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Baseball: Mel Didier’s Book Available at Louisiana Hot Stuff , By Phone and Electronically

Athletic Network footnote:  Signed copies of Mel Didier’s Book "Padnuh, Let Me Tell You a Story" are now available in Lafayette at Louisiana Hot Stuff – 4409 Ambassador Caffery.  Mel will also return to Lafayette on Saturday, Feb. 16 for Baseball Fan Day to sign more books. Please find details below  to order Mel’s book by phone or electronically.

Photos of Mel at Louisiana Hot Stuff were provided by Tina Creel.  Her profile is in the Athletic Network.  Thanks Tina.

Mel Inside Louisiana Hot Stuff Jan.12,2008

David Faulk & Mel Didier Outside Louisiana Hot Stuff

Mel Didier Signing "Podnuh, Let Me Tell You A Story" at Louisiana Hot Stuff  

Story Below By Dan McDonald originally published in the Daily Advertiser on January 11, 2008. 

He’s 81 years old, and Mel Didier still has more energy than most folks one-third of his age.

He has to. At any moment, the phone’s going to ring, and he’s off to some far-flung point on the U.S. map, or maybe Venezuela or the Dominican Republic. The goal is to find baseball’s next phenom.

It’s been Didier’s goal since 1953, when he was offered a part-time scouting position by the Detroit Tigers while he was coaching at Catholic High in Baton Rouge. Searching out baseball talent has been his life, one spent in the service of seven different major league clubs – including an unprecedented three expansion franchises.

Now, 55 years later, baseball fans can experience those searches in "Podnuh, Let Me Tell You a Story," a newly-published book by Didier and award-winning Texas baseball writer T.R. Sullivan.

His first literary effort runs the gamut, from his upbringing in South Louisiana and his early days in athletics – which included a coaching stint at Opelousas High – all the way to his current role as senior adviser to Arizona operations and pro scouting for the Texas Rangers.

It talks about Didier’s time as a high school coach, an LSU football assistant under Charles McClendon, and his two-year stint as baseball coach and later as athletic director at UL. It also delves into Didier’s battle with prostate cancer, which he dealt with in 1992 and has remained blessedly cancer-free for going on two decades.

But make no mistake. This is a baseball book. The subtitle, "A Baseball Life," isn’t just a catch phrase. It’s something Didier has lived – and he has the stories to prove it.

The most famous – Didier tipping off Kirk Gibson on the pitch to expect prior to his dramatic walk-off home run in the 1988 World Series – is described in detail. Others aren’t as well known, but just as fascinating.

Who knew that Didier snuck into Cuba at the height of the Cold War, looking to bring some of the talented Cuban players back to the Montreal Expos, and then had strings pulled to get him aboard a Russian jet to get out of the country.

Future basketball legend Bob Pettit’s first organized-game coach? Mel Didier.

Didier sat in meetings with Bear Bryant, battled with Buck O’Neill for a young baseball prospect named Lou Brock, and watched while a passport-less Tommy Lasorda called the president of the Dominican Republic from the airport and suddenly didn’t need a passport to board a flight.

"He’s had a love affair with the game of baseball for as long as his family and closest friends can remember," said former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire in a foreword. "I don’t know of anyone who has been in more baseball parks throughout the world. And every time Mel enters a park you can hear the enthusiasm in his voice and you can see the joy in his eyes."

Like everybody else in baseball, Didier’s swung and missed a lot (Bombo Rivera), but he’s also taken his share of pitches deep (Andre Dawson). The latter is why he owns a World Series ring.

The hits and misses are part of the game, and a big part of "Podnuh." And it’s definitely fun to ride along.

Mel Didier, former UL Baseball Coach and Athletic Director, provided the Athletic Network with the following information on his book:  
The book can be ordered by telephone at l-866-405-1300   OR
BY email address  –    aero@aerocorporation.com

Cost of the book is $24.95 plus shipping & handling  No tax for out-of-state orders since Aerocorporation is our fulfillment house in Michigan.