The 400-page soft cover edition has 85 stories – columns – written by Maynard from 1977 to 2009 in the pages of The Independent newspaper in Ashland.
On page 147 is the story detailing Don Gullett’s 72-point outburst in a 1968 high school football game between his McKell Bulldogs and the Wurtland Warriors on the Wurtland field.
It’s brought to our minds that his 11 touchdowns and six extra points broke the state record of 68 points in a game set by Herb Phelps when he played for My Old Kentucky Home.
But we learn that the 72 points stand only seventh on the national list that’s topped by Elvin McCoy’s 90 points, coming in a 1927 game in Kansas.
In Maynard’s November 2008 column on the game’s 40th anniversary, he interviewed Steve Crum, who played defensive end for Wurtland in that game.
Crum said he had Gullett’s cleat marks on his jersey from where he tried to stop him.
“They ran three plays,” Crum said of McKell’s game plan, “Gullett up the middle, Gullett off tackle and Gullett around the end.”
Gullett rushed for 410 yards, scoring on runs of 1-yard, 80 yards, and everything in between.
Notre Dame and Alabama recruited him in football, but baseball was his great love. He went on to win four World Series rings with the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees.
“If not for a career-ending injury, he’d probably have his bust in Cooperstown,” Maynard said.
Probably Maynard’s favorite column was “A Great Day at Shea,” about an April 27-28, 2003 trip to Shea Stadium to watch Brandon Webb make the first start of his career, pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks against Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver and the New York Mets.
Maynard was accompanied by Webb’s father, Phil Webb, his grandfather, Bob Carr, and Maynard’s pastor, Floyd Paris, and his son Phillip Paris. They drove to the stadium from the church parking lot in Ashland.
The Saturday game was rained out, but Webb pitched the next day’s first game of a double-header before 36,491 Mets fans, and he pitched….
You can read all about it in the book.
Other columns cover the three-year stint by O.J. Mayo on the tiny Rose Hill Christian School just outside Ashland; the story of Orb “Big Chief” Bowling, a 6-ft 10-in. basketball player for Sandy Hook High School half a century ago; and Reese Banks and Bobby Simpson, the “Jackie Robinsons” of Ashland baseball, who were the first two blacks allowed to join an all-white Ashland Babe Ruth League team in 1957.
“The title of the book may be misleading, because the book is not about me at all,” Maynard said. “It’s about the history of sports in this area. It wasn’t written down anywhere. I did some stories about events that happened a hundred years ago.”
He said the hardest part of putting the book together was deciding what to put in and what to leave out.
“I chose by events,” he said.
Maynard joined the staff of The Independent as a sports writer in 1975, became sports editor, and is now managing editor of the daily newspaper in northeastern Kentucky.
The book is well-illustrated with black and white action photographs, many of them taken by The Independent staff photographers John Flavell and Kevin Goldy.
The book sells for $20. Copies can be ordered from The Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1645 Winchester Avenue, P.O. Box 669, Ashland, Ky. 41105-0669, or by visiting its Web site at JSFBOOKS.com.
It can also be purchased from Maynard at the newspaper office or ordered from his Web site at markmaynardbooks.com.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.