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Pop-Up Author Jerry Grillo

May 18 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Johnny Mize, nicknamed the Big Cat, was one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. Born and raised in tiny Demorest, Georgia, in the northeast Georgia mountains, Mize emerged from the heart of Dixie as a Bunyonesque slugger, a quiet but sharp-witted man who became a professional player at seventeen. He went on to a swashbuckling career for the St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Giants of Mel Ott and Leo Durocher, and finally with the New York Yankees, who won a record five straight World Series with Mize as their ace in the hole—the best pinch hitter in the American League. Few players have combined such meticulous bat control with brute power the way Mize did. He was a line-drive hitter who rarely struck out and also hit for distance, to all fields, and usually for a high average. Tabbed as a can’t-miss Hall of Famer, then all but forgotten, Mize spent twenty-eight years waiting for the call from Cooperstown before he was finally inducted in 1981, delighting fans with his straightforward commentary and sly sense of humor during a memorable induction speech. From the backroads of the Minor Leagues to the sunny Caribbean, where he played alongside the best Black and Latin players as a twenty-one-year-old, and to the Major Leagues, where he became a ten-time All-Star, home run champion, and World Series hero, Mize forged a memorable trail along baseball’s landscape. This is the first complete biography of the amazing Big Cat.

Jerry Grillo is a longtime journalist and a Georgia Author of the Year finalist for his book, The Music and Mythocracy of Col. Bruce Hampton: A Basically True Biography (2021, University of Georgia Press). Big Cat is his second book (University of Nebraska Press). His work has appeared in Atlanta Magazine, Paste Magazine, Super Lawyers, Newsday, and jambands.com, among other publications.


May 18
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:


M. Judson Booksellers
130 S. Main St.
Greenville, 29601 United States
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