983-99; University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI, assistant professor of journalism, 1996-98; East End Lights (Elton John fanzine), New Baltimore, MI, founder and editor, 1990-2000. Member of Anchor Bay Band Boosters.

MEMBER:

Society of Professional Journalists, Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), Friends of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Mayo Smith Society.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Knight-Wallace fellow, University of Michigan, 1995; Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year, 2001, Dave Moore Award for Most Important Baseball Book, 2001, Elysian Fields Quarterly, 2002, and Great Lakes Booksellers Association Book of the Year finalist, 2002, all for The Final Season: Fathers, Sons, and One Last Classic American Ballpark; Casey Award, 2003, for The Road to Cooperstown: A Father, Two Sons, and the Journey of a Lifetime; Casey Award, 2007, for Ty and the Babe: Baseball's Fiercest Rivals; A Surprising Friendship and the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship.

WRITINGS:

(With Claude Bernardin) Rocket Man: The Encyclopedia of Elton John, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1995.

The Final Season: Fathers, Sons, and One Last Classic American Ballpark, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2001.

The Road to Cooperstown: A Father, Two Sons, and the Journey of a Lifetime, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.

(Editor) The Detroit Tigers Reader, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2005.

Ty and the Babe: Baseball's Fiercest Rivals; A Surprising Friendship and the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Journalist Tom Stanton is an avid fan of baseball, specifically Michigan-brand baseball as played by the Detroit Tigers. In addition to his journalism career as cofounder and editor of the local Voice newspapers, he is the author of several books about his favorite sport, including The Final Season: Fathers, Sons, and One Last Classic American Ballpark and The Road to Cooperstown: A Father, Two Sons, and the Journey of a Lifetime.

The Final Season was published in 2001, two years after the official closing of Tiger Stadium in downtown Detroit. In his book Stanton provides readers with an in-depth look into the events, players, and memories that made this stadium such a special place for local fans. In addition to describing the stadium from top to bottom, bleachers to dugouts, Stanton also reflects on his childhood and the games he witnessed while accompanying his father and grandfather to Tiger games. While Marta Salij in the Detroit Free Press criticized Stanton's book for being "an overly sentimental diary of the last season of Tiger Stadium," Scott Langford wrote of Stanton in the Grand Rapids Press that "his story is a soaring victory, capturing the essence of why some people are so passionate about baseball and helping even the most jaded fan understand how the game, a team and a stadium can connect generations." Bill Ott, reviewing The Final Season for Booklist, dubbed the book "a warm, life-affirming memoir," while Paul Kaplan noted in a Library Journal review that Stanton's "elegiac, thoughtful book is recommended for … all libraries serving Detroit Tiger fans."

Stanton once again reflects on his love of baseball and how it has touched his life in The Road to Cooperstown. Ever since he was a little boy, Stanton dreamed of going to the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, but this dream was put on hold due to his mother's prolonged illness. Finally, at age forty, he was asked to speak at the legendary hall, and with his father and older brother in tow he made the trek to Cooperstown. While criticized by a Publishers Weekly reviewer for being "littered with so many reverential, saccharine moments that it becomes nearly impassable at times," The Road to Cooperstown ultimately curried favor, the critic going on to say that, "given the millions of fathers and sons who've bonded over baseball and visit the Baseball Hall of Fame every year, this book should find an eager audience."

Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America gives a detailed account of Hank Aaron's breaking of the home run record that had previously been held by Babe Ruth. Stanton concentrates on the years from 1972, when the great Jackie Robinson passed away, to 1974, when Aaron hit his 715th home run and officially surpassed Babe Ruth's record, including interesting tidbits and gossip in the world of baseball at the time. He also addresses both the support and the less pleasant reactions to Aaron's achievement, including the hate mail he received from Ruth fans and those unwilling to acknowledge Aaron's skills as a baseball player. GraceAnne A. DeCandido, writing for Booklist, called the book "a sobering tale, but a hero's story."

In Ty and the Babe: Baseball's Fiercest Rivals; A Surprising Friendship and the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship, Stanton depicts a time of change in the game of baseball—the 1920s, when the game was recovering from the outrage of the fixed 1919 World Series and instituting a series of new rules to guarantee fairer play for all involved. Ty Cobb's style of playing was a hangover from the old rules of the game, while Babe Ruth represented a new age of baseball and the new rules that accompanied it. Stanton's effort met with generally strong reviews, with critics praising the account of the Cobb/Ruth comparison on the baseball field and eventual friendship, though some criticized the chronicle of their golf games later in life. Jim Burns, writing for Library Journal, noted of Stanton that "he weakens his book by reserving almost a third of it to a discussion of the rivals' golf matches." However, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented: "Stanton's writing is seamless, exploring the lives of both men but never lapsing into tedious detail."

Stanton once told CA: "The Final Season and The Road to Cooperstown are memoirs set against a backdrop of baseball. Family relationships between fathers, sons, and brothers play central roles in both books, and I think they resonate because of that. In a very personal way, they explore the notions that our lives aren't about the high stories that shape history but about the smaller ones that play themselves out in the places we treasure—homes, schools, and ballparks—and with the people we hold dear.

"Many non-fans struggle to understand the attachment and passion that baseball fans have for their sport. But it's all about the relationships that revolve around the sport. They are at the heart of our love for the game."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Stanton, Tom, The Final Season: Fathers, Sons, and One Last Classic American Ballpark, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Stanton, Tom, The Road to Cooperstown: A Father, Two Sons, and the Journey of a Lifetime, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2003.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 2001, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Final Season, p. 1525; September 1, 2001, Bill Ott, review of The Final Season, p. 35; April 1, 2004, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America, p. 1341.

Detroit Free Press, June 1, 2001, Neal Rubin, "Tigers Book Hits a Homer," p. 2; June 13, 2001, Marta Salij, review of The Final Season.

Grand Rapids Press, July 22, 2001, Scott Langford, review of The Final Season, p. J17.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2003, review of The Road to Cooperstown, p. 597.

Library Journal, April 15, 2001, Paul Kaplan, review of The Final Season, p. 105; May 1, 2007, Jim Burns, review of Ty and the Babe: Baseball's Fiercest Rivals; A Surprising Friendship and the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship, p. 84.

Publishers Weekly, May 12, 2003, review of The Road to Cooperstown, p. 59; March 26, 2007, review of Ty and the Babe, p. 82.

School Library Journal, January, 2002, Robert Saunderson, review of The Final Season, p. 173.

ONLINE

Tom Stanton Home Page,http://www.tomstanton.com (May 15, 2004).

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