Click here first…

J.G. Preston was born in Ohio, started school in Tennessee and then lived in Kentucky before spending his adolescence on Long Island.  He went to college in Minnesota and lived there for the better part of 30 years before moving to California in 2005. He now lives in Benicia, in the San Francisco Bay area.

He has had driver’s licenses, under three different names, in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania (where he never actually lived), Idaho, Minnesota and California.

J.G. is not on his birth certificate, but it is on his Social Security card, and no, he won’t tell you what it stands for. (But if you guess correctly he will acknowledge it. Only nobody has ever guessed correctly.) And he has more names than just the J and the G.

He worked for the Strat-o-Matic Game Company during the summers while he was in high school (if that doesn’t mean anything to you, well, it probably won’t do any good to try explaining) and started his first on-air radio job right after graduating from high school at age 17.  Some snapshots of his work experience since then:

  • driving a delivery van for a chain of small-town general stores in southeastern Ohio and for an imported auto parts store in Princeton, New Jersey
  • putting together the Police Log for the Northfield (Minn.) News
  • hosting the monthly “K-Ida-Hoedown” bluegrass show (before he knew anything about bluegrass) on KIDO Radio in Boise
  • anchoring the first newscast of the Minnesota News Network (still on the air today) in 1983
  • covering the 1987 World Series
  • editing the Minnesota Twins’ program
  • radio play-by-play of college and high school football and basketball (including two seasons of University of Minnesota football for a 40-station regional network)
  • writing a weekly column for the Daily Racing Form under the nom de plume Chaucer (the Racing Form assigned the name, reminding J.G. of the upper level Chaucer class he took as a college English major)
  • working in the press box relaying stats to the truck for CBS at the 1992 Super Bowl (getting $75 and a seat cushion)
  • working as a host for radio broadcasts of the Minnesota North Stars (NHL) and Minnesota Lynx (WNBA)
  • lying on a bed of nails while having a cement block on his chest smashed with a sledgehammer on live TV (it actually felt kind of good)
  • appearing on two Twin Cities Public Television programs that won regional Emmy awards
  • writing the script for a video biography of Kirby Puckett narrated by Bob Costas
  • covering the California state capitol in Sacramento
  • interviewing countless celebrities and newsmakers (well, not “countless,” you could count them, he just didn’t) on live radio or TV

His motto:  “I Can Talk To Anybody About Anything And Make It Interesting.”

He will now stop writing about himself in the third person (listen, I include a lot of this stuff just in case anyone stumbles into this and is thinking about offering me a job) and look for more things to blog about.

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27 thoughts on “Click here first…

  1. Cliff Ferguson

    Mr. Preston,

    I played in an SOM play by mail league you ran for a short time in 1973.
    I believe the brother of a member of the band Gunhill Road was in the league.Im glad you have done well for yourself.

    Do you still play SOM?

    Reply
    1. prestonjg Post author

      Hi Cliff…yes indeed, Gary Leopold was in that league…his brother Glenn was the lead singer and primary songwriter for Gunhill Road. I wish that album were available on CD, I liked it. Did you know it was produced by Kenny Rogers? I haven’t kept up with Gary but I gather he’s done a lot better than I have. I went a long time not doing any gaming at all when our kids were growing up, but since they’ve left home I’ve gotten back into the hobby some. These days I’m playing Replay, which was another game I played in my youth, I knew one of the guys who created it. I hope all is well with you!

      Reply
  2. Cliff Ferguson

    What was the name of that play by mail leaque? I was 13 at the time. I remember you sent out the league news on mimeograph paper. I believe that league eventually disbanded.Try the Sporting News SOM. Its addictive.Is there a way of hearing your radio broadcast(s) on line?

    Best regards,
    Cliff

    Reply
    1. prestonjg Post author

      It was the Metropolitan Baseball Association. My dad had found an old mimeograph machine for me that was great fun for me to use! I’m not on the air these days and I don’t think any of my on-air work is out there online, but these days you never know!

      Reply
  3. Cliff Ferguson

    Wolfman from Skokie? Couple that ran the SOM review? The review article about the guy who had a perfect game ruined with 2 outs and picked up the dice again. All these Strato bits and pieces lodged in my mind.

    Reply
  4. Ed Baxter

    Just happened to be looking at Baseball Reference.com a few minutes ago for some numbers on Dave Roberts ( for APBA league team) when I noticed the name on the home page under “In Memoriam.” I immediately clicked to find out what happened and discovered that it wasn’t the Dave Roberts I was looking up. But then I noticed that the page was sponsored by “J. G. Preston.” As an old fan of yours from several of your Twin Cities incarnations–especially Almanac–and knowing you were a fan (to say the least), I had to check to see if that was indeed you. Yeah, I know you’re the one and only real J. G. Preston, but still . . .. You admit here to having been born in Ohio and now I’ll wager it was Gallipolis. Sorry if you’ve lost a favorite ball player. I lost Elmer Valo some years back, and it hurts.

    Anyway, may I thank you for the fine broadcasting you did here. Xmas has been a bit bluer since you left.

