But this was also the era of great Negro Leagues stars who never had the opportunity to play in the major leagues. Buck O'Neil remembers the outstanding players of his day who never got their chance or whose turn came too late -- Oscar Charleston, Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, and Satchel Paige among them.
Two great events happened in the 1940s, and one of them would change the game forever. World War II took some of these great players off the diamond and put them into a different kind of uniform. Warren Spahn pitched his first game in 1942 and didn't pitch again until the war ended, getting his first victory in 1946 (nonetheless he won more games than any other left-hander in history). As he recalls here, he served his country memorably in the war. Then in 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, followed only a few months later by Larry Doby, the first African-American in the American League, who vividly describes what it felt like to be the only black ballplayer in the clubhouse -- and the league. The game began to change after integration, and home run king Ralph Kiner remembers how some clubs were quick to sign African-American players and thrive. Meanwhile, some Negro Leagues stars, such as Monte Irvin, itched for the opportunity to face the major leaguers and prove that, like Robinson and Doby, they could compete with the best.
All of these ballplayers recall their favorite memories: the games that mattered most, the players they all admired, the childhood experiences that shaped their lives, and the deep affection for the game that has always remained with them.
Illustrated throughout, The Only Game in Town is a fascinating trip through two decades when baseball changed profoundly. Like The Glory of Their Times, it is a book that will find a permanent place on every fan's bookshelf.
Willie McCovey remembers meeting the Giants’ other Willie and the powerful impact that Willie Mays had on him. He expresses pride that the Giants chose to honor him at their ballpark with McCovey Cove. Teammate Juan Marichal, one of baseball’s Latino pioneers, recalls encountering racism for the first time in America. He recounts fortuitously overhearing a conversation among Latino ballplayers before a Giants-Pirates game that provided him with crucial information about Roberto Clemente.
Managers Dick Williams and Earl Weaver assess their Hall of Fame careers. Williams remembers his contentious relationship with Charlie Finley and explains why he never managed for George Stein-brenner. Earl Weaver says he has changed, that umpires were "fantastic people," and that he shouldn’t have gotten thrown out of so many ballgames. Read it here for yourself.
Tom Seaver, one of the dominant pitchers of his era, shares a funny incident from his first All-Star game, when he was young and looked even younger, and discloses the important piece of baseball wisdom that Gil Hodges gave him early in his career that has guided him ever since. Don Baylor recalls playing with a variety of teammates and teams, including the remarkable experience of playing in three consecutive World Series with three different teams, going from the 1986 Red Sox that came so close to winning the Series to the 1987 Minnesota Twins team that actually did it. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, "the Wizard of Oz," tells the story of how he began his signature back flip and offers insights into how he was able to pull off some of the most spectacular defensive plays in baseball history. Baseball’s Iron Man Cal Ripken remembers the high expectations that came with being the son of a baseball manager and explains why the "Orioles way" was more than just a slogan for him. Bruce Froemming, MLB’s longest-serving umpire, reveals the rules behind the fine art of allowing managers and coaches to have their say and still maintain absolute control over the game. And Marvin Miller, one of the most important figures in the history of the game, explains the origins and intentions of baseball’s players’ union and why he is so proud of what it has achieved.
No fan of the game will want to pass up this illustrated, fascinating remembrance of two decades when baseball changed forever.
Fay Vincent never set out to be the commissioner of baseball. He got into the game alongside his good friend A. Bartlett Giamatti, as deputy commissioner, when Giamatti was named to the sport's highest office in 1989. They spent their first spring and summer dealing with Pete Rose's gambling, and Vincent's legal expertise complemented his friend's moral thunder. But that was to be their only season working side by side, as Bart Giamatti's heart gave out just days after the announcement of the Rose suspension. Vincent found himself the only logical candidate to fill a position as guardian of the best interests of the game he loves.
In The Last Commissioner: A Baseball Valentine, Vincent takes us along for the ultimate fan's fantasy camp. As commissioner, he got to talk baseball with the likes of Yogi Berra, Larry Doby, Warren Spahn, Ernie Banks, Eddie Lopat, Whitey Ford, and Henry Aaron. He brought his legal training to bear on the delicate issue of whether Roger Clemens uttered the magic word that would justify his being tossed out of a playoff game (and it's not the word you think). He was one of the few outsiders at the annual Hall of Fame banquet for the new inductees and their immortal peers, where he watched, amazed, as Johnny Mize demonstrated to Ralph Kiner his method of hitting an inside pitch -- a piece of advice from forty years past. And he brought equal respect and attention to the greats of the Negro Leagues, listening to the gracefully told stories of Joe Black and Buck O'Neil, slowly learning how Slick Surratt earned his nickname, hearing Jimmie Crutchfield give as good a definition of a well-lived life as we will ever know.
