But I’ve got an idea about something that can help you pass the time. Pick up a new book by today’s guest, Bob Wilber. It’s called “How Far,” and it explores the incredible friendship between a baseball player from Southern California and a hockey play from Minnesota.
It's an inspiring story for sports fans, yes, but really for anyone who wants to be motivated to achieve their goals despite the curve balls and sinkers that inevitably are thrown in their path.
As the son of a major league baseball player and a former pro baseball player himself, Bob
Wilber has lived the athlete’s life. How Far? weaves the compelling story of two disparate athletes who meet and form an unlikely bond.
His creative use of first-person writing, having his fictional protagonists appear to write the book themselves in their distinct voices, immerses readers in every thought and word of the two characters.
Brooks Bennett is a gifted baseball player (and the son of artist hippies) from Southern California, and Eric Olson is an undersized hockey player from Roseau, Minnesota — where hockey is king. The two men come from vastly different worlds and couldn’t be more dissimilar. And in one spontaneous moment, their paths cross, and their lives change forever.
It's a fun and interesting story, especially if you enjoy sports and an inside look at what it's like trying to pursue a Major League Baseball career, and then adapting to life after baseball.
Here are some questions we asked Wilber:
Q. You’re the son of a Major Leaguer, your mom was a radio personality and then a PR person. You played college and professional baseball and then went into high level sports marketing while also running three different professional indoor soccer franchises as an executive.
Then, you launched a 22-year career as a manager and PR rep for a couple of highly successful and popular Nitro Funny Car teams on the National Hot Rod Association tour.
After all that, you walked away to become an author! You’ve just published your second book and it sounds like it’s getting rave reviews. Tell us about how you adapted so much throughout your career…
Q. I get that you had baseball in your DNA thanks to your dad, and after your professional playing days were over you even were a regional scouting supervisor for the Toronto Blue Jays. But how in the world did you make the shift to NHRA drag racing?
Q. After all of that, why walk away to write books? What in your mind told you to go for it and start writing books? That’s a bold leap!
Q. So your autobiography, “Bats, Balls & Burnouts" was a hit, and you decided to write another book. Tell us how you settled on the premise and style for “How Far?”
Q. How much of "How Far?" is totally real and how much is fiction?
Q. And that begs the question: If your two main characters in “How Far?" are fictional, who are they based on?
Q. How did you even pick those guys, those sports, and their personalities?
Q. Is it a sports book? Would it appeal anyone other than sports fans?
Q. Let’s talk some baseball. Are you still connected to the game in any way?
Q. What did you think of the World Series, the upstart Phillies against the incredible Houston Astros and Dusty Baker?
Q. What are your thoughts about the influence of money on the game today? For example, the LA Angels’ ownership say they won’t trade Shohei Ohtani, the incredible two-way player who’s contract expires at the end of the 2023 season, for which he will earn $30 million guaranteed. But what will he command going...
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Bob Wilber: From Baseball to Drag Racing to Writing
[00:01:55] bob_gatty: Now you're the son of a major leaguer. Your mom was a radio personality and then a PR person. You played college and professional baseball, and then went into high level sports marketing while running three different professional indoor soccer franchises as an executive. Then you launched a 22 year career as manager and PR rep for a couple of highly successful and popular nitro funny car teams on the National Hot Rod Association tour. After all of that, you walked away to become an author. You've just published your second book and it sounds like it's getting rave reviews. Tell us about how you adapted so much throughout your career.
[00:02:45] Bob Wilber: That's interesting. I only in retrospect did I really get a handle on what I've done and how And that that was actually a theme of my first book, which was my autobiography Bats, Balls and Burnouts, covering all of that from being the son of a big leaguer and a mother on the radio right through my pro career.
[00:03:01] I also scouted for five years for the Toronto Blue Jays after I was done playing. But I noticed about five or six chapters in that my decision making process tended to be on a whim. I just would plow forward. My resume's about eight pages long because every time something came up that looked like it might be fun to do I would just go ahead and many of those things were very successful and many of 'em were utter failures. But but I was never afraid to take a leap. And thinking that I went from baseball, To sports marketing. My first sports marketing job, I was a promotional rep for Converse Shoes dealing with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
[00:03:36] And then left there to go into the actual sports marketing agency world and worked five years doing that, working for Fortune 500 companies putting together sponsorships for them, and it just went on from there. I learned to be a great writer. I started out with my mom's genes and she was a fabulous writer, so I always had that as an extra card in my hand that whatever job I was in, if something needed to be written in a compelling way, I could do it.
[00:04:00] When I finally ended up in drag racing as a PR guy that made me by the force of the job have to become better because you're just writing nonstop, over the course of 22 years, I probably wrote a thousand press releases and I tried to be different than all the other PR reps. I wanted to be the more, most creative guy, not fall into cliches, not write the same release every week and just change the name of the town we were going to.
