"My job was simply to make certain that Mr. Doby was given the right ring for the right guy," laughed the former vice president of marketing and broadcasting. "While we were standing there awaiting our cue, I asked Mr. Doby about his 1948 ring. He told me it had been stolen years ago. But he barely shrugged when he said it. It was as if he was also saying to me, 'There are more important things in life,'" said Bonacci (who was Val Arcuri during her 20 years in the game).
Knowing Doby was due back in July for a 50th Anniversary celebration of the '48 Team, the Indians worked with their ring company to track down the pattern from that year to produce a new one for Mr. Doby. "He was very gracious when we presented it to him," said Bonacci, "but again, it seemed to me as though we were placing a lot more importance on our new rings than he was on his. I thought that perhaps a man who had endured so much of the worst of society as the first of his race to play in the AL, just 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson had done the same in the National League, had developed different priorities. His behavior stimulated my social conscience. I wondered if I had my own priorities in the right order."
That's why her book, FATIMA AND THE SONS OF ABRAHAM, is ripped from today's headlines: Paolo Giobatti is the first Major League Baseball star from the Italian League. He's nursing an ailing back along the shores of the Mediterranean when, thanks to modern technology, both he and his archrival Eli Kohn, half the world away in Cleveland, witness a stunning moment at the hands of Darius Salamah, a Syrian refugee struggling for survival. In the time it takes for a dove to flap its wings, each of their lives becomes irrevocably entwined forever. Thus begins the journey of three young men: a Catholic, a Muslim, and a Jew from Italy's southernmost beaches and America's baseball diamonds, to the beating heart of Jerusalem. A culture clash ensues and the three do battle until the fearless heart of a woman named Fatima reshapes their individual destinies in a way none had thought possible.
Bonacci references Doby in her novel on more than one occasion for good reason. "From the Bible to various literary classics, we relish these tales, but haven't quite learned enough from them yet," she said. "I couldn't help but look at what Mr. Doby suffered exactly 70 years ago through a new prism."
"As a guy who generally reads non-fiction, I was surprised by Val's work. She has something here that I'm certain people are going to be talking about," said Paul Dolan, Owner/CEO of the Cleveland Indians. "It's not a baseball story per se, but a character-driven tale that takes place in a baseball world. It's a quick and easy read, and one that gives pause from a spiritual perspective too. We're especially pleased that Val has decided to use 100% of the proceeds from the sales of her book through the ballclub to support Cleveland Indians Charities."
Although available online via Amazon and other booksellers, pick up your copy at the Indians Team Shop at Progressive Field beginning April 11th and help support Cleveland's kids .
For more information on the book and the author visit valbonacci.com.