Vincent shares these stories and more: his high regard for umpires, instilled in his youth by his father, an NFL official and respected local ump; his close relations with the Bush family, forged in a summer spent working in the oil fields with his schoolmate Bucky Bush, the 41st president's brother (and 43rd president's uncle); his unusual experiences with the relentless George Steinbrenner, including the famous meeting where the Yankees owner was facing a two-year suspension and plea-bargained it down to a lifetime ban. Vincent also gives his candid views on the state of baseball today, firm in his belief that the game will survive its current leadership and even prosper.
Through it all, Vincent's deep love of baseball shines through. His most remarkable accomplishment as commissioner may have been to emerge from the office with his fandom intact. The Last Commissioner is truly a valentine to the game, written with the insight and vision that comes from the lofty perch of the ultimate front-row seat.
In The Captain, best-selling author Ian O’Connor draws on extensive reporting and unique access to Jeter that has spanned some fifteen years to reveal how a biracial kid from Michigan became New York’s most beloved sports figure and the enduring symbol of the steroid-free athlete. O’Connor takes us behind the scenes of a legendary baseball life and career, from Jeter’s early struggles in the minor leagues, when homesickness and errors in the field threatened a stillborn career, to his heady days as a Yankee superstar and prince of the city who squired some of the world’s most beautiful women, to his tense battles with former best friend A-Rod. We also witness Jeter struggling to come to terms with his declining skills and the declining favor of the only organization he ever wanted to play for, leading to a contentious contract negotiation with the Yankees that left people wondering if Jeter might end his career in a uniform without pinstripes.
Derek Jeter’s march toward the Hall of Fame has been dignified and certain, but behind that leadership and hero’s grace there are hidden struggles and complexities that have never been explored, until now. As Jeter closes in on 3,000 hits, a number no Yankee has ever touched, The Captain offers an incisive, exhilarating, and revealing new look at one of the game’s greatest players in the gloaming of his career.
It was 1986, and the New York Mets won 108 regular-season games and the World Series, capturing the hearts (and other assorted body parts) of fans everywhere. But their greatness on the field was nearly eclipsed by how bad they were off it. Led by the indomitable Keith Hernandez and the young dynamic duo of Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, along with the gallant Scum Bunch, the Amazin’s left a wide trail of wreckage in their wake—hotel rooms, charter planes, a bar in Houston, and most famously Bill Buckner and the hated Boston Red Sox.
With an unforgettable cast of characters—including Doc, Straw, the Kid, Nails, Mex, and manager Davey Joshson—this “affectionate but critical look at this exciting season” (Publishers Weekly) celebrates the last of baseball’s arrogant, insane, rock-and-roll-and-party-all-night teams, exploring what could have been, what should have been, and what never was.
A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year
“Plenty of books have taken us inside baseball, but August takes us directly inside players’ heads.” —Entertainment Weekly
3 Nights in August captures the strategic and emotional complexities of baseball’s quintessential form: the three-game series. As the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival, the Chicago Cubs, we watch from the dugout through the eyes of legendary Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the greatest manager of the modern era. In his thirty-three years of managing, La Russa won three World Series titles and was named Manager of the Year a record five times. He now stands as the third-winningest manager in the history of baseball.
A great leader, La Russa built his success on the conviction that ball games are won not only by the numbers but also by the hearts and minds of those who play. Drawing on unprecedented access to a major league skipper and his team, Buzz Bissinger portrays baseball with a revelatory intimacy that offers many surprisingly tactical insights—and furthers the debate on major league managerial style and strategy in his provocative afterword.
“Superb . . . Will be devoured by hard-core strategists.” —The New York Times Book Review
The bestselling, inside-the-clubhouse story of two tumultuous years when the Los Angeles Dodgers were re-made from top to bottom, becoming the most talked-about and most colorful team in baseball. “It’s as if Molly Knight ushers you behind the closed clubhouse doors.” (Buster Olney, ESPN)
In 2012 the Los Angeles Dodgers were bought out of bankruptcy in the most expensive sale in sports history. Los Angeles icon Magic Johnson and his partners hoped to put together a team worthy of Hollywood: consistently entertaining. By most accounts they have succeeded, if not always in the way they might have imagined.
In The Best Team Money Can Buy, Molly Knight tells the story of the Dodgers’ 2013 and 2014 seasons with detailed, previously unreported revelations. She shares a behind-the-scenes account of the astonishing sale of the Dodgers, as well as what the Dodgers actually knew in advance about rookie phenom and Cuban defector Yasiel Puig. We learn how close manager Don Mattingly was to losing his job during the 2013 season—and how the team turned around the season in the most remarkable fifty-game stretch of any team since World War II. Knight also provides a rare glimpse into the in-fighting and mistrust that derailed the team in 2014 and paints an intimate portrait of star pitcher Clayton Kershaw, including details about the record contract offer he turned down before accepting the richest contract any pitcher ever signed.