[00:04:25] And that happens. So all of that made me a more polished writer. And I, at the end of 22 years with drag racing, I was not burned out on the sport. I still love it. And I still have many friends there, but I was burned out on the travel. It was just backbreaking traveling up to 30 weekends a year and we didn't stay in the Four Seasons or the Windham.
[00:04:45] We stayed in little towns where the race tracks were in roadside motels a lot. And I just said, Boy, I've had it with this. I can't be away from home this much. My wife was an, is an executive and she was traveling a lot too, but she was traveling during the week I was traveling during the weekends, so I said for the last 10 years, people have been telling me it's time for you to write a book. So I said, That's it. And I checked with my wife first. Is it okay if I retire? And she, she said to write a book. I said, Yeah. And she said, Of course you have to. That was the first book. I grew a lot as a writer.
[00:05:15] It was a big plunge to go from writing structured press releases to writing an ongoing
[00:05:21] bob_gatty: It's a hell of big difference, isn't it?
[00:05:24] Bob Wilber: It's a very big deal and you have to just wa you have to just broaden how far you think. Cause when you're running press releases, you don't have to worry about what you're doing for next hour cause it's got no, no relationship to what you write
[00:05:35] And I loved every bit of it. It took me exactly one year to the day to write the first book and then it was okay that did well people. Sold lots more copies than I ever thought I would, and my, I kept my expectations low and thought, I've got family members and a few people in the racing community who will this, and that's all I'm doing it for. But I sold probably 3000 copies by the time we were done and in today's book world, that's pretty good.
[00:05:58] bob_gatty: You're not kidding it is
[00:06:00] Bob Wilber: So that then it was what's next And instead of doing something similar, I wanted, again to go do something completely different. And in writing about two fictional characters, but in a historical setting seemed like a big enough challenge to me, And I seemed to have accomplished it.
[00:06:14] bob_gatty: That was a very creative you did it? Having both of those guys in effect write their own stories. As I read that it was all actually real stories of real people. You did a great, you did a great job there.
[00:06:28] Bob Wilber: Thank you. And that's the biggest compliment I get is that I think one of the guys who reviewed it said by the time I was halfway through it, I was ready to Google these guys stats cuz they just seemed
[00:06:37] bob_gatty: I know that's the thing. So that was a great job. You have so much that you've done. I really don't know where to start. I wanna talk about your career little bit. I know that you played for some professional minor league teams, who did you play for and what position did you play?
[00:06:54] Bob Wilber: Let's go back to college. I I got a full ride scholarship to Southern Illinois University at It was, at the time, it was a division two school, but a great So I played four years there and was part of two teams that played in the NCAA Division two World Series. One of came within an out of winning the World Series, but we unfortunately not cal Poly Pomona beat us..
[00:07:15] After my senior year I signed a contract with the Detroit Tigers. and they sent me originally to the Appalachian League. I got $500 a month and I got a $500 signing So to me that was big money
[00:07:29] bob_gatty: Oh, that was was in what
[00:07:30] Bob Wilber: and that was in 1978. It wasn't big money even in but I was, I would've played
[00:07:36] Sure you would've.
[00:07:36] I just wanted to play Yeah.
[00:07:38] you never wanna
[00:07:39] bob_gatty: You were playing what position?
[00:07:42] Bob Wilber: I came outta college as an outfielder.
[00:07:44] bob_gatty: Right.
[00:07:45] Bob Wilber: My whole first year when the Tiger signed me they ended up sending me to a little town in the coal mining hills called Paintsville ,kentucky in the Appalachian League And that was a co-op team actually So there were three of us Tigers, four Twins, four White Sox, a couple of Braves and then some free agents that they had signed to fill out the roster. So we were a bunch of guys from different organizations playing in this little town of Paintsville but it was marvelous it was a great experience and we all bonded you didn't have that pressure of your own organization watching you play every pitch right We were just out there for the love of game really the next year Detroit sent me to spring training and the goal I needed to make the Lakeland team outta spring
[00:08:27] When you come outta college you don't have a lot of time to mature and grow You're a prospect that needs to deliver pretty quick And that's a big step from the Appalachian League to the Florida
[00:08:36] State League
[00:08:37] It's a it's take it's two steps
[00:08:39] bob_gatty: The appalachian League is what? single A.
[00:08:44] Bob Wilber: it's Single A short league
[00:08:46] bob_gatty: Oh, the short league? Yeah.
[00:08:48] Bob Wilber: it's a rookie It's
[00:08:49] bob_gatty: League. Okay. Got it.
