RENAISSANCE — Baseball is America's pastime and for Renaissance resident Bryan Steverson it's more than that.
The 77-year-old lives and breathes baseball, he's all smiles as he chats about players, stories and just about anything baseball.
"I've been a baseball fan my entire life," Steverson said.
A Cincinnati Reds fan, turned Tampa Bay Rays fan, for him it's all about the game. Though he admits he wasn't great playing, he still loves the game. Steverson is also a lifelong fan of the voice of the Reds, Marty Brennanam, who was recently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame — Both he and Brennanam grew up together in Virginia.
Steverson has written three books on the subject, he is a historian who is part of the Society for American Baseball Research as well as the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Steverson says that he's never stopped compiling stories, but it was about 14 years ago he decided to publish his stories. Steverson's stories are an add-on to the lore and stories many already know about players, but also of an example of who these men were — prior to writing about baseball full time, Steverson was an engineer.
He said it was at the urging of his family that he started writing books and really recording his stories.
The Renaissance resident so far has written three books. Two of the books are based on faith, while one is a look at Negro League Baseball players.
Steverson also has found that baseball can be applied to faith as well, so he's combined that in his writing.
His first book "Amazing Baseball Heroes: Inspirational Negro League Stories," is a look at the individual stories of the players.
"I had been capturing stories on the Negro Leagues," Steverson said.
He met with former Negro League players and continued to record their stories for his book, and he's made friends along the way.
"This continued the stories we didn't have," Steverson said.
Steverson has been awarded the Norman "Tweed" Webb Award for Lifetime Achievement for his research in the Negro Leagues.
His latest book "Baseball's Brotherhood Team," was published in 2018. Steverson says that the book can serve as a good lesson for today, as a way to help people deal with the current racial tensions and a way to teach people that you can overcome.
"Baseball has made a difference for men of color, women and it can be applied to life," Steverson said.
Steverson loves that with baseball from the manager to the players there is equality and everyone gets a chance to play, there is also no other game where you get three chances to score.
One of his favorite things is to talk about baseball, he has traveled across the U.S. giving talks on the subject.
Steverson has continued to blend his faith and the books as well.
Though religion appears in baseball, Hank Aaron had scriptures above his bed, the Rev. William Greason who played Negro League baseball left after a promise he made to God while fighting on Iwo Jima became a pastor.
All these instances where religion and baseball intersect, led him to writing about it in his books.
"(There are) 400 bible verses in the other book," Steverson said.
Steverson is referring to "Baseball: A Special Gift from God," which he put scriptures into each chapter.
He speaks on the subject as well when he shares about the books.
As for his own next chapter? Steverson says that he plans to continue to contribute to writings and edits, though he is says he is working on a book about Jackie Robinson.
"(I have a) 3,800 word document just on baseball," Steverson said.
His family has been urging him to do another book, but at this point he'd like to just enjoy baseball and his retirement.
Steverson is looking forward to enjoying games at CoolToday Park as well and sharing stories with other fans.
"Aren't we all supposed to share?," Steverson asked.
It's this idea that has continued to push him forward to share these stories of these men, and just his own love of baseball.
To pick up Steverson's books visit www.amazon.com and search Bryan Steverson.