Exciting, surprising, and filled with juicy details, “a must-read for fans of the Dodgers and all Los Angeles sports teams….Knight’s undercover work is like none other” (Library Journal). The Best Team Money Can Buy is filled with “fascinating perspectives” (Los Angeles Times) and “interesting anecdotes about some of baseball’s most compelling figures” (The Sacramento Bee).
With inside access and reporting, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer and FOX Sports analyst Tom Verducci reveals how Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon built, led, and inspired the Chicago Cubs team that broke the longest championship drought in sports, chronicling their epic journey to become World Series champions.
It took 108 years, but it really happened. The Chicago Cubs are once again World Series champions.
How did a team composed of unknown, young players and supposedly washed-up veterans come together to break the Curse of the Billy Goat? Tom Verducci, twice named National Sportswriter of the Year and co-writer of The Yankee Years with Joe Torre, will have full access to team president Theo Epstein, manager Joe Maddon, and the players to tell the story of the Cubs' transformation from perennial underachievers to the best team in baseball.
Beginning with Epstein's first year with the team in 2011, Verducci will show how Epstein went beyond "Moneyball" thinking to turn around the franchise. Leading the organization with a manual called "The Cubs Way," he focused on the mental side of the game as much as the physical, emphasizing chemistry as well as statistics.
To accomplish his goal, Epstein needed manager Joe Maddon, an eccentric innovator, as his counterweight on the Cubs' bench. A man who encourages themed road trips and late-arrival game days to loosen up his team, Maddon mixed New Age thinking with Old School leadership to help his players find their edge.
The Cubs Way takes readers behind the scenes, chronicling how key players like Rizzo, Russell, Lester, and Arrieta were deftly brought into the organization by Epstein and coached by Maddon to outperform expectations. Together, Epstein and Maddon proved that clubhouse culture is as important as on-base-percentage, and that intangible components like personality, vibe, and positive energy are necessary for a team to perform to their fullest potential.
Verducci chronicles the playoff run that culminated in an instant classic Game Seven. He takes a broader look at the history of baseball in Chicago and the almost supernatural element to the team's repeated loses that kept fans suffering, but also served to strengthen their loyalty.
The Cubs Way is a celebration of an iconic team and its journey to a World Championship that fans and readers will cherish for years to come.
Ty Cobb is baseball royalty, maybe even the greatest player ever. His lifetime batting average is still the highest in history, and when he retired in 1928, after twenty-one years with the Detroit Tigers and two with the Philadelphia Athletics, he held more than ninety records. But the numbers don’t tell half of Cobb’s tale. The Georgia Peach was by far the most thrilling player of the era: When the Hall of Fame began in 1936, he was the first player voted in.
But Cobb was also one of the game’s most controversial characters. He got in a lot of fights, on and off the field, and was often accused of being overly aggressive. Even his supporters acknowledged that he was a fierce competitor, but he was also widely admired. After his death in 1961, however, his reputation morphed into that of a virulent racist who also hated children and women, and was in turn hated by his peers.
How did this happen? Who is the real Ty Cobb? Setting the record straight, Charles Leerhsen pushed aside the myths, traveled to Georgia and Detroit, and re-traced Cobb’s journey from the shy son of a professor and state senator who was progressive on race for his time to America’s first true sports celebrity. The result is a “noble [and] convincing” (The New York Times Book Review) biography that is “groundbreaking, thorough, and compelling…The most complete, well-researched, and thorough treatment that has ever been written” (The Tampa Tribune).
After twenty consecutive losing seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates, team morale was low, the club's payroll ranked near the bottom of the sport, game attendance was down, and the city was becoming increasingly disenchanted with its team. Pittsburghers joked their town was the city of champions...and the Pirates. Big Data Baseball is the story of how the 2013 Pirates, mired in the longest losing streak in North American pro sports history, adopted drastic big-data strategies to end the drought, make the playoffs, and turn around the franchise's fortunes.
Award-winning journalist Travis Sawchik takes you behind the scenes to expertly weave together the stories of the key figures who changed the way the small-market Pirates played the game. For manager Clint Hurdle and the front office staff to save their jobs, they could not rely on a free agent spending spree, instead they had to improve the sum of their parts and find hidden value. They had to change. From Hurdle shedding his old-school ways to work closely with Neal Huntington, the forward-thinking data-driven GM and his team of talented analysts; to pitchers like A. J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole changing what and where they threw; to Russell Martin, the undervalued catcher whose expert use of the nearly-invisible skill of pitch framing helped the team's pitchers turn more balls into strikes; to Clint Barmes, a solid shortstop and one of the early adopters of the unconventional on-field shift which forced the entire infield to realign into positions they never stood in before. Under Hurdle's leadership, a culture of collaboration and creativity flourished as he successfully blended whiz kid analysts with graybeard coaches—a kind of symbiotic teamwork which was unique to the sport.
