Cleveland area author Scott Longert views baseball legend Denton "Cy" Young as a regular guy who worked hard, believed in himself and rose to do great things.
Longert, who lives in Beachwood, tells Young’s story in a new book, "Cy Young: An American Baseball Hero," which is aimed at readers age 8 to 12.
It is published by the Ohio University Press.
Young, who grew up in Gilmore, had an impressive career in major league baseball, winning 511 games, participating in the first World Series in 1903 and pitching a perfect game in 1904.
"To face 27 batters and retire them all is an incredible feat, and very few baseball pitchers have been able to accomplish that," Longert said. "Cy was able to do it."
After Young’s baseball career was over, he moved to Peoli in southern Tuscarawas County and spent the rest of his life there as a farmer. He died in 1955.
Longert has been writing for 30 years and is the author of four books on Cleveland baseball history. He has been a baseball fan since age 5, learning to read by looking at the box scores in the newspaper. He has his own website, scottlongert.com.
This is the first time he has written a book for children.
The book includes a timeline and a glossary of terms so children can learn new words.
He said Young’s life is still relevant to kids today.
"I think because he was a self-made man," Longert said. "He grew up on the farm in Gilmore. He had to prove himself. Nothing was given to him. He had to work very hard to get where he was going, just to get a tryout in the minor league and worked very hard to make it to the majors.
"I think the message is still relevant. If you believe in yourself and you work hard and stick to what you want to do, you can be successful. I think that was really Cy's story. He set out to be a baseball player and he did everything possible to make it happen. Once he got there, he did everything he could to stay and be one of the great players of all time.
"So I think it's a story about building yourself up from the bottom and working extremely hard and staying with your dream."
Longert did extensive research for the book, consulting Young’s player file at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. He also viewed the Cy Young exhibit at the Newcomerstown Historical Society and read newspaper accounts of Young’s life on microfilm at the Newcomerstown Public Library.
In addition, he visited Young’s grave in Peoli and the house Young lived in after his wife, Roba, died.
The Newcomerstown Historical Society provided many of the photos for the book.
Longert said the most surprising thing he found out about the baseball legend was that he coached college baseball.
While Young was pitching for the Boston Red Sox in the early 1900s, he was offered the job of coaching the Harvard College baseball team over the winter before spring training began. He also coached at Mercer College in Georgia.
"Cy Young: An American Baseball Hero" is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million.
"It's for children, but it's something that tells you a lot about early baseball and what it was like to be a ballplayer back then, through the eyes of Cy Young, a regular guy who had a tremendous amount of ability and believed in himself and rose to great things," Longert said.
"It's kind of an American story, that you make your way yourself and make yourself the best person you can. I think that was Cy."