Two years ago, in June of 2010, Sports Illustrated published an article titled "The Magical Season of the Macon Ironmen." The article told the story of the 1971 high school baseball season in Macon, Illinois, a small town struggling against drought, the backdrop of the Vietnam War, and other upheavals of the time. The Ironmen had an unlikely coach and "Hoosiers"-like run to the state championship, but their story was much more than that.
Author Chris Ballard has crafted his original article into a full-length book, One Shot at Forever, just released this month. The cover photo shows the players with mismatching uniform shirts and peace symbols on some of their caps, and hints that this Macon team did more than just unite their small town -- they created a legacy that still resounds, not just in their hometown.
In his book, Ballard tracks down former team members and their coach, as they return and remember that special year on the brink of their adulthoods. Even if you can't tell a doubleheader from a double play, One Shot at Forever will make you a fan of this small town and its beloved high school team. As the New York TImes review said, "This isn't merely a book about baseball. It's a book about heart."