Big Data Baseball is Moneyball on steroids. It is an entertaining and enlightening underdog story that uses the 2013 Pirates season as the perfect lens to examine the sport's burgeoning big-data movement. With the help of data-tracking systems like PitchF/X and TrackMan, the Pirates collected millions of data points on every pitch and ball in play to create a tome of color-coded reports that revealed groundbreaking insights for how to win more games without spending a dime. In the process, they discovered that most batters struggled to hit two-seam fastballs, that an aggressive defensive shift on the field could turn more batted balls into outs, and that a catcher's most valuable skill was hidden. All these data points which aren't immediately visible to players and spectators, are the bit of magic that led the Pirates to spin straw in to gold, finish the 2013 season in second place, end a twenty-year losing streak.
“Enormously entertaining . . . Explores the question of whether a baseball lifer can actually be a tragic figure in the classic sense—a man destroyed by the very qualities that made him great." — Wall Street Journal
“Bill Pennington gives long-overdue flesh to the caricature . . . Pennington savors the dirt-kicking spectacles without losing sight of the man.” — New York Times Book Review
Even now, years after his death, Billy Martin remains one of the most intriguing and charismatic figures in baseball history. And the most misunderstood. A manager who is widely considered to have been a baseball genius, Martin is remembered more for his rabble-rousing and public brawls on the field and off. He was combative and intimidating, yet endearing and beloved.
In Billy Martin, Bill Pennington resolves these contradictions and pens the definitive story of Martin’s life. From his hardscrabble youth to his days on the Yankees in the 1950s and through sixteen years of managing, Martin made sure no one ever ignored him. Drawing on exhaustive interviews and his own time covering Martin as a young sportswriter, Pennington provides an intimate, revelatory, and endlessly colorful story of a truly larger-than-life sportsman.
“The hair on my forearms was standing up by the end of the fifth paragraph of this book’s introduction. I knew Billy Martin. I covered Billy Martin. But I never knew him like this.” — Dan Shaughnessy, best-selling author of Francona
“An exhaustive, detailed and fascinating look at a baseball genius whose biggest fight might very well have been against himself.” — Tampa Tribune
Acclaimed New Yorker writer Roger Angell’s first book on baseball, The Summer Game, originally published in 1972, is a stunning collection of his essays on the major leagues, covering a span of ten seasons. Angell brilliantly captures the nation’s most beloved sport through the 1960s, spanning both the winning teams and the “horrendous losers,” and including famed players Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays, and more. With the panache of a seasoned sportswriter and the energy of an avid baseball fan, Angell’s sports journalism is an insightful and compelling look at the great American pastime.
Like the original, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is really several books in one. The Game provides a century's worth of American baseball history, told one decade at a time, with energetic facts and figures about How, Where, and by Whom the game was played. In The Players, you'll find listings of the top 100 players at each position in the major leagues, along with James's signature stats-based ratings method called “Win Shares,” a way of quantifying individual performance and calculating the offensive and defensive contributions of catchers, pitchers, infielders, and outfielders. And there's more: the Reference section covers Win Shares for each season and each player, and even offers a Win Share team comparison. A must-have for baseball fans and historians alike, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is as essential, entertaining, and enlightening as the sport itself.
Before the 27 World Series titles--before Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Derek Jeter-the Yankees were New York's shadow franchise. They hadn't won a championship, and they didn't even have their own field, renting the Polo Grounds from their cross-town rivals the New York Giants. In 1921 and 1922, they lost to the Giants when it mattered most: in October.
But in 1923, the Yankees played their first season on their own field, the newly-built, state of the art baseball palace in the Bronx called "the Yankee Stadium." The stadium was a gamble, erected in relative outerborough obscurity, and Babe Ruth was coming off the most disappointing season of his career, a season that saw his struggles on and off the field threaten his standing as a bona fide superstar.
It only took Ruth two at-bats to signal a new era. He stepped up to the plate in the 1923 season opener and cracked a home run to deep right field, the first homer in his park, and a sign of what lay ahead. It was the initial blow in a season that saw the new stadium christened "The House That Ruth Built," signaled the triumph of the power game, and established the Yankees as New York's-and the sport's-team to beat.
From that first home run of 1923 to the storybook World Series matchup that pitted the Yankees against their nemesis from across the Harlem River-one so acrimonious that John McGraw forced his Giants to get to the Bronx in uniform rather than suit up at the Stadium-Robert Weintraub vividly illuminates the singular year that built a classic stadium, catalyzed a franchise, cemented Ruth's legend, and forever changed the sport of baseball.
Forget batting average. Kill the “Win.” Say goodbye to starting pitchers. And please, please stop bunting. MLB Network anchor and commentator Brian Kenny provides “an excellent, entertaining read for the all-around baseball fan” (Library Journal) and shows how baseball has been revolutionized—not destroyed—by analytical thinking.