[00:08:50] Bob Wilber: Because it doesn't it season doesn't start until the of the draft
[00:08:53] bob_gatty: Got it. All
[00:08:55] Bob Wilber: Lakeland is the Florida State League That's high A ball and it's spring training right into the season So I made the team I got hurt before the season started my manager didn't like that very much but it was it was actually an ingrown toenail that
[00:09:06] got infected.
[00:09:07] bob_gatty: Oh geez.
[00:09:08] Bob Wilber: Oh he treated he looked I he sputtered at me like George Patton saying a toenail I said Skip I'll put my shoes back on and run right out there He said Sit down And so I didn't play a lot for the first couple of weeks and then when I did play I got a game here and game there And it turns out that when I was there for two and a half months I think and I loved it It was great It was great my teammates were good guys and my roommates were great Both of my roommates had been in Paintsville with me as a matter of fact So we just went from one team to together But then the draft came around and the tigers took the quarterback from the University of Michigan Rick Leach who was a really good baseball player too They took him number
[00:09:52] and they had to make room for him on the Lakeland roster cuz they weren't sending
[00:09:55] him to rookie ball
[00:09:57] So I got that call to the skipper in his
[00:09:59] And so I thought that's it I'm done I did it I played pro ball It wasn't meant to be I I I literally was thinking I'll go back home and put my tapes together Cuz I was a broadcast journalism and the only plan I had in life the only one was play 10 years in the big leagues and then go write. was it I thought that flawless How could that fail So I thought I guess I I hadn't graduated yet I was still going back to school and I thought I'll put my tapes together I'm thinking about this as I'm driving home from Lakeland back to St. Louis Over the course of two days now no cell phones then no email This is 1979 and I'm I've faced up to it driving home and I pull in the driveway at my parents' house and my mother comes running down the front steps yelling something and I said I opened the car door I said What'd you say And she said You're in Oakland A I said Okay She goes They want you in Medford Oregon tomorrow.
[00:10:54] bob_gatty: Oh my God.
[00:10:57] Bob Wilber: So off I went to Medford Oregon to play in class A ball for the Oakland A the
[00:11:02] Medford a
[00:11:03] And I started out like a ball of fire I was just so happy to be getting regular
[00:11:06] at bats
[00:11:07] And what a neat but tough league It stretches from Medford being the southern most team to Victoria British Columbia being the northern that's a 16-hour drive.
[00:11:18] bob_gatty: Oh man.
[00:11:19] Bob Wilber: So it was play four nights ride eight to 10 maybe 16 hours get right off the bus play again
[00:11:25] bob_gatty: that had to be tough. Wow.
[00:11:27] Bob Wilber: It was tough What made it tougher was that I was really hitting my stride and hitting about .330 and during batting practice one day A teammate of mine was mad about something not me And threw his bat as hard as he could and didn't know I was right behind him. It hit me right below the right eye and I didn't feel it hit me I heard
[00:11:47] it hit me
[00:11:48] And I also felt like it had hit me across the lips
[00:11:51] bob_gatty: Okay.
[00:11:51] Bob Wilber: And So as I fell to the ground I thought Oh great I'm gonna look like Daffy Duck for two weeks cuz my lips swell up And then I touched my tongue to my two front teeth and they were both broken off
[00:12:02] And so then I put my hand to my face and didn't and pulled my batting glove away and it was soaked blood And that was from the cut right to the cheekbone.
[00:12:11] So that was a little rough That was a month Getting over all that because I couldn't chew they put I spent the whole summer in a dentist's office mostly getting the root canals done getting temporaries put on and getting caps put But even then I couldn't chew anything more than stuff I couldn't my teeth hurt so bad It was incredible and when I was finally feeling better I had probably lost 15 to 20 pounds And I didn't have 10 pounds I was probably 1 75 at the time And That was obviously gonna be near the end And then this is a good story Our manager there was a former White Sox player by the name of Rich He was an infielder for White Sox he was a great guy He was a wonderful And our bullpen in Medford was just terrible They just got lit up every night and our starting pitchers weren't much better So the bullpen was starting at about the third inning every
[00:12:59] bob_gatty: Geez.
[00:12:59] Bob Wilber: And we get bombed again and we go back to our clubhouse there in Medford Rich Morales walks over me and he Have you ever pitched and like a Rolodex I'm flipping through it thinking well yeah to myself I think it counts that I pitched fourth grade
[00:13:16] bob_gatty: Okay
[00:13:17] Bob Wilber: So I said Sure Skip I can pitch. And he goes Okay I don't want to use you but if we get ripped again tomorrow I'm gonna I'm gonna you out there.
[00:13:24] bob_gatty: Oh geez.
