web site: www.tom-swift.com
telephone: 952-486-0809

Tom Swift

Tom Swift is an award-winning author and journalist whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. He has covered everything from a kiddie parade to a parade of racial supremacists, interviewed everyone from a state champion pickle grower to the sitting U.S. Senate majority leader, written about an American League batting champion, and ridden in a presidential motorcade.

His book, Chief Bender’s Burden: The Silent Struggle of a Baseball Star, won the 2009 Seymour Medal, which honors the best work of baseball history published during the preceding calendar year. The book tells the true story of Charles Albert Bender, the first Minnesota-born man inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and the most accomplished American Indian player of all time. Using a trademark delivery, an assortment of pitches that may have included the game’s first slider, Bender helped the old Philadelphia Athletics to five American League pennants and three World Series championships, and earned a reputation as baseball’s foremost clutch pitcher while performing in front of boisterous Deadball Era crowds. But the book is about more than baseball, as “Chief” Bender’s storied career unfolded in the face of immeasurable racism and prejudice.

Chief Bender’s Burden was called a “gem” and a “wonderful and impressively thorough” biography by the Chicago Sun-Times; was featured in the Washington Post and on Salon.com; and received a rare “starred review” from Library Journal. Minnesota Twins broadcaster Dick Bremer interview Swift for the team’s pre-game show on Fox Sports. Chief Bender’s Burden was named one of ten noteworthy history books of 2008 by Kansas City Star writer Brian Burnes. “For a Minnesota baseball fan,” says Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman, “[Chief Bender’s Burden] is must reading.” Speaking on WCCO radio, Don Shelby called the book a work of “unbelievable storytelling.” Says Booklist: “In Swift’s hands, Bender’s life unfolds gradually, as though he were a character in a novel, and the prejudice he experienced, though never justified, is set within the context of the times. Carefully researched — and documented — as well as stylishly written, uncommon in the genre.”

Tom and his wife, Carrie, live with their two terriers, Barry and Tobias, in Northfield, Minnesota.

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