AUTHOR SCORES A HOMERUN WITH HER BOOK, ONE ON ONE: MY JOURNEY WITH HALL OF FAMERS, FAN FAVORITES AND RISING STARS

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One On One: My Journey with Hall Of Famers, Fan Favorites and Rising Stars, By Jane Mitchell (Sweet Dreams Publishing Of Massachusetts, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, 2010, 638 Pages.)



Book Review by Dennis Moore



January 19, 2011 (San Diego)--The foreword to Jane Mitchell's book, One on One: My Journey with Hall of Famers, Fan Favorites and Rising Stars, by San Diego native and broadcast legend Dick Enberg and San Diego Padres' Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, speaks volumes about fellow San Diego native Mitchell and her book. While giving homage to her hometown, Mitchell explores the lives of some of our most celebrated personalities.



"Her voice, writing, and presence were of high quality. She wasn't simply reciting statistics, or the mundane, but was offering insightful player stories,” Enberg wrote. “Men viewed as strong, tough heroes to fans were openly candid in her interviews, sharing not only their victories, but also their vulnerabilities. They seemed at ease in sharing childhood dreams, teenage trauma, professional and personal flaws throughout their major league journey. In 1999, while featuring the San Diego Chargers, there was no surprise she transitioned from baseball to football, seamlessly."

 

All of this, and more, came across in a phone interview that I had with Mitchell in which I stated: "By the way, fantastic book! It should be a collector's item." When you see pictures of Drew Brees and Ladainian Tomlinson in a group photo with Mitchell and the athletes’ wives, as well as a poignant photo of Mitchell interviewing the late great Ted Williams, plus countless other candid interviews, you can understand why.

Gwynn stated in the foreword to the book: "The fact that she and her show have been around for fourteen seasons? Nobody plays for fourteen seasons for one team anymore, and I should know. Players come and go. Reporters come and go. Jane has been a mainstay for a reason. I remember telling her when she started, that if she did this really well, people will know. And that's exactly what happened. You could ask anybody in town and say 'One on One,'and her name's going to come up, and that's a testament to how well she's done her job."

You don't have to be a sports fan to appreciate what Mitchell has shared with us between the pages of her book, though it helps. Nor do you have to be male to love this book, for One on One: My Journey with Hall of Famers, Fan Favorites and Rising Stars is a true human interest story, told from the unique perspective of a 26-time Emmy Award winner.



Since 1997, Mitchell has been producing and anchoring "One on One with Jane Mitchell," on Channel 4 San Diego, giving viewers an in-depth look at San Diego's top sports figures from young stars to veterans and Hall of Famers.



Mitchell's passion for storytelling stems from her growing up in a Navy family, traveling the world and being encouraged by her mother, who was a teacher, to write about her experiences.

She was never a big sports fan, but fell in love with baseball at her first spring training in '97. She brings her newfound appreciation for baseball and football to the show, peeling back the layers of a player's often rough and tough game-day facade to reveal their struggles, successes, triumphs and tragedies, humor and humility that make them who they are on and off the field. Their vulnerability and strength are revealed in a way that is appreciated by the players, also welcomed by new and die-hard fans. It seems only natural that Mitchell would write this book.

You could say that this book got started with Mitchell's "8th grade epiphany." In her book Mitchell indicated that she wanted to go to Egypt from an early age. "Maybe it was the pyramids and the ideas of seeing where civilization began,” she wrote. “One evening in eighth grade, I sat in our living room, curled up in a big, soft green and gold velvet floral rocking chair. My father was on the couch. We were watching a news report from the peace talks in Cairo. I don't remember what was being said. I do remember distinctly seeing a man holding a microphone standing in front of the pyramids reporting on the story of the day. In that moment, that very moment, I said to my father, 'Wow, that man travels the world, tell stories, is on TV, and gets paid for it. That's what I'm going to do.'" The rest is history, Mitchell's history.

She spoke candidly in her book of broadcast icons Jane Pauley and Tom Brokaw, then NBC's Today Show anchors, indicating a chance meeting with them that validated her career. She stated in her book that a two-minute commercial break on July 29, 1981, prompted an exchange between her and the anchors, in which they both encouraged her. She carried that moment with her all the way through college, graduate school, and into her first job.

What started out as a four-month stint, to tell the San Diego and Republican National Convention stories, emerged as what we now know as the Channel 4 TV "One on One" show, and now this book. Some 26 Emmy awards later, we get a sense why people feel comfortable sitting across from Mitchell in the many interviews she would conduct.

