PITTSBURGH — Jim Rooker has done a little bit of everything over the years.
He pitched in the major leagues for 13 seasons from 1968-80, including an eight-year run with the Pirates. Since his playing career ended, Rooker has served a broadcaster, restaurant owner and even made a run, albeit unsuccessful, for Congress.
The 67-year-old Rooker never expected to add children’s book author to his resume. Yet, he has written three books about baseball geared to kids and has another one in the works.
Rooker now splits his time between homes in Jacksonville, Fla., and Ambridge, Pa., while his grandchildren live in the Pittsburgh area. It was during one of those absences from the grandkids that Rooker got the idea to start writing books.
“I was flying back to Jacksonville from Pittsburgh one day and it really hit me how much I miss my grandchildren,” Rooker said. “I started thinking of a way that I might be able to give something to them that would be really lasting. I don’t know why exactly it popped into my head, but I thought I’d try to write a book. It’s been a very rewarding experience.”
The books are $9.99 each and can be purchased online at mascotbooks.com. The publishing company is also working out details on making the books available at retail outlets.
With three books already in his catalogue, Rooker is now working on a fourth. Its title will be “Fletcher The Catcher.”
“I’ve really enjoyed doing this,” Rooker said. “I just hope kids have as much fun reading these books as I’ve had writing them.”