Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sportsology: great memoirs are on the way

By Rick Morris

We cover all subjects here at The FDH Lounge and we’ve now set up a tracking system to try to get as much diverse content as we can up here. Toward that end, I was happy to get a tip from our friend Russ Cohen at Sportsology, even though I lost it in my (super-crowded) email box for awhile. But it’s still timely and a really interesting look at some great memoirs that are on the way. Because Sportsology is a part of our Friends of FDH Club, we can reprint this notice in its entirety here.

Hawkins & Company Signs New Authors

Byline: Hawkins & Company


Sports and entertainment marketing firm to provide literary representation for memoirs of Philadelphia music legend and former pro baseball player

GLENSIDE, PA - (August 20) - Laurie Hawkins, President of Hawkins + Company, has announced the signing of two new clients for the Glenside-based marketing and business development firm.

The agency will provide literary representation through its Collage Communications division for author Ronald Sklar of Brooklyn, New York, who has joined with local Philadelphia music legend Charlie Gracie to co-author the entertainer’s memoirs. Sklar is native to Northeast Philadelphia and currently writes for numerous outlets, including Gracie grew up in South Philadelphia and began performing over 40 years ago. His early hits as an artist of Philadelphia-based Cameo Parkway records helped that label to become a dominant force in the era’s music industry. One of those hits - his first - was Butterfly, in 1957. It topped the American and British music charts and sold over 3 million copies.

British audiences would soon become enamored of Charlie’s talent. Early in his career, as now, he has a strong following there that includes two former Beatles. Paul McCartney counts Gracie as one of his inspirations and he paid tribute with an updated version of Gracie’s hit Fabulous in a 1999 CD. George Harrison referred to Gracie’s guitar work as “brilliant” in a Billboard Magazine interview. Gracie continues to play to audiences in the United Kingdom and will return there for an extended appearance tour later this year.

Hawkins + Company will also provide literary representation for former professional baseball player Nikco Riesgo. Damon Nikco Riesgo was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1988’s amateur draft, after stellar performances as a member of the San Diego State University baseball squad. His professional baseball career would span eight years and include stints with minor league teams in the Phillies system, including the Reading Phillies, as well as the Mets, Royals, Brewers, Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. He made his major league debut with the Montreal Expos in 1991, spending a brief time there before returning to the minors.

Riesgo retired from play in 1995 and turned his attention to building a successful career in business that has baseball as a constant presence. He is currently the President of the Major League Players Organization, a group dedicated to promoting youth baseball worldwide.

Riesgo’s book, co-authored by Glassboro, New Jersey native Russ Cohen, will explore the 1994 Major League Baseball strike and the personal story of Riesgo, who made the choice to cross the picket line and become a replacement player. The lasting impact of the baseball strike of that year, with the first-ever cancellation of Major League Baseball’s World Series, has been debated by fans and commentators. But Riesgo and Cohen, an accomplished sports writer who produces a widely-read website at, will delve deeper into the personal aspects of one player during that one summer, setting his inspirational story amidst the ones that made the headlines.

More information about these authors and their books, and Hawkins + Company, can be found at Charlie Gracie’s official website is at and Nikco Riesgo’s Major League Players Organization is located at

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