Saturday, May 06, 2006

Pride & Poise - Author Interview

Jim McCullough has given a gift to the Raider Nation—a new book that takes “a definitive look into the formation and turbulent early history of the Oakland Raiders.” More than any book published to date, Pride & Poise: The Oakland Raiders of The American Football League details the formative years of what would become the most dominant and colorful franchise in football.

So who is Jim McCullough? He is a Raider Nation fixture known as “Krunch” on gameday. Pride & Poise is his first book, and it was truly a labor of love, one that took several years of his time, all on his own dime. He self-published the book, and it is now available for purchase online. (I have not read it yet, but will soon).

Raider Take was inspired to ask Jim about the motivations behind the book, and the process of researching and writing it. Following is our Q&A via email:

Why did you write Pride & Poise: The Oakland Raiders of The American Football League?


Quite simply because I wanted to read it and it didn't exist. I spent many hours on the internet trying to find a book on the Raiders that was complete, accurate and fair and was disappointed by what I was able to find. There are a couple of really good books on the Raiders out there, but to me they all miss the point one way or the other. We've all heard the stories about how these players would drink and play air hockey or golf. I won't tell a writer what to write, that's on them. But the fact of the matter is, none of the topics I just mentioned are why I'm in skulls, spikes and face paint on Sundays. I do that because the Raiders I grew up watching would line up and smack their opponents in the mouth on every play. And with coach Shell back, I'm expecting the current brood to continue this tradition of domination.

What’s different about your book compared to other books on the Raiders?

I just touched on it a little by sticking with real Raiders football. As far as I know, this is the deepest anyone has gone on the formation of the franchise. Also, this is the only week in week out chronicle of the Raiders early years. Or of the Raiders period! I go into detail of every game, win, lose or tie to give those die hard Raiders fans an opportunity to see what went on back then and what made the team great and what separates Raiders from mere football players. Also I think the readers will be quite surprised by some of the deals that were made to get some amazing athletes into Silver and Black uniforms.

How long did it take to write, and what did it entail?

Three years to research and write, one year of editing. The research part of it required no less than 30 trips to the Oakland Library from Stockton just to gather the information. I brought home 5,500 pages worth and each page cost me 15 cents! Also there were pictures for which I had to fork out $25-150 apiece.

Who or what were your sources?

Primarily microfilm of the Oakland Tribune, from 1/4/1960 when the first article was published on the Raiders, a real short one, maybe 100 words, through 1/12/70 when the AFL merged the the NFL with the Chiefs beating the Vikings in Super Bowl IV. I read nearly every article published on them through that period! No less than 99% of them published, I may have missed one or two here and there but I got my facts and figures correct. In fact, I'll take the Raiders press guide to task because I won't just give you a score, but a recap. Also it allowed me to get quotes from players, coaches and executives, some of which have passed on. It was as close as I could come to hopping in the way-back machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman and living it for myself.

Click on “Comments” below to read the remainder of Raider Take’s Q&A with Jim McCullough. Click here to purchase Pride & Poise: The Oakland Raiders of The American Football League.

2 Comments:

Blogger Raider Take said...

Q&A continued...

WERE YOU IN CONTACT WITH THE OAKLAND RAIDERS ORGANIZATION WHILE WRITING THE BOOK?

A little, but nothing came of it

DID FAMILY OR FRIENDS THINK YOU WERE CRAZY FOR EMBARKING ON SUCH A BIG UNDERTAKING?

No, they were very supportive. If it weren't for BlitzChick giving me the nudge I probably wouldn't have done this.

WHAT WAS FUN ABOUT WRITING THE BOOK? WHAT WAS DIFFICULT?

The fun was the research, gathering the info and learning about what went on. Most difficult was actually writing the damn thing.

IN DOING YOUR RESEARCH, DID YOU DISCOVER ANYTHING THAT SURPRISED YOU ABOUT THE TEAM OR ITS ORIGINS?

About its origins no, about the team itself well...your just going to have to read it!

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR KRUNCH PERSONA…

I don't know if Krunch is a persona. I think of Krunch as Jim McCullough out having fun! It really amazes me how people react to it though. I remember the first time I dressed up, I get out of my truck at The Coliseum and went to the porta-potty before setting up my tailgate and by the time I got there a dozen people were pulling out their camera's and snapping away! All I had was the latex spikes, face paint and a Janikowski jersey. So I started out wearing #11 for a game. I had such a blast! After getting a Lester Hayes jersey for Christmas that year I became #37 and couldn't be happier.

WHY DO YOU THINK YOU AND OTHER RAIDERS FANS ARE SO PASSIONATE ABOUT THE TEAM?

I can't speak for others but for me I was always drawn to them. I remember as a kid when my parents would drive by The Coliseum how I would look to see if I could see any of them, wanting to catch a glimpse of a player and because of the way they played. If they weren't dominating, they were coming up with news ways to steal a win. Who else would think to roll a ball forward on the final play of the game to beat San Diego on the road?

End of Q&A...Thank you Jim!

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Stick'Em said...

Here is a review of Krunch's new book.

Old school AFL Raiders - 'nuff said!

7:54 AM  

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