John Nogowski to hold Book Signing

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Sep. 14—From the last games of baseball superstars to the life of Bob Dylan, John Nogowski will be holding a book signing at the Bookshelf on September 24 at 2 p.m. in honor of the latest editions of his books, "Last Time Out" and "Bob Dylan: A Descriptive, Critical Discography and Filmography, 1961-2022."

An award-winning sports journalist and recently retired teacher from Tallahassee, Florida, Nogowski said that he was inspired to write "Last Time Out" after meeting John Updike at Florida State University.

"When I was working at Tallahassee, John Updike came to speak at Florida State, and John Updike wrote and incredible piece about Ted Williams', on the Boston Red Sox, last game. Williams hit a homerun in his last at-bat," he said. "So, after talking with Updike about that story, on the way home, I said, gee, you know, I remember Babe Ruth had a 3-homerun game, but I couldn't remember if it was his last game or not."

Having recently visited the Baseball Hall of Fame, Nogowski brought his idea to William Guifoile, the public relations director of the Baseball Hall of Fame at the time.

"I called him and I said, Bill, this is John Nogowski from Tallahassee, well, uh, yeah, tell me if this is a good idea I got," he said. "How about a book on the very last game played by some of baseball's greatest players? He was quiet for a moment before he said, 'John, that's a helluva idea.'"

Getting connected with a publisher, Nogowski's idea was fast tracked to reality, with the man cracking open books and broadcasts at Florida State to begin his research.

From Jackie Robinson to Dizzy Dean, Nogowski wanted to explore the last time these legends came up to bat or took the pitcher's mound.

"It was just, like, untold stories, really, of all these guys and their finales," Nogowski said. "And, you know, some of them are sad, of course, you know, it's the end of their career."

"They were phenomenal players, they were icons, it's just kind of interesting to see how the story ended," he said.

With this latest edition of "Last Time Out," Nogowski included additional stories to his collection, but broke the mold by adding one story that went against the grain.

His son's first Major League game.

"The last chapter of this edition of 'Last Time Out' is about my son's first game, which was really cool," Nogowski said. "He was drafted by the Oakland A's and played in their system for 3 years, did pretty well, and that very last day of spring training, the day before they'd given him the Gold Glove for being the best defensive first basemen in their organization, they released him."

And that, Nogowski said, was when the calls started coming.

"The phone went nuts, he, uh, they flew him home, when he got home, Sioux City, Iowa called and, independently, the American Association called and said, 'You know, we're sorry, come join us,'" he said. "So I drove him up to Sioux City, he played 34 games for the team, hit .400, and the Cardinals signed him and put him right in AA and, uh, couple years later, they called him up to the Majors."

Alongside the finales of baseball's greatest stars, Nogowski is coming to his book signing with another of his books, a detailed discography and filmography into the life and works of Bob Dylan.

Nogowski's idea for a thorough and detailed breakdown of Bob Dylan's life and works came from a place of fascination with the man and a humble desire to write during college.

"I guess it was '95, '96, something like that, that I thought, 'Somebody ought to write a book about ten of his songs,'" he said. "Just kind of explain his writing style, what the songs mean, kind of what he's doing. I didn't really read anyone doing that."

Nogowski sent off the proposal to McFarland & Company in North Carolina and they wrote back, interested in the idea about a comprehensive book of everything Bob Dylan had done, from books to interviews alongside his music.

The third edition of the book, he said, includes a number of his recent achievements, like his Nobel Prize for Literature and his recent number one song "Murder Most Foul," which addresses the assassination of John F. Kennedy in the context of American culture and history.

"If you're a Bob Dylan fan, I think that's a book you'd like," Nogowski said.

Nogowski, who used to write for the Thomasville Times-Enterprise, said that he remembered Thomas County and the kind people who lived there fondly.

"I think some people still remember my name, you know, from me writing for the paper here," he said. "My son played in Florida State, you know, he's got his own media attention, making it to the big leagues."

Getting to this point in his career as an author, Nogowski said that the experience has been an interesting one.

"Yeah, it's been wild. I haven't made a whole bunch of money off of it, but I didn't really do it for the money," he said. "Yeah, you want to sell books, you want to share with people, I guess, whatever you think about baseball or Bob Dylan or whatever, you know. It's fun."