Jimmy Bloodworth's boys debut as authors

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Their legendary major league ballplayer father was a master storyteller, and now Jimmy Bloodworth’s two sons are following in his base path by putting their own stories down on paper.

River Rats and Salty Dogs, a debut novel by Apalachicola’s Leon Bloodworth, and “We Who Remain” by Orlando's Darryl Bloodworth, a legal thriller, both appeared this past year, continuing a family tradition first established by their famous father, who had a lifetime of adventures and a knack for spinning a tale.

Jimmy Bloodworth, who played with the Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and the Philadelphia Phillies, spent 11 years in the big leagues, but after every season he returned home to Apalachicola.

Darryl, known locally as Milan, and Leon Bloodworth followed in their father’s footsteps, playing both football and baseball in high school. Milan went to the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he also played football and baseball, and Leon to the University of Florida, where he played baseball.

Milan recently retired after 49 years of practice in Orlando, during which he ranked in the top 100 lawyers in Florida for 20 years. Leon just retired after more than 40 years of working in the insurance and real estate business.

Last year Leon called Milan to tell him he had written a book, and to his surprise, Milan said he was working on one as well.

“River Rats and Salty Dogs,” is a coming-of-age book about Matt Drugar, a boy growing up in Apalachicola in the late 1950s. Set against the rich background of the Apalachicola River basin, Leon unfolds a tale full of mysteries about a young man finding his way in the world, learning to navigate the river swamps, while learning lessons of family, spiritual growth, responsibility and love. 

“My dad made nets for a lot of people, he was the master,” said Leon. “He could really sling the net.”

He is now at work on his second novel, which chronicles the fight to save the Apalachicola Bay. Future projects include a cookbook that features foods and recipes the author and his family have loved and honed through their years of living on the Gulf Coast. 

Milan’s book, “We Who Remain” is a legal thriller that explores the dilemma of a family grappling with a serious illness and limited treatment options. The novel takes unexpected twists and turns, as it examines the themes of grief and loss and how a family loves one another through their darkest days.

“River Rats and Salty Dogs” reveals its plot mostly around campfires, while “We Who Remain” often uses the conference room of a legal office. Both brothers have written of worlds they know intimately, with plots that share the values of familial love, trust, and the bonds that tie us all together. Both books evoke a strong sense of place, along with a love for their native Florida.

With similar beginnings and different paths as adults, the Bloodworths have come full circle as they hit their retirement, each putting down the words to create stories they are compelled to share.

Both books are available at Downtown Books & Purl, 67 Commerce St., Apalachicola. For more info call them at 850-653-1290.

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