Most people who resist logical thought in baseball preach “tradition” and “respecting the game.” But many of baseball’s traditions go back to the nineteenth century, when the pitcher’s job was to provide the batter with a ball he could hit and fielders played without gloves. Instead of fearing change, Brian Kenny wants fans to think critically, reject outmoded groupthink, and embrace the changes that have come with the sabermetric era. In his entertaining and enlightening book, Kenny discusses why the pitching win-loss record, the Triple Crown, fielding errors, and so-called battling titles should be ignored. He also points out how fossilized sportswriters have been electing the wrong MVP’s and ignoring legitimate candidates for the Hall of Fame; why managers are hired based on their looks; and how the most important position in baseball may just be “Director of Decision Sciences.”
“Prepare to have your brain and your assumptions challenged. Guided by data and a deep love of the game, Brian Kenny takes a cutting-edge look at where baseball is and where it is going” (Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated). Illustrated with unique anecdotes from those who have reshaped the game, Ahead of the Curve is “a great story about the game in the age of information and technology” (Billy Beane).
Remember the excitement of those first years at Jacobs Field? When it seemed the Indians could find a way to win almost any game? When screaming fans rocked the jam-packed stands every night? When a brash young team snapped a forty-year slump and electrified the city?
Those weren’t baseball seasons, they were year-long celebrations.
Step back into the glory days with sportswriter Terry Pluto and broadcaster Tom Hamilton as they share behind-the-scenes stories about a team with all-stars at nearly every position . . . a sparkling new ballpark . . . wild comeback victories . . . a record sellout streak . . . two trips to the World Series . . . and a city crazed with Indians fever.
Revisit baseball’s most fearsome lineup: Albert Belle’s mighty swing and ferocious glare . . . Jim Thome’s moon-shot home runs . . . Omar Vizquel’s poetry-in-motion play at shortstop . . . Kenny Lofton’s exhilarating baserunning and over-the-wall catches . . .
These two Cleveland baseball veterans were there for it all. Now, they combine firsthand experience and in-depth player interviews to tell a richly detailed story that Tribe fans will love.
--Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of Boys Will Be Boys and The Bad Guys Won
In 1971, a small-town high school baseball team from rural Illinois, playing with hand-me-down uniforms and peace signs on their hats, defied convention and the odds. Led by an English teacher with no coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370 teams to represent the smallest school in Illinois history to make the state final, a distinction that still stands. There the Ironmen would play against a Chicago powerhouse in a dramatic game that would change their lives forever.
In this gripping, cinematic narrative, Chris Ballard tells the story of the team and its coach, Lynn Sweet: a hippie, dreamer, and intellectual who arrived in Macon in 1966, bringing progressive ideas to a town stuck in the Eisenhower era. Beloved by students but not administration, Sweet reluctantly took over the ragtag team, intent on teaching the boys as much about life as baseball. Together they embarked on an improbable postseason run that buoyed a small town in desperate need of something to celebrate.
Engaging and poignant, One Shot at Forever is a testament to the power of high school sports to shape the lives of those who play them, and it reminds us that there are few bonds more sacred than that among a coach, a team, and a town.
"Macon's run at the title reminds us why sports matter and why sportswriting has such great power to inspire. . . . [It's] one hell of a good story, and Ballard has written one hell of a good book." --Jonathan Eig, Chicago Tribune
By early 1977, the metropolis was in the grip of hysteria caused by a murderer dubbed "Son of Sam." And on a sweltering night in July, a citywide power outage touched off an orgy of looting and arson that led to the largest mass arrest in New York's history. As the turbulent year wore on, the city became absorbed in two epic battles: the fight between Yankee slugger Reggie Jackson and team manager Billy Martin, and the battle between Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo for the city's mayoralty. Buried beneath these parallel conflicts—one for the soul of baseball, the other for the soul of the city—was the subtext of race. The brash and confident Jackson took every black myth and threw it back in white America's face. Meanwhile, Koch and Cuomo ran bitterly negative campaigns that played upon urbanites' fears of soaring crime and falling municipal budgets.
These braided stories tell the history of a year that saw the opening of Studio 54, the evolution of punk rock, and the dawning of modern SoHo. As the pragmatist Koch defeated the visionary Cuomo and as Reggie Jackson finally rescued a team racked with dissension,1977 became a year of survival but also of hope.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and the basis of the 2007 ESPN miniseries, starring John Turturro as Billy Martin, Oliver Platt as George Steinbrenner, and Daniel Sunjata as Reggie Jackson.
In the fall of 1992, America's National Pastime is in crisis and already on the path to the unthinkable: cancelling a World Series for the first time in history. The owners are at war with each other, their decades-long battle with the players has turned America against both sides, and the players' growing addiction to steroids will threaten the game's very foundation.
It is a tipping point for baseball, a crucial moment in the game's history that catalyzes a struggle for power by three strong-willed men: Commissioner Bud Selig, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, and union leader Don Fehr. It's their uneasy alliance at the end of decades of struggle that pulls the game back from the brink and turns it into a money-making powerhouse that enriches them all.
This is the real story of baseball, played out against a tableau of stunning athletic feats, high-stakes public battles, and backroom political deals--with a supporting cast that includes Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter, George Bush and George Mitchell, and many more.
