The Story Behind Sarah's Story - How This One Shaped Bases to Bleachers

Oct 26, 2019 by Eric C. Gray

Sarah and I met while we were on a work group for the Department of Labor’s Job Corps program.  I was very impressed with her work, and when I led a subsequent group, she was one of the first persons I chose to continue our work.  We became good friends; I’d like to think I mentored her a little, but it is possible she mentored me.

We stayed in touch for a while, but then Sarah found another job and we lost touch. A number of years later, we were visiting Lynn’s family in the Twin Cities; Sarah happened to live in Minneapolis and I fortunately was able to track her down from an old email address.  We arranged to get together for lunch, Lynn and I, Sarah and her husband Mike. 

We spent a few hours catching up, talking about our lives, our families, our careers.  I told her that I was retiring soon, and that I was writing a book of stories from folks about their experiences with baseball.  Sarah told me that she didn’t have any stories, wasn’t really a sports fan, but that I should send her my book description because she would forward it on to her many baseball-loving friends, assuring me I would get many stories.

I never did receive a story from any of her friends (well, one, many years later), but the next morning,  I got the story, now in the Chapter “Home Runs” on page 242, about what happened when Sarah was waiting for her friend at a bar in Chicago.  As I read her story on my phone, I had to contain myself while reading her amazing tale.  It was not only one of the best, but one of the most important stories I had received.  My first thought was “This is great” followed by “but there’s no place for it in my book since it isn’t game-related.” My last thought was the key one, which was that I had to find a place for it.  The reason this story was so important was because it made me completely rethink the process of putting the book together.  I realize that I had to make the structure of the book fit the content, rather than the content fitting some rigid structure.  I have Sarah’s story to thank.