George Castle

Champions is George Castle’s 15th book in a busy author’s career since 1998.

Subjects of his books have ranged from broadcaster Harry Caray to volatile manager Lou Piniella to the top 50 game changers in baseball. Castle also has written or co-written five children’s books focused on teams’ histories.

Growing up in the cheap seats at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, old Comiskey Park and Chicago Stadium, Castle eventually switched to the press box for a nearly-four decade career chronicling baseball, hockey and basketball. The NFL was his fourth sport, but he expertly timed his Bears credential s season – for the 1985 Super Bowl XX run. He covered the 2005 White Sox-Astros World Series and the 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup Finals won by the Blackhawks.

Castle’s worked for newspapers, magazines and online sites. From 1994 to 2010, he hosted and produced Diamond Gems, a weekly syndicated baseball radio program. And he has served as historian for the Chicago Baseball Museum.

Throughout his sports journalism decades, Castle has forged positive relationships with Hall of Famers and star athletes, attributes that helped him craft his books and particularly were a benefit in assembling “Champions.”

He also has taught writing and editing for three colleges in the Chicago area.

Castle lives in Chicago’s northern suburbs with wife Nina, Australian shepherd Patches and 25-year-old African Grey parrot Casey. Daughter Laura acquired her love of baseball from the old man.

John Schenk

John Schenk’s entrepreneurial journey began at age nine and propelled him from purchasing and selling autographed sports memorabilia to becoming the youngest sports agent in the country by age sixteen. John's business achievements were recognized by the Missouri House of Representatives in 2008 when he was presented the Glory of Missouri Award for exemplifying the virtue of Enterprise. Since then, he has started and acquired several holding and operating companies including John Schenk & Associates, LLC. As owner and president, he likes to think “outside the box,” bringing new and innovative ideas to the table. He offers clients more than a decade of consulting, marketing, publishing and booking services while sharing his sports and entertainment management knowledge and expertise. John’s experiences, coupled with his belief in building a strong foundation by developing personal and positive relationships, have allowed him to partner with and earn the trust and respect of professional athletes, musicians, producers, songwriters and event organizers.

An avid Cardinals baseball fan, John also enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures along with different foods and coffees. John's desire to serve the less fortunate was recognized when he was presented with the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Model of Justice Award for his continued charitable involvement. To this day, he is involved in an array of charitable causes centered mostly around organ donations, mental health awareness, ALS research, and police and military organizations. John currently resides in Dallas, Texas.

Marla McKenna

While in school, Marla was involved in music, sports and theater. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism – Advertising and Public Relations. Marla has always been passionate about the creative aspect of writing and graphic design, and her work has appeared in magazines, brochures, newsletters, billboards, DVDs and radio spots, and is now featured in these children’s books, Mom’s Big Catch, Sadie’s Big Steal and her third book in the series, Julia’s Big Win is on the way!

She has loved turning her passion for writing into a career and is excited about the opportunities she has to share her positive message with kids of all ages while visiting schools across the country. Teaching children that dreams really can come true and the importance of never giving up, is the theme she includes in her presentations.

Marla enjoys spending time at the cabin, going to concerts and baseball games, and walking her dog, Sadie. As an avid dog lover, she strongly supports helping all animals find loving homes especially those that have been abused and neglected.

Fergie Jenkins

Fergie Jenkins, a 1991 Hall-of-Famer, is by all measures the greatest pitcher in Cubs history.  He was 167-132 in 10 seasons in two tenures in Wrigley Field with an astounding six consecutive 20-win seasons from 1967-72. Overall, Fergie won 284 games in an 18-year career that took him to the Phillies, Rangers (twice), and Red Sox.

Ranking as the first pitcher in big-league history to rack up more than 3,000 strikeouts with fewer than 1,000 walks, Fergie also is the Cubs career and season (2,038 career and 274 in 1970) strikeout leader.  Jenkins also holds the Cubs’ modern-day career record for career games started (347) and season games started (42 in 1969). He finished third in innings pitched (2,673 2/3), fourth in shutouts (29) and fifth in the categories of: wins (167), games (401), and complete games (154).

He is considered by many the greatest Canadian baseball player in history, too, and was the first from his country inducted into the Hall of Fame.