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Willie Mays Aikens
Willie Mays Aikens

Willie Mays Aikens

Safe at Home
By Gregory Jordan

SPORTS & RECREATION

224 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Cloth, PDF, EPUB, Mobipocket

Cloth, $25.95 (US $25.95) (CA $28.95)

ISBN 9781600786969

Rights: WOR

Triumph Books (May 2012)

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Overview

The man who went from the top of the Majors to solitary confinement and his struggle for redemption
An intimate portrait of a tortured player, this biography culls interviews, letters, and the personal account of baseball legend Willie Mays Aikens. Touted from a young age as the next Reggie Jackson, Aikens' promising career quickly turned disastrous when he fell into drug abuse and was ultimately sentenced to the longest prison sentence ever given to a professional athlete in a drug case. Not only an exploration of baseball and culture in the 1980s, this book also delves into the United States justice and penal systems.

Reviews

"Willie's story is an amazing one and one that we can all learn from. The fact that Willie was able to take the hard circumstances of his life and turn it into a compelling story and life lesson is wonderful. It is great to see him doing so much with his life after all of the adversity he has been through." —Cal Ripken, Jr., Baseball Hall of Famer

"Willie Aikens did a lot of bad things, and many bad things were done to him. But Greg Jordan's vivid and unsparing account of Aikens' tragic journey is heartfelt and, at last, even tender." —Frank Deford, author, Over Time: My Life as a Sports Writer

"Some people have the good—or, more often, bad—fortune of living lives that reveal the larger human story. Greg Jordan certainly found one such character in Willie Mays Aikens, and then held on tight for years, to unearth—through a kind of fierce, reportorial empathy—every astonishing twist and step and slide. The result: an amazing tapestry of dream, nightmare and redemption, cheers and tears, marked 'America.'" —Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of Confidence Men and A Hope in the Unseen

"Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home is far too complex to be regarded as just a baseball book. Gregory Jordan is a master storyteller, expertly weaving a narrative that is both fascinating and disturbing while ever mindful of the human spirit." —Tom Verducci, senior writer at Sports Illustrated and coauthor, The Yankee Years

"Gregory Jordan has written a touching book about an old ballplayer who made mistakes but did not hide from them, and who paid a steep price but did not allow himself to become embittered. It is good to see that Willie Mays Aikens, who was given a name of baseball royalty, really did find his way home." —Joe Posnanski, senior writer at Sports Illustrated and author, The Machine

"[A] gritty, fascinating and disturbing pieced-together story about...how an athletic career was taken down by drugs, but built back up by the forces of forgiveness."  —Tom Hoffarth's Los Angeles Daily News blog "Farther Off the Wall." 

"In this age of slick pieties and specious beliefs, it's all too easy to be cynical about the redemptive power of faith. Greg Jordan's poignant story of Willie Mays Aikens' journey from stardom through self-destruction to recovery is a tale of justice and injustice, courage and perseverance and, finally, forgiveness and love." —Mark C. Taylor, Chair of the department of Religion, Columbia University

"The story is so gripping, and I became so attached to the people involved, that I hated for it to end."  —Royals Heritage blog 

Author Biography

Gregory Jordan has written about sports, movies, politics, and books for The New York Times, Crisis Magazine, and The Hill. Jordan worked with Mark Shriver on A Good Man, Mark’s biography of his father, Sargent Shriver, due out in June 2012. Jordan has also collaborated on books with former NFL player Joe Ehrmann and attorney Ron Shapiro. He lives in Sherwood, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay.

