Reds writer Hal McCoy pens memoir

Hal McCoy has just released his memoir, “The Real McCoy: My Half-Century With the Cincinnati Reds,” published by Orange Frazer Press.

Hal, a Hall of Fame baseball writer, retired from the Dayton Daily News after covering the Cincinnati Reds for 37 years, though he continues to contribute to the newspaper and share his insights in his “The Real McCoy” blog hosted on the newspaper’s site at

Hal, who lives in Englewood with his wife and two dogs, captures his career in his memoir. He has been an award-winning sports journalist for 53 years, covered Major League Baseball and the Cincinnati Reds for 43 years, won 48 state and national writing awards and has been named Ohio sportswriter of the year 13 times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 2002 and is the only non-Cincinnati resident who is a member of the Cincinnati Journalists Hall of Fame.

Sarah Hawley, production lead at Orange Frazer Press (, says she and the publishing company in Wilmington, Ohio, were excited to develop a publishing relationship with Hal to produce his memoir.

“I have seen Hal’s name and photo in the Dayton Daily News since I was a little girl, so I was excited to finally meet and work with someone whose articles I’d been reading since I was in grade school,” Sarah says. “Not only was I excited to read his behind-the-scenes stories about the Cincinnati Reds but also to meet and work with a legend. Our editor John Baskin reached out to Hal several years ago about writing a book, and Hal responded when he was ready to write one.”

Per a press release from the publisher, when asked about what Hal enjoyed most about his career with the Dayton Daily News, he replied, “Doing what I love — writing about baseball and sports. I never considered it a job. I got to write, see baseball and travel — and I got paid for doing it. It was a dream come true. I always told my wife, Nadine, that someday I would have to get a real job, but I never did.”

I asked Hal how creating a book length memoir differed for him from writing columns.

“Over my 53 years as a journalist I have written more 10,000 newspaper stories, but none, of course, compared to writing a book. Writing 55,000 words on one subject, my life as a sports writer, is quite different,” Hal says. “It was matter of sitting down for two or three hours a day for each chapter and emptying my head. Memories were vivid once I sat down to put them on a computer. I had never written anything of this type, so it was a different and exciting adventure.”

Hal also offers tips for other writers who are working on memoirs. “Find a quiet place and just think back to all that has happened to you in your life and let the reader take a ride with you through your memories. Take them where they can’t go and let them live them with you,” Hal explains. “That’s what I tried to do, and I hope the readers enjoys the ride, because it was been a fantastic voyage for me.”

Hal has several book reading and signing events coming up in the near future:

• Monday, March 23, at 9 a.m., Dayton International Airport.

• Next Tuesday, March 31, at 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene, Beavercreek.

To see a complete listing for his reading and signing events through August, go online to

Events and news

• Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene: George Hodgman will discuss his memoir “Bettyville,” chosen as Books-A-Million President’s Pick for March. (See Vick Mickunas’ “Book Nook” column in this section.)

• Thursday, March 26, 11 a.m., Wright State University Student Union, Pathfinder Lounge: WSU’s Creative Writing Program’s Visiting Writer Series will feature poet Michael Earl Craig (a Dayton native) who has published numerous collections and been included in anthologies such as “The Best American Poetry” in 2014. The event is free and open to the public.

• New date, Sunday, March 29, 7 p.m., Dharma Center of Dayton (425 Patterson Road): Gem City Poetry Stage will open with a featured reading by poet Michael Earl Craig (see bio above); open mic will follow.

• Benefit for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop endowment fund: Tickets are now on sale for “The God Box: A Daughter’s Story,” with performances at 7 p.m. on March 30-31 at the University of Dayton’s Boll Theatre. For more event details and ticket information, visit

• A Free Book a Week From the Dayton Metro Library: “Your Weekend Read” is a new weekly feature, each Wednesday, on the Dayton Metro Library’s Facebook page, with a question posted and a preview copy of a new book offered as a prize.

Sharon Short ( is a novelist and director of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. Contact Sharon with news about your book club or organization. Email: Twitter: @SharonGShort