[00:13:25] Bob Wilber: And I had a really good arm as an so I'm sure he thought I'm just gonna throw bullets as can what he didn't know was that like a lot of outfielders I messed around on the bullpen whenever I could get a catcher to catch me. Just cuz you want to think what it would
[00:13:38] to be a pitcher And I could throw hard but I couldn't strikes And one day I was messing around with a submarine delivery and it was magic I could put it right in the catcher's mitt wherever he put it .So like Dan Quisenberry or
[00:13:50] I didn't tell I didn't
[00:13:51] tell Rich that
[00:13:52] And sure enough we're down 10 to one in the third inning the next night
[00:13:56] bob_gatty: Oh shit.
[00:13:57] Bob Wilber: He runs another guy out there first and he gets his jersey torn off and on fire And I think it was about the seventh when he looked at me and he said Get down there get ready Chief you're in next I said Okay So I go down there and warm up He calls me into the game He's waiting for me on the mound hands me the ball and in a sarcastically funny way says Hey hold him right there It was probably 15 to two at the time I just kinda laughed and said I'll do what I can do Now this at this time he doesn't have any idea that I'm about to throw
[00:14:27] And so I take my eight eight warmup pitches and and I look to the dugout and he's got this hilarious look He's leaning up against a post and the dugout with his head cocked to the side what have I done I got through two scoreless innings
[00:14:39] bob_gatty: Hey man, about that.
[00:14:42] Bob Wilber: And and I think it was just that it was something those guys they had never seen before.
[00:14:47] bob_gatty: So did you launch onto a new career as a submarine plitcher?
[00:14:50] Bob Wilber: I did I yes I did And Within a week he's Hey you're just a pitcher Now I might use you to pinch run and I might use you to pinch hit but for now work out with the pitchers Do your running with the pitchers You're gonna be listed on the scorecard as a pitcher I ended up pitching about 10 or 11 innings over the course of the last two weeks the season and struck out nine walked six and ended up with a 3.2 era
[00:15:15] bob_gatty: that's pretty good.
[00:15:16] Bob Wilber: It was really pretty good And when I got home After that I got a call from Lee Stang a former big league pitcher who was the pitching coach for
[00:15:25] the Oakland A's.
[00:15:26] Turns out somebody probably my dad had put a little bug in his ear and he said We look We finished the season in Kansas City the last two games is over a weekend there Would you like to come over And I said Sure can we just have lunch together at the Marriott and we can talk pitching Cuz I I'm making this up as I go along Mr Stang I don't really what I'm doing He goes Yeah we'll figure it out Just come on over and we'll meet in the hotel lobby at 12 o'clock I'm sitting there in the lobby with a buddy of mine and my dad and Lee Stang shows up and I stand up and shake his hand and say Mr Stang so pleased you're here honored that you're gonna talk to us a little bit should we go find a table And he said No Let's go to the ballpark and see
[00:16:02] what you got
[00:16:03] now No I hadn't brought
[00:16:04] gear I thought we were just gonna talk He goes Don't worry about it We'll get you all set up So we go over across the highway to Royal Stadium walking around the locker room and Lee thing just shows Hey everybody this guy wears size 32 pants He needs a jersey He needs everything.
[00:16:18] bob_gatty: Yeah
[00:16:18] Bob Wilber: And so Rick McCatty gave me his glove and shoes Mike Norris gave me his uniform The bat boy me his hat and we go running out there to the bullpen during batting practice As I the bullpen the visitors dug out was on the third base side and they're taking bp the Royals And as I draw by the third baseman looked up and he goes how's it going It's going fine Thanks And that was George
[00:16:41] So we go out there and warm up Mike Heath was the catcher Mike Heath was the unfortunate guy who got the assignment that on the second to last day of the year he is gonna he's gonna go warm up some rookie league pitcher who just started pitching three weeks
[00:16:54] bob_gatty: Hadn't pitched since the fourth grade
[00:16:56] Bob Wilber: And I'm like I'm I actually told him what was going on and he goes Don't worry about it man he was great He patted me on the back and he said Let's go have some relax have some fun
[00:17:05] I went out there and threw for him and I had adjusted a little bit to then to go into more of a side arm and I had found a little bit of a two seamer that really sank down and in so I then I found a curve ball that really sank down in a way and I was working on change up The first pitch I threw Stang Said something like Oh Sidewinder And he made two changes He had me move over to the first base side of the rubber and he had me change my wind up a little bit cause my arm was behind my body I threw that next pitch and it was the best pitch I'd thrown in my life And I looked at him like Hey you know what you're doing And then I threw that first two finger or two seamer and And it went down and in so much that he reached for it and missed it hit the heel of his glove and bounced away And he just went Whoa
[00:17:45] bob_gatty: Wow
[00:17:46] Bob Wilber: And then it all went so well Lee Stang After the session Heath patted me on the back shook my hand and Lee Stang said Listen you could pitch for us probably next year You you throw better strikes than most of our guys I but I think you need a I think you need a full-time coach and we don't have 'em
[00:18:03] in the minor
[00:18:04] leagues So I'm gonna lobby to have you come to the big spring big league spring training as a non roster player just to get
[00:18:10] that coaching
[00:18:11] So I went home from Kansas City thinking my dream come true and maybe three weeks later I got released
[00:18:18] I called Lee Stang, And I said What happened And he goes Bob, I'll tell you what happened He fired everybody and about a hundred players That was Charlie
[00:18:26] And he was doing a fire sale just to sell
[00:18:29] the team cheap
[00:18:30] And so he just they didn't know he he hadn't gotten back there to give them his report yet that I should go to spring training So they just saw what I had done as a Hurt outfielder and said we'll get rid of him So I had a lot of people telling me Go to spring training get a tryout And I said Look I'm 23 I've been released twice I gotta get on with life So that was my baseball career
[00:18:50] bob_gatty: Oh my god, though. You were 23 when you hung 'em up, huh?
