The new ‘Homer’ epic

The new ‘Homer’ epic

By Tony Paul
Detroit News

Remember the Homer High baseball team, that talented batch of ballplayers from southwest Michigan that once won a national-record 75 consecutive games?

Well, now the program really has gone big-time, thanks to this week’s release of “Homer: The Small-Town Baseball Odyssey,” a 224-page book chronicling the days before, during and after the historic run of victories.

“The entire community found their identity through a group of baseball players,” said the book’s author, Jeff Karzen, a sportswriter in Battle Creek. “And they loved every minute of it.”

For those who didn’t follow this story as it unfolded, it truly was a remarkable tale.

Over a two-year span, from Opening Day 2004 to the 2005 state title game, Homer boasted 41 shutouts, an average of 11.9 runs per game, team batting averages of .393 (2004) and .404 (2005), two perfect games in one season (’05, and by the same pitcher, no less) and a mind-boggling 84 references in the MHSAA record books.

And there even was some rallying to be done off the field, too, which makes this story even more riveting.

After winning the ’04 state title, there was a very public grievance filed by one booster aiming to remove the team’s coach.

So, the book is more than just wins and loss. It’s a story of perseverance, glory and, in one lonely instance, heartbreak.

Fascinating stuff by a top-notch scribe.

I can’t wait to get my copy.