Flashback Friday – Phil Haig 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Rochester Honkers
Jacob Colwell, a senior at Saint Mary's University (Winona, MN) studying Sports Management, has taken on the challenge of contacting many former Rochester Honkers players and coaches. He wanted to see what they are doing now and some of their favorite memories of playing in Rochester. Below you will enjoy his discoveries as we present……Flashback Fridays!
Phil Haig – University of Illinois, Florida International
2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Rochester Honker
Family photo of Phil at his sister's wedding
What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
PH: My second year when I had to leave early due to a Torn Labrum and Detached Bicep tendon, I was at the final game at home when we won the championship… I also remember the following year, my 3rd, we got the championship again and my final start was 7 innings in game 2 of the championship at home and Mitch Caster closed out the game to send us to game 3. I'll never forget that game, I still remember my reaction after knowing I was finished and also I still can vividly picture what Mitch did after he got the final out.
What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
PH: I have so many non playing memories from Rochester I feel like I'm going to leave something pretty awesome out. First I like to think I had the greatest host family (The Bigler's) any summer ball player could ever have, I still stay in touch with them all and see them whenever possible….. I remember lighting broken bats on fire in front of the dugout to “heat up” our offense, sure enough it always worked until Litz got fearful of the smoke coming from the dugout….. I remember Myron Noodleman and his dance and I could and still can mimic his every move, constantly fitting at least 7/8 guys in cab rides home while on the road back to the hotel, buying a slingshot my freshman year with a couple other team mates, Tony Balisteri and Drew Gagnon, and during BP or free time we would walk around field trying to hit birds or any other thing that was moving.
Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
PH: This is a tough one because I had a hard time not liking someone and I know I'm going to get a call from someone for leaving them out, I'll go by year. My first year I'd say, Peter Burg, Tony Balisteri, Aaron Johnson- When you have a Canadian, a Kid from Brooklyn and Two Minnesotans, things can get interesting really fast…. Second Year, Aaron Johnson, Aaron Dunsmore Zach Robertson, Brett Mitchell, Once again if I surround myself with a couple of Canucks things are bound to get wild. My last year and most favorite year and group that I'm closest to because we all went through some pretty tough adversity once that season ended and our former team mate Mitch Caster died on his drive back to Wichita. That entire team was awesome and dear to me, Jimmy Waters, Chris Elder, Sean Martin, Grant Muncrief, Matt Dittman, Mike Strong, Dan Peligrino, Davy Wright and of course Mitch Caster
What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
PH: I am currently working as the Pitching Coach at Sam Houston State University. Somehow I landed on my feet and working hard at what I love, and will continue to send pitchers up your way..LOL!
What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
PH: That summer ball with the right team and the right town and the right coaches is hands down the best times of your life. I have told each player and person that has ever asked that my summers in Rochester were the absolute best times of my life!!!
Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?
PH: I stay in contact with a lot of my former team mates, Aaron Johnson, Sean Martin, Jimmy Waters to name a few but have had a hard time trying to find a way to their parts of the country to see them again. I also have stayed in touch through social media with former coaches Rusty Mac, Joe Cotton and Andy Judkins