As the title suggests, everything comes full circle for Mason City native George Ruszat in his new book, “Touching All Bases: Going Home.”
Ruszat, who moved to Mason City in 1947 when he was 8, is releasing his first book, which captures a youthful love for baseball centered around characters and settings in North Iowa.
It was released Sept. 1. It's available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble or directly through his website: georgeruszat.com.
Only 67 pages long, the seven-chapter fiction is a quick read. It’s inspired by happenings and people who were present in Ruszat’s life during his time in Mason City, including legendary Mohawks baseball coach Elmer Starr, who’s referred to as Elwood Storr in the book. Various teammates he played with have similar names, as well.
"Touching All Bases: Going Home" is essentially Ruszat’s recollection and portrayal of playing baseball in North Iowa, with an emphasis on Ruszat’s love for the game.
“There’s not too many around yet that are my age who would have played back then, but it does show a lifetime of love for the game.” Ruszat said. “I wasn’t the best. I wasn’t very good, but I loved the game.”
The book, a fictional autobiography from the eyes of a character named Auggie Rausch, follows a timeline similar to that of a youth baseball player. The first chapter, ‘The greatest play ever,’ is a recollection of what Rausch remembers to be the greatest play of his lifetime, one that happened at a junior varsity game in high school. There’s a handful of iconic Major League Baseball highlights that will live forever in the eyes of millions, but everyone who played baseball remembers a remarkable play that occurred during their youth.
Told in an almost Sandlot-like fashion, the next chapter recounts Rausch and his teammates playing in a pivotal playoff game, competing with familiar-faced opponents, which is an aspect many former and current ballplayers can relate to.
The book weaves through countless aspects of a baseball player’s thoughts, from dreams of playing professionally, to suffering a season-ending injury and being told a pro baseball career probably isn’t in the cards.
It’s an easily digestible, quick read that should resonate with fans of Mason City baseball. The book appeals to kids who have fallen in love with the game themselves, but the focus on North Iowa in particular makes this an interesting Mohawks-related read, considering the significance of the figures portrayed.
“I didn’t wanna use Mason City in itself,” Ruszat said. “If there are people still around that were there at that time, they would recognize who these were. A lot of people, especially sports fans here, they’ll recognize Elmer Starr. And that’s who I really wanted to honor … It’s all inspired by playing in Mason City, the love of baseball in Mason City, and Elmer Starr.
“It’s gone on through my whole life. It had to come out.”