March 21, 2019

Honig Gives Boost to All

February 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Sit down to watch “A Hall for Heroes,” “Baseball’s Golden Age,” “When It was a Game” or any number of other baseball programs. No doubt you will hear plenty from Donald Honig. Maybe you have delighted in one of 12 baseball books he has authored. This week, allow the man with plenty of baseball yarns to weave his own tapestry in “The Fifth Season: Tales from My Life in Baseball.”

Read this book because:

1. Each of us can recall watching certain “stars” in our childhood who we swore carried the destiny of big-league standards. Only, it didn’t work out that way.

 I thought for sure that Lyle Mouton would be the next Harold Baines. Cheered my lungs out for him in the way that leaves you with laryngitis – That’s the test for a Hall of Fame candidate: Does he leave you with laryngitis?- Make no mistake, Mouton’s seven-big league seasons were the real deal. I can barely contemplate hitting the ball out of the infield on a slow pitch. That aside, Mouton was not Baines.

Growing up, Honig targeted Pete Reiser. (Reiser’s three All-Star appearances and Hall of Fame support demonstrate more precocious foresight on Honig’s part than my youthful indiscretion.) Both Honig and his brother Stanley projected the Dodgers outfielder as a peer of Williams and DiMaggio. Reiser believed “a ball in the air is supposed to be caught.” (47, Fifth) Reiser might not have been far off from the two baseball greats - Leo Durocher put Reiser in the same class as Mays – ” but a 1942 concussion set him back forever. Years later, Honig met Reiser. “You could have been our Musial,” said a momentarily saddened Honig. (204)

2. If Donald Honig grappled with an uncertain job market 60 years ago, there is hope for all us today.

The door gradually shut. After giving it his best go as a pitcher in the low ranks with the Red Sox, it was over. The pen proved mightier than the glove. But it took some breaking in. Honig’s “spring training” with the writing profession “had no cut-down day despite a horrendous won-lost record… You could stay as long as you wanted. A rejection slip fell out of an envelope; it didn’t blast off and travel 400 feet.” (119

3. To the reader go the spoils of Honig’s success.

Honig overcame. He shares his tales of Ted Williams, Bob Feller, Leo Durocher and more baseball greats in this memoir that commands respect like the narrator that frequently announces his presence in TV specials.

Sam Miller is a graduate of the University of Illinois where he worked with various teams in sports information and received the Freedom Forum – NCAA Sports Journalism Scholarship for his achievements.  During the 2009 season, Miller served as communications intern for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate. Prior to that, he worked as a communications intern for USA Basketball and as an associate reporter for MLB.com.

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