Kevin Kirkland, an editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, met Elijah Miller in 2006 when he was 99 years old and had appeared briefly in a documentary about the Negro Leagues at the Heinz History Center. An interview with Lucky at West Field in Munhall, where he had once played ball and carried bats for the Homestead Grays, convinced Kevin that he was more than just an article. It was the first of a series of interviews that became the children’s book “Lucky Bats.”
John Butler, a photographer and photo technician at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, became involved in 2008 when Kevin asked him to combine a photo of a boy from an old postcard that he found on the internet with a 1906 picture of young baseball players in Skunk Hollow, a Pittsburgh slum near Forbes Field. It became the first page of the book.