An interview with future Hall of Famers LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees, in the home of Tomlinson, is perhaps the highlight of this book for me. Mitchell did an update of an earlier interview with Tomlinson and Brees separately, together this time, to reflect on their five seasons playing with the San Diego Chargers. Mitchell indicated that this was a first for her "One on One" TV show, with two main subjects seated next to each other for the interview. She stated, "How they talked demonstrated the dynamic of their friendship, their shared Christian faith, their sense of humor, respect for each other, and for their team and city." Mitchell would reflect on the future Hall of Famers' wives sitting beside their husbands to touch on what they had experienced in the last few years as well.

Tomlinson would state in regard to his interview with Mitchell: "The 'One on One' interview was more personal and in-depth. It wasn't a typical stats oriented interview. Jane had a way of making me feel comfortable with opening up. Unlike some interviews, she wasn't trying to create controversy.Jane was very sincere in asking her questions and wanting to hear the answers."

 

This book is chock-full of pictures and candid interviews with sports stars and legends such as Dave Winfield, Junior Seau, Antonio Gates, Trevor Hoffman, Adrian Gonzalez, Ozzie Smith, Ted Williams, and so many more.

 

Future Hall of Famer Adrian Gonzalez observed,"The first thing I remember when asked about doing the 'One on One' show with Jane was, 'Cool, I get to be on the show I enjoyed watching while in high school before I was drafted and left home.' The second thing I remember is my Mom will get her wish and have her son on the show she loved."

That basically says it all about this wonderful book, which is more than just a book about sports stars and athletes. This is a book about human nature, a book that I highly recommend.

Dennis Moore is a member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, and a freelance contributor to the San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper. He can be contacted at contractsagency@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.

 

Comments

One on One

What an interesting field Jane Mitchell chooses to write about. I am a sports fan, especially football, so I find her subjects fascinating. I'm definitely putting her book on my "To Read" list.

Carole McKee, Author of "Choices"

Drew Brees continues to break NFL records!

 Three quarterbacks - Saints' Drew Brees (NFL single-season record 5,476 yards), Pats' Tom Brady of New England (5,235) and Lions' Matthew Stafford (5,038) - reached the 5,000-yard mark this season, more than the previous combined total in NFL history. Entering 2011, only two QBs had ever passed for at least 5,000 yards in a season (Dan Marino, 5,084 in 1984 and Brees, 5,069 in 2008).

 

Brees completed 28 of 35 passes (80 percent) for 389 yards with five touchdowns and one interception for a 140.7 passer rating in the Saints' 45-17 win over Carolina. Brees set NFL-single season records for passing yards (5,476), completions (468), completion percentage (71.2 percent), 300-yard passing games (13) and consecutive 300-yard passing games (seven).

DREW BREES BREAKS DAN MARINO'S RECORD

Former San Diego Chargers' quarterback, Drew Breens, whom Jane Mitchell featured in her book, broke Dan Marino's 27-year-old record for most passing yardage in a single season - last night on Monday Night Football. Brews, now the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, and former Super Bowl MVP, beat the Atlanta Falcons last night while setting the record.

Jane Mitchell's Book

Jane Mitchell's book "My Journey with Hall of Farmers" seems like it offers an interesting insight into the myriad of characters that inhabit San Diego. Jane's show has been around for fourteen seasons, that's impressive. I'd rather watch that than buy silver, far more entertaining.

The San Diego Padres Honor Negro League in 8th Annual Salute

The education of the African American youth must begin with our history. On Friday afternoon, June 10, the San Diego Padres hosted their annual Salute to the Negro Leagues Luncheon at the PETCO Park Auditorium. The luncheon featured six stars who played in the Negro Leagues. Former Padres player Dave Winfield, who was profiled in Jane Mitchell's book, participated in the festivities.

Held in the Padres's auditorium, about 75 honored and distinguished guests gathered to pay tribute to those African Americans who paved the way for Blacks in baseball. Featured players included Neale "Bobo" Henderson, who played for the Kansas City Monarchs; Don "Newk" Newcombe, Newark Eagles and Los Angeles Dodgers; Art "Superman" Pennington, Chicago American Giants; Charles "Chuck" Harmon, Indianapolis Clowns, Cincinnati Reds; and John "Mule" Miles, Chicago American Giants (who could not make the trip due to illness).

The San Diego Padres Honor Negro League in 8th Annual Salute

Few who played in the Negro Leagues had the opportunity to advance to the Majors. Don Newcombe, who played in both the Negro Leagues and the Major Leagues, is the only player to win Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and the Cy Young Award in the same season.

For African American youth to learn and understand the struggle of their predecessors is the gateway to appreciation of a history rich in culture and education.

The San Diego Padres Honor Negro League in 8th Annual Salute

The discussion was opened to audience interaction and the question was raised to all panelists on which Negro League player was thought to be the best player not to make it to the Major Leagues? Answers included Barney Serrell, a shortstop who played for the Negro League and Mexican League and a one-time Negro League all-star; Gene Richardson, a pitcher who taught Caucasian pitchers on form and specific pitches, and Josh Gibson, one of the most prolific power hitters in the Negro Leagues, who was often referred to as the "Black Babe Ruth," or rather, Babe Ruth was known as the "White Josh Gibson."