Media

Willie Mays Aikens, subject of Willie Mays Aikens, was interviewed in the Washington Times.
Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home was featured on Baseball Nation, a featured baseball blog on SB Nation.
Willy Mays Aikens and Gregory Jordan, authors of Willy Mays Aikens: Safe at Home, were interviewed at Williams College.
Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home was featured in the North Adams Transcript. The piece previews a conversation and book signing with author Gregory Jordan and book subject Willie Mays Aikens, at Williams College on December 5.
Willie Mays Aikens, subject of Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home, interviews on "Bobby Ramos - Bottom Line" on WICC in Bridgeport, CT.
Willie Mays Aikens and Gregory Jordan, subject and author of Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home, were interviewed on "The Michael Smerconish Show" on Sirius XM Radio.
Willie Mays Aikens, subject of Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home, was interviewed on "Remember When" on Sirius XM Radio.
Willie Mays Aikens, subject of Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home, was interviewed on "Daybreak USA" on IRN.
Willie Mays Aikens, subject of Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home, interviews on "Gargano & Kennedy" on Fox Sports Radio.
Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home was mentioned on the "Fox 4 Morning Show" on WDAF in conjunction with his recent book signings.

Book Signings

Past Events


Jul
07
Willie Mays Aikens - Safe at Home ›
Kansas City, MO
11:00am
Jul
07
Willie Mays Aikens - Safe at Home ›
Leawood, KS
4:00pm
Jul
06
Willie Mays Aikens - Safe at Home ›
Independence, MO
5:30pm
Jul
05
Willie Mays Aikens - Safe at Home ›
Kansas City, MO
7:00pm
May
05
Gregory Jordan - Willie Mays Aikens ›
Washington, DC
1:00pm
Apr
22
Willie Mays Aikens - Safe at Home ›
Kansas City, MO
4:00pm
Apr
21
Willie Mays Aikens - Safe at Home ›
Lenexa, KS
11:00am
Apr
21
Willie Mays Aikens - Safe at Home ›
Kansas City, MO
1:00pm
Apr
21
Willie Mays Aikens - Safe at Home ›
Kansas City, MO
3:00pm

Press Releases

Willie Mays Aikens:
Safe at Home
By Gregory Jordan

The man who went from Major league stardom to solitary

confinement and his struggle for redemption


In 1980, Willie Mays Aikens became the first Major League Baseball player to hit two home runs in one game twice in a World Series and was tabbed by many as the "next Reggie Jackson." But ignoring the advice of his wiser teammates, Aikens drove himself out of baseball and into one of the longest prison sentences ever given to a professional athlete - 20 years and eight months. The culprits: his neediness and gullibility, crack cocaine, and a criminal justice system dead set on punishing, rather than rehabilitating.

 

Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home is as intimate and culturally significant a biography of an athlete as we have ever had. Using extensive interviews with Aikens himself, his family, friends, teammates, cellmates, and dealers, author Gregory Jordan has woven Willie's incredible life story with unique intensity. Jordan goes on a journey inside Aikens' impoverished childhood in a slow-to-desegregate South Carolina town, to the rollicking Kansas City Royals' locker room and the go-go drug culture of 1980s, behind the prison gates of Leavenworth, and lands into the lap of a nuclear family that Aikens finds himself currently trying to keep intact.

 

Willie Mays Aikens is a story of unbelievable triumph and tragedy, stocked with villains and heroes - and angels, including Hall of Famers George Brett and Pat Gillick - where you least expect them. At once an exploration of Major League Baseball in the 1980s and the great Royals teams of yesteryear, as well as a sobering look at the United States justice and penal systems, Willie Mays Aikens proves that even if you are lost for many years, you can always find your way home.

 

About the Author:
Gregory Jordan has written about sports, movies, politics, and books for The New York Times, Crisis Magazine, and The Hill. Jordan worked with Mark Shriver on A Good Man, Mark's biography of his father, Sargent Shriver, due out in June 2012. Jordan has also collaborated on books with former NFL player Joe Ehrmann and attorney Ron Shapiro. He lives in Sherwood, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay.

 

CONTACT: Josh Williams ∙ Independent Publishers Group ∙ 312.337.0747 ∙ jwilliams@ipgbook.com

 

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