THE PROGRESS OF THE SEASONS: Forty Years of Baseba by George V. Higgins

THE PROGRESS OF THE SEASONS: Forty Years of Baseba

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two of Higgins' passions--devotion to the Boston Red Sox, and love for father and grandfather--join together in this complicated memoir, which skitters all over the place while tossing out nine-innings' worth of Higgins' trademark stylistic flourishes. Baseball and the earliest taste of manhood began for Higgins on the same day in 1946, when his father and grandfather first took him to Fenway Park. Instantly he was hooked, leading to 40 years of addiction to the most frustrating team in baseball ("When the Red Sox are playing, we have our albatross," he moans)--an assemblage of great and gritty players (Williams, Yaz, Rice, Clemens, Evans, et al.) who seemingly pass each winter devising new, cruel ways to blow the pennant or the Series. Higgins dips deeply into Red Sox lore, dredging up the heartbreak '75 Series, the dismal team of '64 ("spiritually unsettling"), the glorious swing of the Splendid Splinter. He knocks batting-coach Walt Hriniak and, amazingly, calls perpetual goat Bob Stanley "outstanding." Red Sox memories alternate with gentle portraits of his father--an English teacher who "knew the essence of literature"--and his grandfather, with heavy emphasis on their fortitude, pride, and devout Catholcism. Also thrown in--this is memoir as mulligatawny stew--are comments on cars, New England winters, Christmas, WW II blackouts, whatever. Copious comments from Red Sox stars--Dick Radatz, Jim Lonborg, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio among them--interviewed in the course of preparing this memoir add heft and historical interest. Otherwise, this sprawling work is far too idiosyncratic to win many fans beyond those already committed to Higgins or his favorite team.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1989
ISBN: 8050-0913-2
Publisher: Henry Holt
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