The San Diego Padres Honor Negro League in 8th Annual Salute

The players spoke on their experiences playing in the Negro Leagues and its impact on mainstream society. During the time when African Americans were barred from playing in the Big Leagues, many went to play out of the country and overseas because they were able to make more money. For African Americans, playing in Mexico was not uncommon as there was more opportunity to succeed.

Jan Mitchell and Diamond Literary Festival of San Diego

I would like to also thank Dennis for sharing Jane Mitchell with us. It was a double pleasure in that she is the very epitome of what the goal of the Diamond Literary Festival is all about. First of all by exposing our young people and the community to the joy of literature and writing, as well as realizing that all things are possible and achievable. Secondly, through a book you can travel the world, learn new and exciting things, meet and learn about interesting and famous people, all of which are found in Jane Mitchell’s book, One on One, My Journey with Hall of Famer, Fan Favorites and Rising Stars.

The Diamond Literary Festival of San Diego would be honored to have Jane Mitchell come and share her book with us. ALL ARE WELCOME!

The public will have a chance to meet up close and chat with authors. Writers and authors will have a chance to introduce their book(s) and/or written work, and do book signing aboard the Williams D. Evans at the Bahia Hotel in beautiful Mission Bay, as we cruise the San Diego harbor.

There will be plenty of good food and live music, performed by the very dynamic group, Men 4 Christ. You will have a chance to meet and dine with some of San Diego’s finest writers.

For more information please email: Alice at either alice.jefferson@cox.net or call 619-913-0626

Diamond Literary Festival "Authors Dinner Cruise"

Jane Mitchell has been invited to attend the Diamond Literary Festival's "Authors Dinner Cruise" on June 3rd at the beautiful Bahia Resort Hotel in Mission Bay, and to participate in a book signing for authors.

"Dialogue: Between the Lins" - Susan Wingate & Joshua Graham

As Jane Mitchell had earlier indicated to me that she was receptive to being on the internet radio show for writers, "Dialogue: Between the Lines," co-hosted by Susan Wingate and Joshua Graham, I recommended to Susan Wingate that Jane would be an ideal candidate, as she has won 26 Emmys for her TV show.

Jane Mitchell's Book on Local Sports Celebrities

Another great book review Dennis, thank you for sharing. Jane, I hope you are taking your book to the schools, especially in San Diego! I grew up in San Diego and would have appreciated talks of encouragement and inspiration. My parents were loving and giving as best as they knew how. However, talk of big dreams and how to get there, were not our normal conversations in our household. You sharing the athletes journies, from their dreams, their struggles and success is greatly appreciated and much needed for our kids to hear! I just wrote a book, BRAGN - Be Real And Great Now, it inspires and encourages tweens and teens to communicate and live life positively and proactively to increase life's positive results! It includes giving tweens and teens the permission to dream, and dream big! I truly feel your book will do the same! I am including schools in my book tour. See you on campus - we hope!! -Zenaida Roy-Almario BRAGN - Be Real And Great now is available at Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com and soon at books stores near you.

Thank You!

Thank you Dennis, for the review, and thanks to those who have commented here. I'm so grateful and happy you're interested in the book... and the variety of stories and perspectives in it. You'll also notice the gray area boxes throughout that have comments from the players themselves about their One on One experience. I'm working on another season of TV shows for Channel 4 San Diego... that starts in April. For now, enjoy the book... and please spread the word! Jane ((www.JaneMitchellOneOnOne.com)) Follow me on Twitter @OneOnOneJane or Facebook Friend me: Jane Mitchell ChannelFour

One on One: Jane Mitchell

I am honored to get consideration from Jane Mitchell, for her being my guest at a regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, of which I am a member.

Book Review

The author sounds like she may be as interesting as the people she interviews. Her genuine interest and lack of stats sounds like a winning srategy for conducting interviews and writing such book. Genuine people are always welcome, aren't they? - Ruth Leyse-Wallace

Another San Diego author hits a 'home run' !

What better than in depth, 'one on one' coverage of San Diego sports legends like Ted Williams and Tony Gwynn by another native San Diego author. This book would be an excellent gift for any serious sports enthusiast with a desire to gain a more personal perspective about some of the greatest athletes of our time.

TOM GATCH ~ San Diego native and author of HOOKED ON BAJA. Read EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE BOOK REVIEW: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/4754

Jane Mitchell

I don't often read nonfiction but as a huge sports fan, it feels to me that Mitchell's book, ONE ON ONE, may just hit it out of the ball park for me.

I can't wait to read this one. Thanks Dennis, for bringing another great book into view. -Susan.