Wed January 22, 2014
WestSouthwest: Remembering a baseball "odyssey"
In 2008, writer Jeff Karzen's book about the Homer High School baseball team was published.
Homer: the Small Town Baseball Odyssey chronicled an amazing three years of baseball. Homer won state championships in 2004 and '06. They also set a national record for most consecutive wins by a high school baseball team. Karzen, who was a Battle Creek Enquirer sports writer at the time, also wrote about off the field controversy about whether head coach Scott Salow could hold that position after moving from teacher to principal.
Now a second edition of Homer: The Small Town Baseball Odyssey has been published. Jeff Karzen, who now lives and works in Chicago, spoke with WMUK's Gordon Evans.
Karzen says the baseball team put the town of 1,800 on the map when it set the national record for a winning streak. In the second edition of the book, Karzen says there's a new final chapter that updates readers about the main characters. Josh Collmenter, Homer High School's pitching ace, now pitches for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Karzen says Collmenter did not draw much attention from colleges until his senior season. But Homer's success helped him get a scholarship from Central Michigan University. Collmenter has pitched three years in the majors.
Homer's 75 game winning streak set a national record, but it has since been broken. Karzen says a 75-game winning streak is incredible, and he is surprised that Homer's record did not stand longer than six years. But Karzen says the record has changed hands often. In fact a team from New Mexico only held it for two months before they were surpassed by Homer in 2005.
Karzen says Homer still has a strong high school program, but it not as dominant as it was in the mid-2000s. He says it still seems like kids in the town dream of "putting on that orange jersey and being a Homer baseball player."