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- author Jackie French

Thursday 4 June 2020

Guest Post: Larry Harper on Before Jackie

In 1994, Major League Baseball canceled the World Series. I was disturbed by how this could happen over money and worried about the impression that it would leave on the youth.  

So, I set out to do something positive for children, so that the younger generation would love the game of baseball for what it is, and not for the money it could give you. 

I decided to write my first children's book with my childhood idol – Hall of Fame Broadcaster, Vin Scully. All the proceeds from the sale of It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year benefitted many youth charities. From this experience, I realized the potential of charitable work and founded my own children's charity called the Good Tidings Foundation.

Good Tidings Foundation's mission is to encourage and support the growth of marginalized youth in Northern California and beyond by creating environments for athletics, arts, and education.  For the last 25 years, we have built 204 athletic courts, art studios, music studios, teen centers, dance studios, and more.  

We have awarded $1.6 million in education scholarships to high school seniors and donated over 56,000 toys to low-income children during the holidays. 

This past November, I published my third book, Before Jackie. Meticulously researched and based on true stories, Before Jackie is about a group of nine kids in post-World War II California that are brought together by baseball. Free of adult prejudices and united by their love of the game, the kids overcome all obstacles—poverty, racism, physical disability—to become a vision of America's joyous, diverse future.

Before Jackie is an uplifting story with a twist, where the friends, who call themselves The Nine, find themselves on a quest to dig up a communal grave in order to right a wrong. 

Through their adventures, friends are loyal above all else—to each other, to the team of Negro League players who befriends them, to their teacher, Ms. O'Doul, and to the great American pastime of baseball that makes all things possible.

During these current unprecedented times, like The Nine, many of us might be facing many new obstacles right now.  

Whether it be obstacles facing the unknown, with loss, poverty, or racism, I encourage you to stay positive and find something that brings you joy. 

Larry Harper grew up in Southern California, listening to Vin Scully and with a dream of working in baseball. He spent five years as a college coach and thirteen years as a Major League Baseball Scout, including the Director of Scouting for the San Francisco Giants. In 1995, Larry founded the Good Tidings Foundation to support marginalized children in the areas of arts, education, athletics, and wonder. Larry is the recipient of the Humanitarian Award by the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Harper is the author of three books (one with Vin Scully), and proceeds from all his books benefit the Good Tidings Foundation. He is married to his wife of twenty-eight years, Ronette, and they have two adult children, Zack and Bridgette.

You can find his book on Good Tidings’ website and on Amazon.