Henry Wiggen Books – Mark Harris

“Some of you already know how much I love the Henry Wiggen books and have experienced my constant exhortations to read them. Mark Harris has written the best series of baseball fiction that I’ve ever encountered, and since I know many people who appreciate both baseball and fiction, I find it hard to believe that these books are not more appreciated among this particular subset of humans. They are truly the Dynamo or Show of Force of the sports fiction realm, except the material is more widely available. Sixty years after their publication, the storylines hold up well and the overall themes are still relevant. And all four novels are still in print via the University of Nebraska’s Bison Books. In order to introduce more readers to the delights of Mount Vernon’s own Mark Harris, I had been thinking of doing a Henry Wiggen-specific blog, rather than a food blog, a book blog, or a combination of the two. Rest assured there will be much more Wiggen content in this particular outlet. … Multiple alarms and crazy dreams catapulted me awake in time to watch it live. When it was announced that he would be retiring in less than a week, then staying on with the Yankees as a special advisor, you could tell that he was trying to be gracious and diplomatic but was not thoroughly convinced his playing days were over. … Henry Wiggen experiences a similar scenario in the fourth and final Wiggen novel, It Looked Like For Ever. Published in 1979 but set in 1971, it was written long after the other three Wiggen tales that appeared in the mid 50’s (in order: The Southpaw, Bang the Drum Slowly, and A Ticket for a Seamstitch.) It Looked Like For Ever opens with the death of longstanding Mammoths manager Dutch Schnell and Henry’s subsequent speculation that he will become manager. Instead, upon returning home to Perkinsville after the funeral, he finds out he has been unceremoniously released by the club. Wiggen had been a star for 19 years, but in his fictional case there was no press conference, no speculation and no ceremony. Like in Bang the Drum Slowly, the other best Wiggen story, For Ever opens with some wintertime travel, first to St. Louis for Dutch’s funeral and then to Japan in a short-lived exploration of continuing his career with the Oyasumi Cobras. Along the way, you are introduced to Henry and his tribulations as a ‘younger older person.’ The 39 year old Wiggen has undergone a stunning transformation since we last saw him in 1956. Not only has he become the father of four daughters, but also a millionaire who has saved scrupulously and multiplied his earnings via savvy investments. …”
It Looked Like For Ever: the End of the Road for Henry Wiggen and Alex Rodriguez
Esquire: Henry Wiggen’s Last Pitch – Mark Harris
Winning and Staying Honest in America’s Game
W – Mark Harris, W – Henry Wiggen
Diamonds In The Rough – Mark Harris: An Interview

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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