J. David Herman’s admiration of the Columbus Clippers, the New York Yankees Triple AAA Farm Club, began when he and his family lived in Columbus from 1976 to 1981. Herman was five years old when he and his family moved to Columbus from California when his father took a job as a hospital administrator.
In 1981 the family moved again, back to California where his father took on another job.
But in 1981 as an 11-year-old, Herman notes in his book, “Almost Yankees,” published April 1, 2019, he had become a huge fan of the Columbus Clippers, a New York Yankees Triple-A Farm Club who was having a championship season. But lo, that was the year of a strike by major league baseball in the middle of summer and suddenly the Columbus Clippers were the best team in baseball and they found themselves the focus of national media attention.
Growing up in California, graduating from high school and later college, he remained enthralled with the Clippers team of 1981. He became a sports writer and broadcaster and joined MSNBC.com to assist with coverage of the 2000 Summer Olympics, stayed on as a news producer and later became a lead editor for Olympics.com during the 2002 Winter Olympics and has worked at MSN.com in numerous roles over the past 16 years including his current position as a senior managing editor for Microsoft.News.
Herman never forgot his fascination with the 1981 team and recounts in the book the night of June 12, 1981, when storms and tornado warnings caused the postponement of that night’s strategic game. It was the next day that a tornado destroyed much of the Cardington business area and when Herman was researching sources for this book he found information in a Columbus newspaper that led him to contact then Cardington Fire Chief Jim Ullom and his wife, Vickie, and this writer.
Herman relates in this book, their experiences in that storm. He sums up the tornado storm, writing about driving up from Columbus to Cardington today, describing the village as a “monument to resiliency.”
Intrigued by the members of that 1981 Clippers baseball team, Herman spent several years tracking down those players and writing their biographies, with special emphasis on Marshall Brant, Steve Balboni, Frank Verdi, Dave Righetti, Andre Robertson and Buck Showalter while writing this book.
This book is an easy read, written with clarity and even people who aren’t that interested in baseball will be intrigued by the lives of these baseball players and appreciative of the writer’s efforts.
Herman and his wife, Karin and their children reside in Seattle, Washington. Herman has attended many book appearances, several in the Columbus area. His book can be purchased on “E” Books or Amazon.