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The Uncommon Life of Danny O'Connell

A Tale of Baseball Cards, "Average Players," and the True Value of America's Game

360 pages
Bancroft Press

In "The Uncommon Life of Danny O'Connell," the author explores the life of Danny O'Connell, a player often overlooked in the annals of baseball history due to his status as a "common" card in the collecting world. O'Connell's story is much more than his on-field performance; it's a tale of the human spirit, embodying dreams, disappointments, and the unnoticed grandeur of an ordinary life.

Through an engaging narrative, the book offers a window into America's pastime during its "Golden Era," providing insights into a time when baseball was not just a sport but a cultural cornerstone that shaped and reflected the American experience.

The work goes beyond the statistics and perceived value of baseball cards to delve into O'Connell's life, from his upbringing in Paterson, New Jersey, through his professional career marked by significant but underrecognized achievements, to his endeavors beyond baseball, including his talents in singing, shuffleboard, and public speaking.

The narrative weaves together baseball history, the evolution of sports memorabilia collecting, and a personal journey of rediscovery, challenging readers to reconsider the worth of an individual's contributions both on and off the field.

Far from a mere sports biography, the book is an homage to the everyday heroes of baseball and a critique of reducing complex lives to mere numbers or collectible items. It is a celebration of the overlooked and undervalued, urging a reevaluation of what makes a life uncommonly extraordinary.

Author Bio

Steve Wiegand is a lifelong baseball fan even though his own prowess in the game peaked at age 11, when he hit a real over-the-fence home run for the immortal Robin's Frosties Little League team. It was the only homer of his career and probably an accident.

Destined for indoor work, he spent 35 years as a reporter and columnist for the San Diego Evening Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Sacramento Bee.

He is the author, co-author or contributing author of 10 books, including 1876: Year of the Gun; The Dancer, the Dreamers and the Queen of Romania; U.S. History for Dummies; the Mental Floss History of the World; The American Revolution for Dummies, and Lessons from the Great Depression for Dummies.

Wiegand is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR.)

When not watching the San Francisco Giants fall short of his completely reasonable expectations, he enjoys playing poker and the harmonica, although usually not at the same time.

He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.