Drawing from hundreds of extensive, exclusive interviews throughout baseball, The Game is a stunning achievement: a rigorously reported book and the must-read, fly-on-the-wall, definitive account of how an enormous struggle for power turns disaster into baseball's Golden Age.
LifeCaps is an imprint of BookCaps™ Study Guides. With each book, a lesser known or sometimes forgotten life is recapped. We publish a wide array of topics (from baseball and music to literature and philosophy), so check our growing catalogue regularly to see our newest books.
Luck—or hard work and skill? Zack Hample has caught more than 7,600 baseballs from the stands of 51 major league stadiums. His snags include Mike Trout’s first career home run and Barry Bonds’s 724th; the last homer hit by a Met at Shea Stadium; and a regular old Cubs-Reds contest from which Hample walked away with 36 balls. You, too, can do what Zack does, whether you’re at Opening Day batting practice or Game 7 of the World Series. From a baseball expert and skilled raconteur, “The Art of Snag” tells you what to wear, how to talk, where to go, and what exactly you need to do to become the (Skillful? Just plain prepared? Either way, legal) proud owner of a Major League baseball.
An eBook short.
Many, however, would be surprised to learn that it took nearly a year to uncover the fix. Burying the Black Sox is the first book to focus on the cover-up that kept the fix from the American public until almost another whole baseball season was played, and to examine in detail the way events unfolded as the deception was unraveled. Unlike Eliot Asinof in Eight Men Out, previously the definitive book on the subject, Carney thoroughly documents his information and brings together evidence from a wide variety of sources, many not available to Asinof or more recent writers.
In Burying the Black Sox, Gene Carney reveals what else happened and answers the questions that fascinate any baseball fan wondering about baseball's original dilemma over guilt and innocence. Who else in baseball knew that the fix was in? When did they know? And what did they do about it? Carney explores how Charles Comiskey, the owner of the White Sox, and his fellow owners tried to bury the incident and control the damage, how the conspiracy failed, and how "Shoeless" Joe Jackson attempted to clear his name. He uses primary research materials that weren't available when Asinof wrote Eight Men Out, including the 1920 grand jury statements by Jackson and pitcher Eddie Cicotte, the diary of Comiskey's secretary, and the transcripts of Jackson's 1924 suit against the Sox for back pay. Where Asinof told the story of the eight "Black Sox," Carney explains the baseball industry's uncertain response to the scandal.
The Summer Game, originally published in 1972, is a stunning collection of Angell’s essays on the major leagues, covering a span of ten seasons. Angell brilliantly captures the nation’s most beloved sport through the 1960s, spanning both the winning teams and the “horrendous losers,” and including famed players Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays, and more. With the panache of a seasoned sportswriter and the energy of an avid baseball fan, Angell’s sports journalism is an insightful and compelling look at the great American pastime.
In Five Seasons, New Yorker sportswriter Roger Angell calls 1972 to 1976 “the most important half-decade in the history of the game.” The early to mid-1970s brought unprecedented changes to America’s ancient pastime: astounding performances by Nolan Ryan and Hank Aaron; the intensity of the “best-ever” 1975 World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox; the changes growing from bitter and extended labor strikes and lockouts; and the vast new influence of network television on the game. Angell, always a fan as well as a writer, casts a knowing but noncynical eye on these events, offering a fresh perspective to baseball’s continuing appeal during this brilliant and transformative era.
And in Season Ticket, Roger Angell once again journeys through five seasons of America’s national pastime—chronicling the larger-than-life narratives and on-field intricacies of baseball from 1982 to 1987. Angell’s collected New Yorker essays, written in his unique voice as a fan and baseball aficionado, cover the development of the game both on the diamond and off. While diving into subjects such as Sparky Anderson’s ’84 Detroit Tigers, the legendary 1986 World Series and the Curse of the Bambino, and the increasingly pervasive issue of player drug use, Angell reveals the craft and technique of the game, and the unforgettable stories of those who played it.
In 1934, a photograph was taken of a baseball team. These two rows of young men look like any group of American ballplayers, except perhaps for the Russian lettering on their jerseys. The players have left their homeland and the Great Depression in search of a better life in Stalinist Russia, but instead they will meet tragic and, until now, forgotten fates. Within four years, most of them will be arrested alongside untold numbers of other Americans. Some will be executed. Others will be sent to "corrective labor" camps where they will be worked to death. This book is the story of lives-the forsaken who died and those who survived.
Based on groundbreaking research, The Forsaken is the story of Americans whose dreams were shattered and lives lost in Stalinist Russia.
As a player, Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel's contemporaries included Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson . . . and he was the only person in history to wear the uniforms of all four New York teams: the Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, and Mets. As a legendary manager, he formed indelible, complicated relationships with Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Billy Martin. For more than five glorious decades, Stengel was the undisputed, quirky, hilarious, and beloved face of baseball--and along the way he revolutionized the role of manager while winning a spectactular ten pennants and seven World Series Championships.
