According to Mr. Bogosian, the protagonist in the piece, “Chip Doolin,” is an idealized character, full of vigor and virtue. A young man of great athletic gifts, in the story “Chip” is not yet aware of the perils of life in the limelight. Unlike many who have gone through a similar rise, however, “Chip” eventually thrives as baseball superstar and remains true to his humble roots.
Mr. Bogosian said he wrote “The Adventures of Chip Doolin” for both young and old, baseball and non-baseball fans. Situated in the early 1900s, the author meant the book to portray a time when he believes the moral fiber of our society was stronger, our innocence having yet been lost.
“I wanted the book to appeal to the masses, the sports fan and non-sports fan alike,” Mr. Bogosian said. “If you’re any kind of fan of history, and especially the history of the game of baseball as I am, I think you’ll appreciate the book.”
Mr. Bogosian, five years a Special Needs teacher at East Providence High School, had his work published in time for the baseball season and it has been well received since, topping its genre on Amazon Kindle more than once.
“I wanted moms and dads to be very comfortable reading it to their kids,” he explained. “It’s already been used in a number of elementary schools by teachers, which I take as a great honor.”
Much like the novel he penned, the author, himself, has an eclectic backstory. Mr. Bogosian is a native of Cranston and a graduate of Cranston High School East where he excelled in baseball. His athletic career derailed a bit by a bout of mononucleosis, his attention was drawn to the theater arts. He would leave college in pursuit of an acting career in New York City and would later get his masters degree in education as he made his way back to Rhode Island.
Writing all the while, “The Adventures of Chip Doolin” actually emanated from a series of short stories Mr. Bogosian wrote several years ago for the Vintage and Classic Baseball Collector Magazine. His mentor, the F. Scott Fitzgerald biographer Matthew J. Buccoli, encouraged him to complete the idea into the full book form he finished late last year.
Mr. Bogosian recently went into greater detail about “The Adventures of Chip Doolin,” its characters and nuances, during a one-on-one interview with The Post, the result of which follows:
The Post: First off, why did you choose to write the story as a period piece?
Neal Bogosian: “I guess it is my love of history, viewing the past with rose-colored glasses. I felt the time the story is written was more moral and innocent than life is today. I don’t think most people then were corrupted by societal ills like greed and fame.”
The Post: The character “Chip Doolin” is a hero in the truest sense of the word. He really has no flaws. Why?
Mr. Bogosian: “I think subconsciously I was thinking it’s so hard to find a story about a morally superior and innocent character. I don’t want to forget people like Chip and his family actually existed. I wanted to make him as human as possible but to have super-human abilities when it came to baseball. And with some of the things he goes through in the book, I wanted the reader to be able to relate to those things we all have to deal with in our lives.”
The Post: Why did you choose to use actual historic figures, like baseball greats Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson?
Mr. Bogosian: “I thought it would add a lot of relevance to the story. And I also thought it would be neat to put a fictional character into a historical backdrop. I think all the readers can relate, especially baseball fans.”
Mr. Bogosian: “You may be wondering why I chose for Chip to play for the (Detroit) Tigers?”
The Post: Yes. Why?
Mr. Bogosian: “In looking back at that time period the Tigers were the only team really that didn’t have a star first baseman. They had a guy named Claude Rossman who only played like 90 games a year and wasn’t really an every-day player. So Chip realistically could have easily done what he did, which was to take over and become a star.”
The Post: Why did you choose to use baseball as the backdrop of the story?
Mr. Bogosian: “I’ve been playing the game since I was five. I still play now. There’s just something about it that makes for a compelling story.”
The Post: You also get into detail, at-bats, counts. How come?
Mr. Bogosian: “Growing up I loved statistics. I would spend hours looking at all the stats on my baseball cards. I fell in love with the game instantly. I would watch the All-Star Game every summer with my grandfather (Harry Bogosian Sr.) and my father (Harry Bogosian Jr.) was also a very good player. The game has deep roots in my family.”
The Post: Is there an overriding theme to the book?
Mr. Bogosian: “I would have to say the overriding theme of the story is to encourage people to live their dreams. So often people live their lives just because the tradition of society says they have to do it in a certain way. Chip Doolin didn’t. His father was a farmer. His grandfather and great-grandfathers were farmers and he was expected to be a farmer, too. But he had a dream to be a baseball player and chased that dream, but he also did it with integrity and honor, things that were instilled in him by his family. I tell kids in my classroom to step forward and chase their dreams. That’s kind of the way I live my life. That’s the way Chip Doolin lived his.”
“The Adventures of Chip Doolin” was written by Neal D. Bogosian with illustrations by David Saad. The book was published by Outskirts Press Inc., Denver, Colo. List price is $15.95. It is available at Barnes & Noble Bookstores and on-line at barnes&noble.com. It also available at amazon.com and via Amazon Kindle.