[00:18:54] Bob Wilber: Yeah 23 And I I went that's when I went to work for Converse Shoes And then my brother Dell had a sports marketing agency in DC and I worked for him few years first thing I did was work for the Blue Jays Now when I was working for the Blue Jays I couldn't play because I was watching baseball games when I quit that I realized if I can find a good team to play on guys like me X Pros that want to keep playing
[00:19:18] bob_gatty: so how old were you when you were with the Blue Jays? What, 24 20?
[00:19:21] Bob Wilber: While I started when I was still
[00:19:24] or 20 I might have been 24 I was the youngest scout in Major League baseball
[00:19:27] bob_gatty: Wow. So tell tell me what it's like being a scout. What do you do?
[00:19:31] Bob Wilber: It's a great job for 70 year old ex ball players Cause there's not that to do you're watching a lot of baseball Oftentimes by the time infield practice is over you can tell there's no one here
[00:19:41] who can play
[00:19:42] But sometimes you stumble onto greatness right So you're always aware of that But you got a lot of free time and a lot of travel And it's mostly at that level Regional scouts we're not the big heavy hitter cross scouts you're driving so it's and you're away from home con You might be on way from home for a month.
[00:19:58] bob_gatty: Uhhuh.
[00:19:58] Bob Wilber: And get home for two days to do your
[00:20:00] But I finally said that's enough of that And so I went off and started to work for Converse and realized I know some buddies from college five of which who played pro ball one played in the big leagues and they have a team Louis They play about 70 games a year That team was called the Soja Wizards and that's the best baseball team
[00:20:20] I ever
[00:20:20] played on Everybody playing for the love of the game playing at the right way It's not a beer league We were dead serious about it and we went down we won our championships we won tournaments but through my sports marketing I knew the people at usa and jokingly in a meeting once I said Hey I play for this scene That's pretty good Why don't you put us on the USA team schedule And they went Okay I'm like What have I got myself into here we went down to Memphis and beat them six to five I had I was two for two with a run scoring single and a three run homer at a dead center And we beat the USA team And I think we're still the only American based team
[00:20:59] bob_gatty: So this was when? What year was this? 89. Okay. So in 1989, Bob Wilbur was the first Shohei Ohtani. Two-way player.
[00:21:12] Bob Wilber: How about
[00:21:13] bob_gatty: Now. But look at, think of it this way. Look how much that guy's making.
[00:21:18] Bob Wilber: Oh
[00:21:18] no kidding Yeah I think in Medford I was up to 700
[00:21:22] bob_gatty: There you go. That's good. That's
[00:21:25] Bob Wilber: So I played with those guys till I was
[00:21:28] and that then finally stopped playing when my hamstrings and shoulders said That's it So my baseball career went from the age of five till the
[00:21:34] age of 39
[00:21:35] bob_gatty: alright how is it that you switched over to drag racing?