But for a man who spent so much of his life in the limelight--an astounding fifty-five years in professional baseball--Stengel remains an enigma. Acclaimed New York Yankees' historian and bestselling author Marty Appel digs into Casey Stengel's quirks and foibles, unearthing a tremendous trove of baseball stories, perspective, and history. Weaving in never-before-published family documents, Appel creates an intimate portrait of a private man who was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966 and named "Baseball's Greatest Character" by MLB Network's Prime 9. Casey Stengel is a biography that will be treasured by fans of our national pastime.
Despite years of phenomenal achievements, including going to the World Series in 2004 and again in 2006, the Cardinals reinvented themselves using the "Cardinal Way," a term that has come to represent many things to fans, media, and other organizations, from an ironclad code of conduct to the team's cutting-edge use of statistic and analytics, and a farm system that has transformed baseball.
Baseball journalist Howard Megdal takes fans behind the scenes and off the field, interviewing dozens of key players within the Cardinals organization, including owner Bill DeWitt and the general manager John Mozeliak. Megdal reveals how the players are assessed and groomed using an unrivaled player development system that has created a franchise that is the envy of the baseball world.
In the spirit of Moneyball, The Cardinals Way tells an in-depth, fascinating story about a consistently good franchise, the business of sports in the twenty-first century and a team that has learned how to level the playing field, turning in season after successful season.
On July 24, 1983, during the finale of a heated four-game series between the dynastic New York Yankees and small-town Kansas City Royals, umpires nullified a go-ahead home run based on an obscure rule, when Yankees manager Billy Martin pointed out an illegal amount of pine tar—the sticky substance used for a better grip—on Royals third baseman George Brett’s bat. Brett wildly charged out of the dugout and chaos ensued. The call temporarily cost the Royals the game, but the decision was eventually overturned, resulting in a resumption of the game several weeks later that created its own hysteria. The game was a watershed moment, marking a change in the sport, where benign cheating tactics like spitballs, Superball bats, and a couple extra inches of tar on an ash bat, gave way to era of soaring salaries, labor strikes, and rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs.
In The Pine Tar Game acclaimed sports writer Filip Bondy paints a portrait of the Yankees and Royals of that era, replete with bad actors, phenomenal athletes, and plenty of yelling. Players and club officials, like Brett, Goose Gossage, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Sparky Lyle, David Cone, and John Schuerholz, offer fresh commentary on the events and their take on the subsequent postseason rivalry. “A sticky moment milked for all its nutty, head-shaking glory” (Sports Illustrated), The Pine Tar Game examines a more innocent time in professional sports, and the shifting tide that resulted in today’s modern iteration of baseball.
Some watchers of the Royals’ 2015 World Series win over New York’s “other baseball team,” the Mets, may see it as sweet revenge for a bygone era of talent flow and umpire calls favoring New York.
—Honorary plaque to Munson in Yankee Stadium
Thurman Munson is remembered by fans as the fiercely competitive, tough, and—most of all—inspiring Yankee captain and champion from the wild Bronx Zoo years. He is also remembered for his tragic death, at age thirty-two, when the private plane he was piloting crashed in Canton, Ohio, on August 2, 1979.
Munson is the intimate biography of a complex and larger-than-life legend. Written by former Yankees public relations director Marty Appel, who worked closely with Thurman throughout his career, Munson captures the little-known details of the young man from Canton and his meteoric rise to stardom in baseball’s most storied franchise. Appel examines the tumultuous childhood that led Thurman to work feverishly to escape Canton—and also the marriage and cultural roots that continually drew him back.
Appel also opens a fascinating door on the famed Yankees of the 1970s, recounting moments and stories that have never been told before. From the clubhouse and the dugout to the front office and the owner’s box, this thoughtful baseball biography delves into the affectionately gruff captain’s relationships with friends, fans, and teammates such as Lou Piniella, Bobby Murcer, Graig Nettles, and Reggie Jackson, as well as his colorful dealings with manager Billy Martin and his surprisingly close bond with owner George Steinbrenner. Munson paints a revealing portrait of a private Yankee superstar, as well as a nostalgic and revelatory look at the culture—and amazing highs and lows—of the 1970s New York Yankees teams. More than a biography, Munson is the definitive account of a champion who has not been forgotten and of the era he helped define—written with the intimate detail available only to a true insider.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Which Hall of Famer once caught a ball dropped from an airplane?
Why do balls get stamped with invisible ink?
What’s the best ticket to buy for catching a foul ball?
Which part of the ball once came from dog food companies?
How could a 10,000-year-old glacier help a pitcher grip the ball?
In this enlightening, entertaining, and often wildly funny book, Zack Hample shares ballpark legends and lore, explores the history of the baseball souvenir craze, and also details the evolution of the ball, Finally, Hample—who has snagged more than 4,600 balls from 48 different major league stadiums—offers up his secret methods for snagging your own ball from major league games.