    Reply
    1. prestonjg Post author

      Thanks for your nice words, Ed. My parents both grew up in Gallipolis and I was born there; my mother’s younger brother played youth ball with and against Dave before Dave’s family moved to Columbus. Dave was always my favorite player because of that and I’m just sorry I never got to tell him and visit with him for a while. Were you looking for the contemporary Dave Roberts? Then of course there were Dave Roberts The Minor League Slugger (who actually had a very interesting life) and Dave Roberts The Infielder.

      Reply
  5. Dorothy Jane Mills (baseball name Dorothy Seymour Mills)

    I read your WordPress piece on Eleanor Engle. You did a very nice job on this. Tim Wiles of the Hall of Fame sent me a copy. It’s a shame Engle refuses to talk about her experience. Tim also sent me a copy of the 1992 letter by a representative of the Minors in which he states there are no rules prohibiting women from playing. Of course, Trautman’s letter in 1952 was not exactly a rule; it was a threat.

    Reply
    1. Jim Flint

      Brad, J.G. and I have been internet pals for some time. Baseball, broadcasting and oh yea our birthdays are quite close together is the common thread. It was quite a while before I became aware that what J.G. stood for was a secret never to be revealed. I thought that it was a pretty cool idea. and I hoped I would never become privy to the mystery. Well, anyway, I did happen to come across a post somewhere..by ..someone who no doubt(at least in my mind) also knew what J.G. stood for and there it was revealed. Well I hoped it was a ruse or an inside joke, but I’m pretty sure it was real. Though it is my nature to read things, or hear song lyrics or stats or stuff along those lines and I have it forever…….. but you could offer me a million dollars and for the life of me I couldn’t remember what J.G. stands for. I’m pretty good with that.

      Reply
  6. Brook Zelcer

    Dear Mr. Preston:

    Just wanted you to know I found your “One and Done” to be really interesting.

    Thanks for an outstanding read!

    Sincerely,

    Brook Zelcer

    Reply
  7. Bill Nowlin

    I started writing up Vick’s biography for BioProject about 15 minutes ago, and decided to start on the “pinch hit for Babe Ruth” angle. Doing a web search using those words, I immediately found your post and thought how cool it was that you’d solved the problem for me. But I decided to look up to see if there had ever been a three-RBI game for Vick in 1920. There was. One. May 18. I looked up the newspaper accounts of the game, and there was the story – Vick WAS substituting (not pinch hitting) for Ruth, and the newspaper accounts reported it as such. He hit a double, not a triple.

    Reply
  8. Bill Nowlin

    I think it had to be. His handwritten letter to Smelser is in the HoF file, and he failed to name the team, the pitcher, or almost any other detail. He provided detail that made it sound like Huggins called on him to pinch hit, but Ruth was out of the game under doctor’s orders (perhaps a last-minute situation and so it FELT like pinch hitting.) Vick said he hit a triple, but the Times and other papers say it was a double.

    Reply
    1. prestonjg Post author

      You do the awesome on a routine basis, Bill, but I will be awestruck if you can trace the first published reference to Vick pinch-hitting for Ruth. Somehow this story had to be accessible for his obituaries, and I haven’t found what that source would be.

      Reply
    1. prestonjg Post author

      I’d be happy to find any published reference to Vick pinch-hitting for Ruth prior to Vick’s obituaries. I’d love to know how this story got into circulation.

      Reply
  9. Miles Rost

    Good day, J.G.,
    I remember your name, and I think I know a little more information about things, but I need to make sure.
    Did you ever happen to work in St. Cloud, Minnesota? Cause if you did, I think I remember your voice and always wondered what happened to you. Now that I see you’re in California, that’s quite awesome.

    -Miles (Former Minnesotan and Oregonian, now in Korea)

    Reply
    1. prestonjg Post author

      That’s me, Miles! I was in St. Cloud from 1993 until we came to California in 2005. I hope all is well with you!

      Reply
  10. Alan Karmin

    This was a great piece of work. I actually stumbled on it because I had Googled “Randy Tate.” I am an avid Mets fan and, sometimes when I have extra time on my hands, I look up names of obscure Mets who most people never heard of. I was a kid and I remember the game in which he had a no-hitter going for seven innings. He was no-hitting the Expos but was also walking the ballpark. He threw hard…almost Nolan Ryan hard…but unlike Ryan, could never harness it and maintain control.

    The fact that you started the research because of your discovery about Sparky Anderson is one of the great things about baseball. You just never know what you can find out, what stories you can uncover…especially in the world before Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    I loved reading what you wrote. Thanks for the effort.

    Alan Karmin

    Reply
    1. prestonjg Post author

      Thanks very much Alan…and I believe you’re the first person who’s ever come to my blog after Googling Randy Tate. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Robert cleary

    I was flipping through a scrap book at my 88 year old dad’s house and came across a newspaper clipping of the first baseball game we went to. It was Yankee Stadium vs the White Sox. I thought it was 1972 but the newspaper says 1973. It was batday. My memory has it that Wilbur Wood pitched both ends of the doubleheader. The box score says Wood did not pitch.
    So I searched under Wilbur doubleheader and found your terrific article! It looks like Wood pitched both games later that month. Maybe my memory fused the two. We only went to a handful of games together over the years. Plus I became a Met fan instead. Thanks.

    Reply

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