[00:21:41] Bob Wilber: The first thing I did after working for my brother's sports marketing agency is I s I started getting into indoor I thought was great sport It was a lot of fun and I got known in that league and got hired to be the vice president of the new St Louis team called the St Louis Storm I ended up being the general manager but without the title and the salary because they fired the general manager before night but through that I got to know all the people in the legal office now we get to be in 1991 maybe when I'm in Scottsdale Arizona in a hotel and the commissioner of the former commissioner of the major Indoor soccer league calls me and says I got good news and bad news And I said Okay what's the good news He goes We're gonna go racing together I said Bill I don't know anything about racing He goes I don't either That's why I called you I don't want a race fan I want a marketing guy I said Okay what's the bad news He said We're gonna do it in Topeka Kansas I don't care I'll be there I'm I'll be there tomorrow if you want me So I was a general manager of the track that got me to know a lot of the teams and the drivers I earned enough respect that I figured I could I'd rather work for a team than work
[00:22:45] for the track because you can't win or lose working for the track you're just working and that started it I started doing PR at the very bottom of the tree ground level and worked my way up with some great people who hardly could pay me But it was great experience And then in 1997 I was lucky enough to land a job with a funny car team driven by Del Worsham who is one of the all time best He's one of only three who is now The World Championship in both Funny Car and Top Fuel dragster but we worked together for 12 years I was his PR rep and his manager and then I worked for another eight years for a guy named Tim Wilkerson A funny car driver who's great from Illinois down home guy And I think between those two teams I probably was part of 32 race wins that we were winning races left and right So I learned as I went cuz I didn't know anything about it I was completely clueless the first day I was there And by the third year Dell worse turn he goes You're starting to understand this If you explain it yes but I fell in love with the sport It was great It was fun It's neat to be down there at that starting line with 50,000 people looking at you It's the big leagues of going fast
[00:23:52] bob_gatty: The big leagues are
[00:23:53] Bob Wilber: and winning races is pretty darn good But it that I by that time after I was done it was 2015 and I was cooked I didn't wanna do the travel anymore so I decided let's be an author.
[00:24:03] bob_gatty: Okay, so that brought you to doing your first book, Bats, Balls and Burnouts.
[00:24:09] Bob Wilber: Correct
[00:24:10] bob_gatty: did you decide to do an autobiography? Was that just
[00:24:13] Bob Wilber: Because people had been telling me for the last 10 years you ought to write a
[00:24:16] book about
[00:24:17] bob_gatty: Alright,
[00:24:17] Bob Wilber: And I said nah nah
[00:24:19] bob_gatty: you decided to do it.
[00:24:20] Bob Wilber: I decided to do it and I'm glad I did it when I did cuz some of the really Fun stuff happened in those last 10 years right it was literally emotional stuff that happened back then winning some huge races And so I sat down and just said That's it I'm quitting And on January one I started writing I think it was January 5th 2016 I started writing I finished writing a year later not even realizing it was the same date one year later I had just been writing as hard as I could And so it took me one year to write then another six or eight months to get it edited and published. And off we went.
[00:24:50] bob_gatty: Who published it?
[00:24:51] Bob Wilber: Outskirts
[00:24:52] bob_gatty: that number?
[00:24:53] Bob Wilber: They are a a hybrid very well regarded self-publishing
[00:24:56] These days if you scratch something out on a piece of paper and just do a PDF of it there's companies that'll take your money to print it
[00:25:02] for you
[00:25:02] But outskirts actually works with you publishes it like of a traditional Deal But you do pay them a fee up front and then you split all the royalties So they get some money and I get some money and it was good I appreciated all their work They were very confident very capable I enjoyed working with 'em I did I used them again
[00:25:19] bob_gatty: Did you, Okay.
[00:25:20] Bob Wilber: Yeah
[00:25:21] bob_gatty: Yeah, that sounds like a good way to go. I did a book using The Amazon,
[00:25:30] Bob Wilber: Yeah
[00:25:31] bob_gatty: arm that they have, and I was totally unhappy with the lack of support.
[00:25:37] And so when you how did you find outskirts Press?
[00:25:43] Bob Wilber: Just
[00:25:43] to research I just the day I decided I was writing a book I knew I had to find a publisher Now times are tough in the publishing these days One of my nephews Dell Wilber iii has been a journalist working for all the major newspapers and known in DC cuz he covers the White House usually And he published his first book called Raw Hide Down and it was about the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan And he interviewed all of those Secret Service guys And it was a New York Times bestseller So when I get the idea that I'm gonna write a
[00:26:13] I talked to Dell the third and he said Look I gotta tell you I got this publishing deal from whoever he had Random House wherever it was it's a traditional publishing deal I he goes I got that because I'm well known already a journalist he if you want to get published the they won't even read your manuscript unless you have an agent And agents these days won't touch you until you've proven that you can get published So it's a Catch 22 Yeah Can't do it until you've done it But so I went with them I researched them and read all the reviews and a lot of people were really high on what they do and I've been very happy with
[00:26:46] bob_gatty: Good, All right you did bat balls and burnouts. It was a hit. Did you settle on the premise and style for how far for your, the book you just did?
[00:26:57] Bob Wilber: Like I said I there's a part of me that always wants to something new and I had read a few books in this genre Historical fiction one of them was by an author by the name of Whitley Streiber who accomplished bestselling author and he wrote a book about a fictional World War III And the two characters are two reporters who leave New York City and literally however they can get around the country go see what's left and they write at alternating chapters And I just loved that concept Now I thought I can do that Obviously I don't want to do The same subject but two things I always go with one premise Write what it's a to start So why don't I pick a baseball player and a hockey player Make them as opposite 180 degrees apart as possible and find a way
[00:27:43] to bring them together
[00:27:45] and write it as them so that you get to know them as personalities and athletes And just dove in I literally just dove in
[00:27:52] bob_gatty: So that's how that happened.
