An Evening with the Author
Bright Lights Black Stars
Date: Monday, August 28 2023
Time: 7 PM – 8:30 PM
Price: $10.00 per person (includes presentation, light refreshments, and museum admission)
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Monies raised will be supporting our Museum Programs – Thank You!
Location: Stratford Perth Museum
Event Description: Meet and hear directly from the author, Paul Allen – former two-time London Intercounty Baseball League All-Star, and how his baseball career landed him in the “write” field! Learn about the local hits and misses during his baseball journey and the development of Canada’s oldest baseball league. You can catch how our own fields have and continue to form local dreams and make some a reality.
*This is a Licensed Event
Bright Lights Black Stars, a non-fiction historical baseball story, follows Negro League baseball players in Canada’s oldest baseball league, the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL 1919), and was released the end of June according to author Paul Allen. The book is available on Amazon now. London Majors, Friends of Labatt Park, and the Majors Alumni Association hosted the first book launch June 30th at London, Ontario’s Labatt Memorial Park, the world’s oldest continuously played baseball field. The park is featured on the cover of the book. Allen – a former two-time London IBL All Star – introduces readers to pre-IBL southwestern Ontario’s players and teams including the 1934 Chatham Coloured All Stars, the first all-black team to capture a provincial championship. Allen then follows the 1948 London Majors’ march to the Canadian Championship and their thrilling Can-Am North American National Congress victories over the American national champions, the Fort Wayne General Electrics.
The book has a great connection to both the IBL and the rich history of the Stratford Intercounty baseball teams. Allen acknowledges there is coverage of several Stratford players, batting champions George Miskimmons (1947), Billy Flick (1953), and an entire chapter on the legendary Harry Fisher, a star player who first played for Stratford in 1947 before moving on eventually to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stratford was a founding member (1919) of the IBL.
About the Author: Paul Allen
Allen, who is now 81, credits a London Majors and Brantford Red Sox reunion for motivating him to write the story of the great players who preceded him in the league. Allen acknowledged veterans Tom Burgess, Russ Evon, John Ambrose, Gabby Anderson, and long-time coach Norm Aldridge, as the ones who regaled him with stories of pre and post-World War II players that stayed in his mind for years. Allen said, “those IBL years are a bygone era of baseball and I thought this story of Negro League players and their white teammates is really an integrated success story that must be told.”
Scott Ellsworth, New York Times best-selling author of The Secret Game agreed and wrote: “BRIGHT LIGHTS BLACK STARS” vividly captures the forgotten saga of how Negro League ballplayers transformed Canadian baseball in the 1940s and 1950s. Richly detailed, poignant, and often hilarious, author Paul Allen—a former ballplayer himself—doesn’t just resurrect long-forgotten seasons of glory, and players who threw smoke and hit homers “that they are still looking for.” He has also brought back to life a fascinating and truly significant moment in baseball history.”
Among other quality endorsements, former MLB pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos, Bill “Spaceman” Lee wrote the Foreword to the book. The book has attracted praise from notable figures in the baseball and sports world. These include Tom Gamboa, former coach of the KC Athletics and Chicago Cubs, Scott Crawford, the director of operations of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Frank Cosentino, a former Canadian Football quarterback & CFL Hall of Fame member, Cecil Wright, a director of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Barry Boughner, president of the London Majors Alumni Association & former NHL hockey player, and Ed Heather, a former Toronto Blue Jays scout. It should be noted that Gamboa was a player/manager for Stratford in the early 1970s. Former IBL batting champion, Brian Pearen said: “I felt I was sitting in the stands and was a part of the many exciting games these guys played.”
Where to Purchase
The Kindle version and paperback version of BRIGHT LIGHTS BLACK STARS is available now on Amazon.ca and on Amazon.com in the USA. Canadian Kindle version costs $9.99 and the paperback containing many pictures and 488 pages is a bargain at $25.59 CDN. However as a special promotion, books purchased during the author’s personal appearances are available at $20.00 CDN.