Let's Goooooooooo Tulsa is an authoritative self-published chronological history of professional baseball in Tulsa, Oklahoma from 1905 to 1989.  The 537 page volume also details significant happenings of ownership and ballpark changes, exhibition games, and "notable notables" who frequented the Oil Capital.  The title pays homage to Oiler Park and the first inning battle cry of longtime fan Andy Andrews.  When he endeavored to write the book, Wayne had no money to speak of, but badly wanted to have a conspicuous and qualified record of the local minor league ball teams.  With a shoestring budget and collective help from several people, his book slowly took form.  He sheds light on the costly process of publishing a book and the sometimes comical profit margin: "My book cost me fifteen thousand dollars.  I made twenty-two thousand dollars off of it.  With all the hours, that works out to about thirty-five cents an hour.  But that's okay."  He says of his nearly five year project: "I wasn't looking to make money.  I was just looking to have a comprehensive history of Tulsa baseball....Where, you know, 'Oh!  This guy played for Tulsa? '  Boom!  You can look it up.  Now it's there." 

For a book that had the ability to sell thousands, it only made a limited edition run of one thousand copies.  Wayne answers the looming question, "Why wasn't the book ever reprinted?"  Quite pointedly his rational answer is, "The cost.  I would have had to print like 500-600 [more books].  I printed [the first run and] paid for it myself."  A second run just wasn't feasible.  It took four years for McCombs to get enough capital to go to press the first time.  Wayne sold ads to offset expenses.  He says, "It was one of the few times in my life I guessed right.  I got sponsors."  But advertising dollars weren't enough.  The revenue from the book only paid for current expenses: transcription, artwork, etc.  The hefty price to print the work was a tall commitment, but the deal was sealed on a handshake.  Wayne recounts the agreement: "[The owner of the print shop] gave me a price of what it was going to cost for a thousand books.  And I said, 'Okay...I will pay you.  I can't tell you when I'll pay you, but I will pay you.'...When I would get money, I took [it to him]....I never missed a week.  Sometimes I only paid him fifty dollars, but I paid him.  I paid him off in six months."  That is quite the heralded feat.  The print man later told McCombs, "Wayne, let me tell you something....You said you were gonna pay me something every week [and you did]....I've never had that happen before."  McCombs' book was very much a commonwealth Tulsa effort.  He says, "We didn't have a contract.  We just shook hands.  My artist was terrific.  She waited until I had money to pay her.  A lot of people were nice to promote the book."  To those involved, Wayne McCombs' subject matter aided by his charismatic demeanor and trustworthy character made the project worth the risk. 

The venture was successful. "Well, the books went nuts," Wayne remembers.  The late release in May 1990 proved to be a godsend: "The Lord was guiding me in this because people started buying it for Father's Day."  Bookstores continually ordered dozens of books at a time.  Wayne recalls the times when "Steve" Stephenson of Steve's Sundries called:  "Wayne.  Steve.  I need some more books.  Click."  Through the months of May and June, Wayne delivered books every other day.  Oftentimes fans called Wayne in search of his baseball canon: "People [I didn't even know] call[ed] my house.  I was selling out of [the] trunk of my car.  I got more calls saying, 'I got this for my Dad.  He doesn't need a tie; he does need cologne...'  They loved it!"  The labor paid off, but it was no easy project.  He quickly adds, "I tell you what; it was a lot of work....I wrote it on yellow pads, didn't have a computer.  Doing stats on yellow pads.  I'd have to copy them down.  I would go to the library and research through microfilm.  I knew where every nook and cranny was on the second floor [of Central Library]." 

The popularity of Let's Goooooooooo Tulsa stemmed from the conditions of the era.  Memorabilia was now big-time business and thriving.  Baby Boomers were reliving some of their childhood memories through a new form of collecting and passing it on to younger generations.  All sorts of retired baseball players went on autograph tours, many times stopping in Tulsa.  During the years of Wayne's thorough research, President Reagan was in the White House serving his second term and crazy about the national pastime. "Ronald Reagan was a [former sports] announcer and would talk about baseball," says McCombs. "You know, when the President of the United States keeps a glove in his desk...It's kind of [like], 'Wow.  That guy's got his priorities straight.'"  Wayne recalls the times Reagan invited many baseball immortals to visit the Oval Office on their way to Cooperstown, New York.  In a jovial manner, he says what many baseball fans find themselves daydreaming about: "I wish I was president.  I could order Hall of Famers to come by my house, too!"  The end of the Eighties was the perfect time for the blossoming historian to release such an opus.  He says, "I think people got back to loving baseball." 

Oklahoma Author