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Modesto author part of Giants FanFest 2015

Modesto author Ken White will sign and sell copies of “Getaway Day” at Giants FanFest 2015 on Saturday  at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Proceeds benefit the team’s Junior Giants program.
Modesto author Ken White will sign and sell copies of “Getaway Day” at Giants FanFest 2015 on Saturday at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Proceeds benefit the team’s Junior Giants program. Tate Publishing

Author Ken White wrote a novel based partly on the San Francisco Giants heading to Modesto to practice for the 1962 World Series. On Saturday, White will head to AT&T Park and share that book with the team’s biggest fans.

The Modesto writer will sign and sell copies of “Getaway Day” at Giants FanFest 2015, with all proceeds going back to the team’s Junior Giants program. FanFest is an annual fan appreciation day with player appearances, autograph sessions, giveaways and more.

“I hope to sell books, meet some of the Giants’ organization and players, let true fans of the Giants know about my books, and help kick off the 2015 season of the World Champion San Francisco Giants,” White said in an email interview.

“Getaway Day” is a coming-of-age story based around a real-life event when the Giants and New York Yankees spent three hours practicing in Modesto between the rain-delayed sixth and seventh games of the 1962 World Series. The novel weaves that moment in Modesto sports history into a story about a 13-year-old boy who joins the throngs of fans at Del Webb Field to see heroes like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle. But he’s there for another reason – to convince Mantle to play catch with his cancer-stricken father.

White has wanted to do something to benefit the Junior Giants program since his book was published in March of last year.

“When my book first came out, I contacted Sue Petersen, executive director of the Giants Community Fund, about doing some kind of event to benefit the Junior Giants program, a program we have here in Modesto,” he said. The fund underwrote renovation of Enslen Park’s Little League diamond and renamed it Jeremy Affeldt Field, after the Giants’ pitcher. Affeldt attended the 2013 dedication along with Giants CEO Larry Baer and others.

White said he talked to Petersen about being a part of FanFest and “she thought it was a good match,” helping make arrangements with KNBR (680 AM and 1050 AM), which hosts the event, and the Giants’ front office.

Junior Giants is the flagship program of the Giants Community Fund and, according to the team’s website, “uses baseball as a forum to teach life skills to underserved youth throughout Northern and Central California, Nevada and Oregon.”

White wants to do more for the program, given his lifelong connection to baseball.

“I hope to continue doing some kind of fundraising for the Junior Giants program, whether it’s signing books or raising awareness locally for the program,” he said. “Little League was a big part of my growing up and is a big part of the book, so I’m humbled and thrilled to be able to give back to similar programs.”

White will be set up with his books at the club level at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Saturday. The free event (it’s $10 to park) runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. He’ll also give away bookmarks, promotional cards and grab bags that fans can use to collect other free items.

Closer to home, White will offer a reading at Barkin’ Dog Grill on Feb. 10 during the Second Tuesday Poetry Reading hosted by the Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center. That event begins at 6 p.m. at the restaurant, 940 11th St., Modesto.

White hopes to see plenty of Modestans turn out Saturday at FanFest. “If you decide to go, get there early,” he advises. “The parking lots tend to fill up quickly.”

For more on White and his writing, go to http://kenwhite.tateauthor.com.

Reach Bee staff writer Pat Clark at pclark@modbee.com.

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