Sports heroes (Apr. 19 and 23)

April 17, 2008

This early in the baseball season, there’s still hope for everyone. Even the Cardinals fans who’ve spent all winter nay-saying have toned down their bluster. The honeymoon period is on, and I’m happy to spread the love of baseball a little further by publicizing two former players on book tours in St. Louis this week.

Ozzie Smith, of course, needs no introduction for St. Louisans. Well, maybe for kids he does, being as he’s been retired long enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002 … kids are probably more familiar with his son Nikko, of American Idol fame. And that’s where the book ties in, because the two collaborated on a story for Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul about a lucky coin Ozzie gave Nikko to see him through the audition process. They’ll be signing their book and Nikko’s CDs (but not sports memorabilia, apparently) at 2 p.m. at the Creve Coeur Borders store, 11745 Olive Blvd, on Saturday (Apr. 19).

The other author, Cal Ripken Jr., is a Hall of Famer too; he was inducted last year after playing 20 years for the Baltimore Orioles. His book is titled Get in the Game: 8 Elements of Perseverance That Make the Difference. And considering his amazing ability to play no matter what — over the course of 16 years the “Iron Man” played in a record 2,632 consecutive games — I for one would definitely like to read his wisdom on sticking with it. He’ll be at the St. Louis Public Library’s Central branch, 1301 Olive St., on Tuesday (Apr. 23) at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but the first-come, first-seated limit is 300 people. It’s part of the new Great Rivers Authors Series, of which Left Bank Books is a sponsor (which means customers who’ve purchased his book there will get to go to the front of the line when book-signing time comes; Ripken will not autograph memorabilia). For details, visit the Left Bank Books events page or call 314.367.6731.

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