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David Nemec (born December 10, 1938) is an American baseball historian, novelist and playwright.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Nemec spent most of his adolescence in Bay Village, Ohio. In his senior year of high school he was named the first winner of the prestigious Ed Bang scholarship, created to honor the "Dean of American Sports Writers." Nemec subsequently played outfield and first base for Ohio State University while earning a BA in English (graduating in 1960). After serving in the army, he taught and coached in Cleveland public schools while working on a novel about the Sam Sheppard murder case, which occurred in his hometown of Bay Village. Sheppard had been Nemec’s family physician prior to his 1954 conviction for his wife’s slaying, which was later overturned.
Nemec moved to New York City with his first wife, the visual artist Vernita Nemec (aka Vernita N’Cognita) in 1965. In 1967 he won a Transatlantic Review award for his first published story, "On the Produce Dock".
Throughout the 1970s Nemec worked as a parole officer in the Youthful Offender Bureau with the New York State Division of Parole while he continued to publish stories, two of which gained citations in The Best American Short Stories. The parole experience later provided the backdrop for Nemec’s second novel, Mad Blood, based loosely on the 1963 Wylie-Hoffert murder case.
In August 1973, Nemec was awarded the first of several residencies he was to spend at Yaddo, the artists’ and writers’ colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. Following his second Yaddo stay in 1975, Nemec drew on his vast knowledge of baseball history to create The Absolutely Most Challenging Baseball Quiz Book, Ever (Macmillan, 1977), it launched a series of popular Nemec baseball quiz books.
Toward the end of the 1970s, Nemec returned to fiction, publishing his first novel, Bright Lights, Dark Rooms. He has since published seven more novels.
1980s to Present
During the 1990s, Nemec expanded on the research he had done for his historical baseball novel, Early Dreams, to become a scholar on baseball’s infancy as a professional sport. Since 1987, Nemec has authored or co-authored over 20 books on baseball, many focusing on the game’s embryonic years. In 1994, Lyons & Burford published The Rules of Baseball, Nemec’s anecdotal look at the evolution of the rules of the game. The following year the same publisher brought out his The Beer and Whisky League, a history of the American Association during its ten-year existence (1882–1891) as a rebel major league. In 1997, Donald I. Fine Books published Nemec’s The Great Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Major League Baseball. The book was updated and expanded and reissued in 2006 by the University of Alabama.
Nemec has received The Sporting News Research Award, the McFarland Baseball Research Award, playwriting grants from The Impossible Ragtime Theater and the Huntington Playhouse, fellowships in creative writing and numerous residency fellowships at the Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Edward Albee Foundation. He has taught writing at the College of Marin, St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery and prisons in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nemec is a member of SABR, [the Society for American Baseball Research] and a recipient of a lifetime Henry Chadwick Award, which was established in 2009 to honor baseball's greatest researchers. Among his most recent baseball books are, Major League Baseball Profiles: 1871-1900, vols. 1 & 2; "The Rank and File of 19th Century Major League Baseball, a trilogy of biographies of every 19th century player, major owner, manager, league official and regular umpire; and "Forfeits and Successfully Protested Major League Games: A Complete Record 1871-2013".
Other works of his have been anthologized in Survival Prose," Twilight Zone, Crimes of 20th Century, Baseball and the Game of Life, Nine, Spitball Magazine, A History of Baseball in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Four Dynasties of the New York Yankees, Base Ball, Working Artist, and Contemporary Authors.
- The Absolutely Most Challenging Baseball Quiz Book, Ever (1977)
- The Even More Challenging Baseball Quiz Book (1978)
- The Ultimate Baseball Book (1979)
- Bright Lights, Dark Rooms (1980)
- Mad Blood (1983)
- The Systems of M.R. Shurnas (1985)
- Great Baseball Feats, Facts & Firsts (1987 and updated annually until 2012)
- The Most Extraordinary Baseball Quiz Book Ever (1990)
- The Baseball Challenge Quiz Book (1991)
- 20th Century Baseball Chronicles (1991)
- The Great American Baseball Team Book (1992)
- Players of Cooperstown (1992)
- 1001 Fascinating Baseball Facts (1993)
- The Rules of Baseball (1994)
- The Beer and Whisky League (1995)
- Baseball More than 150 Years (1996)
- The Great Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Major League Baseball (1997)
- Stonesifer (1999)
- 100 Years of Major League Baseball (1999)
- The Great Book of Baseball Knowledge (1999)
- Remember Me to My Father (2001)
- The Encyclopedia of Major League Rookies (2004)
- Early Dreams (2004)
- The Great American Baseball Box (The History of Baseball on CD) (2005)
- The Ultimate Chicago Cubs Baseball Quiz Book (2006)
- The Ultimate New York Yankees Baseball Quiz Book (2006)
- The Ultimate St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Quiz Book (2007)
- The Ultimate Boston Red Sox Baseball Quiz Book (2007)
- This Day in Baseball History (2009)
- Major League Baseball Profiles: 1871-1900 (2011)
- Who’s Killing the Daughters of Pan? (2012)
- The Rank and File of 19th Century Major League Baseball (2012)
- Murder on My Brain (2013)
- The Picture Maker (2013)
- Forfeits and Successfully Protested Games in Major League Baseball (with Eric Miklich) (2014)
- Chapin, Dwight (1 June 1997), "Nemec has baseball in his blood: City novelist continues to produce books on national pastime", San Francisco Chrinicle (SF Gate), retrieved 12 December 2010