In the seventh grade, Greg Spalding became a full-fledged baseball fan when his dad got season tickets to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He began listening to Bob Prince, the colorful radio baseball commentator and his father got him a subscription to The Sporting News.
When the Pirates won the World Series in 1972, every kid within a 60-mile radius was probably a fan. But Spalding was so devoted that he put together a 250-page book about the Pirates from 1971-1975. The book was a compilation of write-ups of each game, including player information and game highlights. He contacted some of the local sportscasters, including “Wild” Bill Curry of KDKA, noted for his southern drawl and loud suits. Spalding asked him and others about publishing. “It was kind of a real adventure, calling around and discovering the sports publishing business,” he says.
After all his efforts, Spalding’s book wound up in a box for the next fifteen years.
In 1991, Spalding heard about a 20-year reunion of the 1971 team at a Pittsburgh area card show. Deciding it was now or never for his book, he pulled it out, made 250 copies, and went to the show. The event included a dinner, so Spalding went with enough copies of his book for each player. He brought another copy that he had each player sign so he would have all their autographs on one book. “It was neat because I got to meet all the guys I looked up to,” he says.
Spalding decided to turn his book into a trilogy–one book for each of three unique teams of Pirates. “The