[00:27:55] Bob Wilber: Yep
[00:27:56] bob_gatty: All right. I said in the intro that it's a sports book, but that it would appeal to anybody who, likes, like stories about people overcoming. The odds and so on and so forth. Do you feel like that's what you've done in your life? Had obstacles that you've had to overcome and that you've done it.
[00:28:19] Bob Wilber: Yeah I'm not gonna I I've done that a few times Yes absolutely And I've taken great risks a number of times But let's face it I was born To two amazing parents who were very successful and well known So I had that advantage It's not like I grew up a shack
[00:28:34] bob_gatty: I understand.
[00:28:35] I understand
[00:28:36] Bob Wilber: But I was always willing to take risks and sometimes like I said sometimes it blows up and sometimes it's just the greatest thing that ever happened.
[00:28:43] bob_gatty: But why would,
[00:28:43] Bob Wilber: but with both of these books it was a risk and I'm I think we've nailed with both
[00:28:47] bob_gatty: Good, Okay. go back to talking a little bit. Do you want, is there anything more you wanna say about your books before we switch subjects? Hi.
[00:28:56] Bob Wilber: don't think so No we're good But we won't get off here without talking about how to buy
[00:29:00] bob_gatty: No, we won't. Of course we won't. You can tell us
[00:29:03] Bob Wilber: yeah
[00:29:03] bob_gatty: then we'll come back to it and you can tell us again. Tell us that now.
[00:29:07] Bob Wilber: Both books are still available on Amazon very easy to find The only trick I tell people is that Bob Wilber but I spell it w i l b e r I'm not one of the right brothers and I'm not the man who owned Mr So it's Wilber an er So you can if you want you can search Amazon They're not hard to find Or I have a nice website that I'm proud of And that's just bobwilber.net And soon as you get to the main page there's button you can click on It takes you to the books.
[00:29:36] bob_gatty: There you are. Okay. Okay.
[00:29:38] Bob Wilber: It's also available on
[00:29:40] bob_gatty: All right. I wanna talk a little bit more baseball. We just got, we just got through the World Series. What did you. What did you think? We had the upstart Phillies. They weren't expected to do anything. And they took it all the way to game six of the World Series against the Astros, which are really powerhouse team. And we had Dusty Baker. To me it was just an incredible six games.
[00:30:04] Bob Wilber: Yeah it was I agree with you totally And I think Bryce Harper played really well for Phillies I think he made a statement there that they have some great players on that team I felt like it we were the luckiest people best baseball fans in the world at this time of year It wasn't bad weather Philadelphia those games were played at 55 degrees and it have been snowing don't have to worry about that in Houston but my heart was with Houston Even though my dad played for the Phillies right It's not like I have anything the Phillies but I was rooting for Houston for two reasons One put the specter of that cheating thing him it's over it's ancient history We're not still thinking about the White Sox and thinking about the Black Sox and tying those together it's history And Dusty was the
[00:30:46] man to
[00:30:46] bob_gatty: He was,
[00:30:47] Bob Wilber: and he was the best possible hire And I I think the sentimental favorite for everyone to to get that first World Series as
[00:30:54] bob_gatty: I had a friend. I have a friend who's a. Super baseball fan. He happens to be a New York Mets fan, and I asked him after the first game, did you see? Did you see the game? It was a hell of a game.. He said, No, I'm not watching it. I said, Why aren't you watching He said, Because I hate the I hate the Astros. For the scandal, cheating scandal.
[00:31:16] They're just a bunch of cheaters and I can't stand the Phillies. The Phillies beat the Mets. That's why I can't stand the Phillies. And I thought, what a narrow way to look at that. First of all, the guys that are on that team are not the same guys that were on the team before, many of them and Dusty Baker's the manager. Come on. I
[00:31:33] Bob Wilber: I had the same conversation with numerous people including some people in my family on my wife's side But they were like it said the same thing I can't root for cheaters and I can't stand the Phillies Now the Phillies fans bring a lot of that onto themselves They make it of hard for anybody else
[00:31:47] to like them
[00:31:47] right Yeah and I'm the same way but I said to my my my brothers-in-law some friends Love the game Don't love necessarily
[00:31:59] love the game and this is the best can see This is the game we all love and it's the highlight of the year I wouldn't I didn't miss
[00:32:06] bob_gatty: I didn't either. I watched every single inning of the World Series and I watched baseball every day from spring training until the end of the World Series.
