Thorn: Selling My First Story

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on October 30, 2011:

I had already written a few baseball books, which confirmed that I was a published writer if not yet a very good one. Writer’s block had plagued me from the outset: I could not write two sentences in succession without reversing course to edit the previous one. I knew myself, I thought—a tortoise who required a distant finish line to stand a chance of success. The idea of writing for a newspaper or a magazine seemed preposterous. I would prefer to torture myself and my readers with another book.

Upon which Cliff Kachline, historian at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, put my name forward to The Sporting News (TSN) to write an account of the annual convention of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), soon to be held on a suburban campus of the University of  Toronto. TSN had never covered a SABR convention before, but this was the summer of 1981, when a strike by baseball’s players left all sports publications in desperate need of sidebar copy.

TSN offered $125, but I was to pay my own way to Toronto and had to file the story Sunday night upon landing back at Albany Airport. That gave me a single afternoon to write the whole story, a fearsome prospect, but I was too thrilled to say no. I had read the magazine more or less religiously since I was a boy; here was a sign, maybe, that I had “made it.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 2, 2011. Last Updated: November 2, 2011.