Nottawa author Doug Fox has released his first book on a sport close to his heart.
Because of darkness: Ontario summer baseball has broken the color barrier is a historical fiction that follows the story of the 1934 Ontario amateur baseball season when the Chatham Colored All-Stars were accepted to play for the first time in the Ontario Baseball Association Intermediate B Provincial Playoffs , breaking the color barrier more than a decade before the Major League. Baseball did.
The title of the book takes its name from the controversial third game of the best-of-three series against Penetanguishene, led by pitcher Phil Marchildon, who would become the star of the American League’s Philadelphia Athletics.
The story is told by two narrators: the two real-life journalists who covered the teams in their respective cities. The book is an account of a team’s battle to overcome racism against the backdrop of the Great Depression.
When asked why it was important for him to tell this story, Fox replied that it was a combination of personal and historical reasons.
“It’s an Ontario baseball story, and I really am a baseball fanatic. I think it’s important in terms of diversity to tell this story about the Chatham team,” Fox said.
“When I grew up in Midland, when I played hockey in Penetanguishene, there was this big black and white picture of an old baseball player,” he said. “The picture is still in the Penetanguishene arena today. This player was [Phil] Marchildon. And for a kid growing up, knowing that someone from Penetanguishene went to the big leagues was incredible. It’s always for me.
Marchildon played for the Philadelphia Athletics (now the Oakland Athletics) and the Boston Red Sox.
Fox was an elementary school teacher for 30 years before going into semi-retirement. He says he has written about the Toronto Blue Jays farm system for the past 10 years and has gained an online following for his writing on the subject.
Because of darkness marks Fox’s first foray into writing books.
“Baseball literature has been in my blood since I was very young. I was one of those rare kids growing up in Ontario where hockey was something to do between baseball seasons,” Fox said.
Fox will talk about Because of darkness at the Penetanguishene Public Library on August 31, and he will have a table at the Collingwood Public Library at their event for Literacy Day authors on September 8.
Copies of the book will be available at both events and can also be purchased from Amazon.ca here, or in ebook format through Kobo, Kindle and Apple Books.