Jewish sportswriter and international best-selling author Mitch Albom joins a class of eight other honorees being inducted next week into the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation Hall of Fame, according to the Detroit Free Press.
According to the Foundation web site, RSVPs were required in early October. I don't know if any spots are still available. Anyone in the Detroit area wishing to attend should call 248.592.9323.
Albom is best known as the author of Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson.
The book spent 205 weeks on bestseller lists, sold more than 14 million copies and was translated into 41 different languages.
Morrie had a first edition printing of just 20,000 copies, before exploding in popularity. True first editions, therefore, are rare, highly collectible and expensive. ABEbooks.com sells autographed firsts for as much as $500 to $800 or more.
In addition to his above books, Albom is best known for his sportswriting and sportstalk radio and TV shows. Writing for Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press, among others, Albom became, according to Wikipedia, "one of the most award-winning sports writers of his era."
The Associated Press Sports Editors honored Albom with its "Best Sports Columnist
in the Nation" award 13 times, and awarded him feature writing honors on seven occasions.
Albom has also won more than 200 other writing honors from a variety of journalism and sports publishing organizations, including the National Headliner Awards, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriting Association, and National Association of Black Journalists.
Albom's books Bo: Life, Laughs, and Lessons of a College Football Legend (an autobiography of football coach Bo Schembechler co-written with the coach) and The Fab Five: Basketball Trash Talk the American Dream (a profile of the 1992/1993 University of Michigan men's basketball teams) were both New York Times best sellers.
Fans of Albom's sports columns can read several anthologies, including Live Albom: The Best of Detroit Free Press Sports Columnist Mitch Albom , Live Albom II , Live Albom III: Gone to the Dogs , and Live Albom 4.
Albom is a generous signer in person. I met him several years ago at a speaking engagement and book signing for Have A Little Faith at a synagogue here in Columbus. Albom chatted with attendees, inscribed and autographed every book he was handed (I'm proud to have all of his non-sports books in my collection of signed books), and posed for pictures. There were more than 500 people at the event, and I'd bet 300+ were in line to meet Mitch.
It is also my experience that Albom is a responsive through-the-mail signer. In 2001, Albom signed for my copy of Tuesdays With Morrie (not a first, unfortunately), in response to a through-the-mail request that I sent to his office at the Detroit Free Press. I was pleasantly surprised, considering it was during the height of the Morrie craze. Nevertheless, I am thrilled to have it in my collection!
According to his web site, Albom no longer responds to through-the-mail requests. "With tens of millions of copies of my books sold worldwide," the site says, "accepting and sending out mail isn’t logistically possible for security and staff concerns."
If you're interested in contacting Albom, I'd suggest doing so through Facebook. His Facebook page includes a list of upcoming events, and Albom's web site also offers a calendar of upcoming appearances, if you're interested in meeting Mitch.
Have you met Mitch Albom? Do you have any of his sports (or other) books in your collection? Will you be attending the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation Hall of Fame event on November 7?
Please share your thoughts and photos in the comments below.