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March 21, 2013

Cooperstown mayor sells baseball book

Katz signs deal with Dunne Books on 'Split Season'

Tweet it out under the hashtag #itfigures: The mayor of Cooperstown is writing a baseball book.

Jeff Katz has signed with Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, to publish a book in mid-2014, “Split Season,” about the 1981 Major League Baseball strike.

“I was about 18, almost 19, when it happened and I was a huge baseball fan,” Katz said. “I knew it hadn’t been written about that much. It is an amazing sports story, and yet, it is an amazing cultural story.

“On the field, it was the year of Fernando mania and a Yankees-Dodgers World Series, and yet there is this parallel story with lawyers and in the courts,” he continued. “Plus it is in this great period of history with the first year of the Reagan administration and the beginning of computer sales taking off. So you have all of that feeding into the story.”

Katz said the book is unwritten, but he had to produce a long proposal including a sample chapter. He will have to deliver the book by early next year.

“I had to do a book proposal; it was probably 80 pages long itself,” he said. “I had to do a work overview, an outline chapter summary and a sample chapter. It was not a one-paragraph pitch.”

Katz, who was an options trader on the Chicago Stock Exchange before moving to Cooperstown, had been shopping a memoir about raising an adult son who has autism. He signed with literary agent Erin Cox of Rob Weisback Creative Management. The agency liked his work, but wanted some other ideas from him to pursue as well.

“The thing about a memoir is I am basically a nobody,” he said. “But I had four different proposals that I had written up: a baseball idea, a basketball idea, a collection of blog notes about music that I have been writing and the book about Nate. This one made the most sense,” he said.

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