Larry Colton

Larry Colton
Born: (1942-06-08)June 8, 1942
Los Angeles, California
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 6, 1968, for the Philadelphia Phillies
Last MLB appearance
May 6, 1968, for the Philadelphia Phillies
MLB statistics
Games played 1
Innings pitched 2
Earned runs 1

Lawrence Robert "Larry" Colton (born June 8, 1942), a one-time professional baseball player, is a writer and educator in Portland, Oregon, United States.[1] Signed as a pitcher by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964, Colton played college ball at the University of California, where he still holds the single game strikeout record (19). In 1965, he married Denise Loder, daughter of the actress Hedy Lamarr.[2][3] A shoulder separation ended his big league career after a single appearance in relief for the Phillies.[4]

Baseball career

Colton played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1968.[5] He played for Phillies farm team the Eugene Emeralds in 1965 when it was a Class A-Short Season Northwest League team and again in 1969 when it was a triple-A Pacific Coast League team.[4]

Writing career

Larry Colton has published hundreds of magazine articles for publications including Esquire, New York Times, Sports Illustrated and Ladies Home Journal.[6][7] The author of five books, Colton was the recipient of the 2013 Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Oregon Book Award from Oregon Literary Arts. The award honors not only his achievements as a writer, but also his work as the founder of the literary festival and writing program, Wordstock.[8] His book Counting Coup earned him Frankfurt eBook Award in non-fiction in 2000.[9]

Idol Time

Colton's first book, Idol Time, examined the aftermath of the Portland Trailblazers' 1977 NBA championship, and while it reached primarily a regional audience, it foreshadowed the narrative approach Colton would apply in subsequent works.[10]

Goat Brothers

Goat Brothers, published by Doubleday in 1993, examined the lives of Colton and a select group of his fraternity brothers at the University of California from their college days in the early 1960s until the end of the 1980s. A main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, Goat Brothers was described in Entertainment Weekly as "engaging" and "compulsively readable."[11] Publishers Weekly said of the book "Colton powerfully tells the stories of the five men's search for self-worth, their difficulty in communicating their feelings, and their anger toward women.[12]

Counting Coup

Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Colton's third book, Counting Coup, again focused on group dynamics, but in this case rather than observing a group of prominent men, Colton chronicled the dramatic season of a high school girls' basketball team in Montana. The team's star was the descendent of a Crow scout at Little Big Horn. Sharon LaForge's charisma animates Colton's account of the Hardin Lady Bulldogs' quest for a state championship. The book received excellent reviews.[13] Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love, observed that Colton placed his subjects "in the intricately tangled social contexts that lend weight and meaning far beyond the game."[14] Counting Coup won the 2000 International E-Book of the Year Award.[15]

No Ordinary Joes

No Ordinary Joes is Colton's 2010 account of the sinking of the US Navy submarine USS Grenadier, a little-known episode of World War II.[16] Based on extensive interviews with several of the survivors, No Ordinary Joes borrows from the narrative strategy of Goat Brothers to tell the interlocking stories of four shipmates on the Grenadier, from their childhoods through enlistment, courtships and deployment, and on to the horrors of life in a Japanese slave labor camp. "The book's content is fresh", wrote a reviewer in The Oregonian, "and the narrative is superb."[17] NPR said of the book, "The book recounts the soldiers' harrowing experiences as POWs, but it is also, at its core, an incredible love story."[18]

Southern League

Colton's 2013 book returns to his baseball roots.[19] The story of the 1964 Birmingham Barons, Southern League sets the season of the first integrated professional baseball team in Alabama in the context of the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle for racial equality.[20] While the pennant race gives the book its narrative momentum, the counterpoint provided by Colton's research into Birmingham's complicated racial past gives poignancy to the friendships formed among the players, black and white, and the team's affection for its young manager, Haywood Sullivan, a white Alabaman who would go on to own the Boston Red Sox. Two-time Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Richard Ben Cramer, wrote of Southern League: "When I read Counting Coup, I was staggered by Larry Colton's ability to persuade a group of high school girls to share their heart's secrets, so I am not surprised that for Southern League he could get a bunch of aging baseball players to remember the hopes and fears of their minor league days. The breadth of Colton's reporting here, placing the Birmingham Barons' 1964 season squarely into the context of the civil rights era, is a narrative tour de force."[21]


  1. "Biography". Larry Colton. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  2. "Larry Colton Statistics and History –". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  3. "Larry Colton Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  4. 1 2 "About: Career Timeline," Larry Colton official website. Accessed August 3, 2014.
  5. "Larry Colton Statistics and History". Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  6. "Larry Colton". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  7. "Goat Brothers". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  8. Since 1997, Wordstock—originally known as the Community of Writers—has been providing writing instruction for K-12 teachers, K-8 students, parents and practicing writers in school districts in and around Portland. Wordstock has trained more than 1,800 teachers and 40,000 students. The Wordstock Festival, held each fall in Portland, features roughly 200 writers from around the world, as well as publishers, literary agents, and educational programs.
  9. "Frankfurt eBook Awards". Retrieved 2015-08-05.
  10. "Idol Time: Larry Colton, Tom Meschery: 9780917304347: Books". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  11. Larry Colton. "Goat Brothers". Entertainment Weekly's Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  12. "Nonfiction Book Review: Goat Brothers by Larry Colton, Author Doubleday Books $23.95 (559p) ISBN 978-0-385-24407-7". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  13. "Nonfiction Book Review: Counting Coup: A True Story of Basketball and Honor on the Little Big Horn by Larry Colton, Author Warner Books $24.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-446-52683-8". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  14. Quoted on back cover of hardcover edition of Counting Coup, September, 2000
  15. "Frankfurt eBook Award Winners Announced". Write News. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  16. "No Ordinary Joes". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  18. "'No Ordinary Joes' Tells Stories Of Love And War". October 5, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  19. "Nonfiction Book Review: Southern League: A True Story of Baseball, Civil Rights, and the Deep South's Most Compelling Pennant Race by Larry Colton. Grand Central, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4555-1188-4". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  20. Bruce Markusen. "Talking ball with Southern League's Larry Colton". The Hardball Times. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  21. "Southern League: A True Story of Baseball, Civil Rights, and the Deep South's Most Compelling Pennant Race: Larry Colton: 9781455511884: Books". Retrieved July 30, 2015.

External links

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