[00:32:17] Bob Wilber: So do I consider it we live here So the twins are hometown team and they're an easy franchise to root for twins territories a of fans they just need to play a little better but I consider it their team and their announcers family friends because they're in the house every night.
[00:32:32] bob_gatty: Yeah.
[00:32:33] Bob Wilber: you
[00:32:33] Every night I welcome them into the house at whatever time they're playing and it's constant.
[00:32:37] bob_gatty: What do you think about there's one thing about that drives me crazy, and that's the influence of money the incredible salaries that these guys are now getting. For example, the Angels ownership just said that they're not, they won't trade Shohei Ohtani. His contract expires at the end of the 2023 season for which he'll earn 30 million What will this guy command going forward?
[00:33:09] Bob Wilber: If he's healthy at least five years at 50 million at least and it might be longer he's not I don't know how old he is but he is still generally
[00:33:18] kind young man.
[00:33:18] bob_gatty: Yes. I think, Yeah.
[00:33:20] Bob Wilber: Yeah And the only thing that can go wrong with him is that if his arm fails him and you lose
[00:33:25] pitching side because He's historic is what he is
[00:33:30] bob_gatty: you were
[00:33:34] Bob Wilber: Really
[00:33:34] bob_gatty: You were a hitter and then you became a pretty good pitcher. Didn't last that long, but
[00:33:40] Bob Wilber: No And the funny thing was when I then went to play for that semi-pro team I
[00:33:45] became I probably hit a hundred home runs for them including the one against the USA team And so I went full circle twice Started as a pitcher was a kid was an outfielder
[00:33:55] was a pitcher back
[00:33:56] bob_gatty: Do you think Ohtani will get he'll, he's certainly will be leaving the Angels, right? One way or another?
[00:34:03] Bob Wilber: I think so And I didn't I read somewhere late in the season that they finally decided they're gonna put that team
[00:34:08] bob_gatty: The, yeah. The owner I just read the other day maybe it was last night, that the owner. Is planning to sell the team the the question is what to do with Otani and so anyway and then there's Aaron, Judge, what do you think he'll command. And do you'll be back with the Yankees?
[00:34:29] Bob Wilber: I think he'll
[00:34:29] be back with
[00:34:30] the Yankees there is so much more fame and fortune to be made in the pin stripes than the twins or the brewers could offer him a hundred million year and he's gonna be playing in an outpost And if you're in New York and you're as talented as him
[00:34:43] bob_gatty: you're a legend yeah. And what do you think would happen if they act, if they signed Otani? Yeah.
[00:34:52] Bob Wilber: the Yankees What if they sign Carlos Correa they're gonna go sign 'em
[00:34:56] bob_gatty: God. I'm telling you. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:34:59] Bob Wilber: He just told the twins yesterday officially that he's opted out of his last year So the twins now need a short stop and he'll get a lot of money cuz he's really they were paying him 35
[00:35:07] bob_gatty: Wow.
[00:35:08] Bob Wilber: But he had an opt out after the season so he thinks he can get a lot more than 35 and get a lot longer years
[00:35:14] bob_gatty: man, I'm telling you. All right I don't know. What's next for you? I guess that's the last question of the day.
[00:35:24] Bob Wilber: Oh keep writing I'll keep writing as long as my fingers work and my brain works And there's a subject to write and I don't want to give it away but I got a pretty good idea of what I'm gonna do next and it's gonna be very similar to what I've done I'm not yet ready to just go out and write a horror picture you murder mystery or any of It's always gonna be sports
[00:35:44] There's a couple of guys in racing who have never had their and I'd like to help them
[00:35:47] bob_gatty: Oh okay. That sounds good.
[00:35:50] Bob Wilber: But for now I think we'll stay real close to what I've been doing.
[00:35:53] bob_gatty: Okay. All right. So you got some more books in the pipeline one way or
[00:35:57] Bob Wilber: In the pipeline
[00:35:58] bob_gatty: All right.
[00:35:59] Bob Wilber: Yep
[00:36:00] bob_gatty: And again, folks to get ahold of Bob's book, How Far and also his other book, Bats, balls and burnouts. You can get those on Amazon. Just just plug in his name. Bob Wilber, w i l b e r, and go to his website. And again, it is,
[00:36:21] Bob Wilber: Bob wilber.net
[00:36:23] bob_gatty: All righty then. Robert, I enjoyed talking to you immensely. It was a lot of fun. So
[00:36:28] yeah so thanks for
[00:36:29] Bob Wilber: you know what it was it was two guys sitting in a bar talking baseball.
[00:36:32] bob_gatty: That was it pretty
[00:36:32] Bob Wilber: it was. pretty
[00:36:35] I'm cool with that. I love it.
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