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Book Review: Heading For Home

Posted on January 17, 2010 at 9:12 PM
Filed Under: General Baseball
A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from a man named Kent Stock.  He asked if he could send along his book about a historic high school baseball season and the movie it inspired.  Now, one of the major benefits of this blog thing is getting free baseball books.  I love reading them, so I quickly responded with my address.

What I received was Heading For Home: My Journey from Little League to Hollywood.  The movie in question was called The Final Season and it starred Sean Astin.  While I vaguely recalled hearing that title, I thought, I was a little surprised it wasn't clearer in my head, something that was clarified as I read the book.

The main situation that this autobiography is based around is the 1991 Norway (Iowa) high school baseball team.  As happens sometimes in states, Norway was a small town but it kept churning out state titles in its classification and would play up in class during the season with great success as well.  However, with cutbacks going on all over the country, Norway was forced to consolidate with a nearby school. The legendary coach of the team quit over the whole thing, leaving assistant coach Stock, who had never coached baseball at that level, to be the "lame duck" for the last season.

Stock, the kids, everyone involved wanted to go out with Norway's 20th state title, and even though the talent level wasn't as high as it had been in past years, they kept pushing on until they reached the title game.  After taking a lead, they found themselves in the top of the seventh, their final inning, down a run with two outs and no one on base.

Now, being that there likely wouldn't have been a book about the season, much less a movie, if Norway didn't win the game, there's not a lot of suspense there now.  However, it was a remarkable thing and a wonderful way for a place like that to finish up.

Stock also writes about his background, how he grew up and his love of baseball, especially the Cardinals (one of the reasons he selected this blog to communicate with!).  He then gets into his post-Norway life, including the eventual development of the movie.  It was a home-grown effort, not a "major motion picture", so the advertising and other related monies just weren't there, but it's out on DVD now and, after reading this book, I'm thinking about renting it  to see the story unfold.  It was pretty good on paper!


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3 Comments

3 Comments | Leave a comment

Cant remember how, why or when - but I've seen that movie. It was a great story, and Astin and Powers Boothe (the legendary coach) were both pretty good in it. School's team colors are red, and I believe I recall Astin wearing a Cardinals cap around in the film...

I'll have to grab the book. Thanks for the heads up Daniel!

Stock noted in the e-mail to me that Astin did wear a Cardinals cap in the film, as a tribute to him. He also closes the book by recounting being at Game 5 in '06, which is cool.

Cardinal70 thanks for the great review of my book. @Pitchers Hit Eighth, Powers Boothe did an awesome job of portraying Norway Legendary Coach Jim Van Scoyoc. Both Boothe and Astin did a great job and most importantly they are both great guys in real life also. If you would like to buy the book, you can get it at www.kentstock.com or www.amazon.com.

Thanks again and GO CARDINALS!!!!!

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