Features a ballhawk glossary, profiles of legendary ballhawks, top 10 lists, and black-and-white photos throughout.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From early on, Guthrie-Shimizu argues, baseball carried American values to Japan, and by the mid-twentieth century, the sport had become emblematic of Japan's modernization and of America's growing influence in the Pacific world. Guthrie-Shimizu contends that baseball provides unique insight into U.S.-Japanese relations during times of war and peace and, in fact, is central to understanding postwar reconciliation. In telling this often surprising history, Transpacific Field of Dreams shines a light on globalization's unlikely, and at times accidental, participants.
David Halberstam, an avid sports writer with an investigative reporter’s tenacity, superbly details the end of the fifteen-year reign of the New York Yankees in October 1964. That October found the Yankees going head-to-head with the St. Louis Cardinals for the World Series pennant. Expertly weaving the narrative threads of both teams’ seasons, Halberstam brings the major personalities on the field—from switch-hitter Mickey Mantle to pitcher Bob Gibson—to life. Using the teams’ subcultures, Halberstam also analyzes the cultural shifts of the sixties. The result is a unique blend of sports writing and cultural history as engrossing as it is insightful. This ebook features an extended biography of David Halberstam.
This book guides players towards success in softball and baseball by providing plans for them to gain an advantage in the on going battles between the pitcher and the hitter. A victory in these battles is the key to an individual's success at the game. It is also typically the key to a team's success, because the outcome of any game is usually determined by who wins most of these battles. 'What's the Count?' gives players plans to consistently gain the advantage in these battles. This book is about getting the advantage, knowing when you have it, and using it to succeed. It provides a mental map for players to succeed in softball much like a road map provides people with a way to succeed in finding an unknown destination. Without this map, or plan, you can easily get lost, whether it's on the road or in a softball competition. The mental plans in this book guide players towards success in softball by showing them methods to gain this advantage. If you are a pitcher they show you how to keep and increase the advantage you start with at the beginning of each at bat. If you are a hitter they show you what is required to take the advantage away from the pitcher and gain it for yourself.
Whether you are a pitcher or a hitter, knowledge and execution of the mental plans provided in 'What's the Count?' can be the difference maker in separating you from the competition. Using these plans will help you raise your level of play, attain your highest potential, and provide you with an edge to consistently prevail over your competition on the field regardless of your age or ability level.
That starts, first and foremost, with an in-depth examination of the two men chiefly responsible for making integration happen: Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson. Considering Robinson's exalted place in American culture (as evidenced by the remarkable success of the recent biopic), the book's eye-opening revelations are sure to generate controversy as well as conversation. No other sportswriter working today carries Kahn's authority when writing about this period in baseball history, and the publication of this book, Kahn's last, is a true literary event. In Rickey & Robinson, Kahn separates fact from myth to present a truthful portrait of baseball and its participants at a critical juncture in American history.
October 3, 1951. Giants third baseman Bobby Thomson hit the most dramatic home run in the history of baseball. The moment occurred in the bottom of the ninth inning of a sudden-death playoff game between the New York Giants and their arch rivals from Brooklyn, the Dodgers. People across the nation watched on their new TV sets, and the home run became known as “the Shot Heard ’Round the World.”
But after clearing the left-ﬁeld wall, the central artifact of the play–the ball itself–inexplicably went missing. The mystery of what happened to the legendary baseball has remained unsolved for a half century.
Miracle Ball is the gripping account of author Brian Biegel’s two-year effort to unravel the mystery that experts said could never be solved. After his father, Jack, ﬁnds a baseball at a thrift store with clues dating back to 1951 and believes it could possibly be the most coveted piece of sports history, father and son begin a journey to prove its authenticity. Biegel becomes consumed with the quest–recognizing it as the only chance to rescue himself from an emotionally devastating personal crisis that had long been crippling him.
The trail takes Biegel, a sports fan and documentary ﬁlmmaker, from an auction house in Long Island to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, to a backroom meeting straight out of a Martin Scorsese ﬁlm to a dusty oil ﬁeld in Texas, ﬁnally arriving at his ﬁnal destination on a quiet gravel road in New Mexico, the last place he ever expected to be.
Along the way the author meets an amazing cast of characters, including Bobby Thomson himself, who help him in his quest. Each adds their personal memories of the golden age of baseball, giving a broader scope and greater depth to this real-life detective story. As entertaining as it is inspiring, Miracle Ball is a story about faith, family, and heroes, about overcoming the odds and coming into the light, and about discovering the wondrous result of believing in yourself–and the amazing beneﬁts of unconditional love.
A sports story for the ages, an engrossing mystery narrative, and a moving account of a man’s unbreakable bond with his family and of his struggles to save himself, Miracle Ball delivers both heart and headlines.
From the Hardcover edition.
Author John Holway has achieved more than anyone else in the attempts to attain recognition for the Negro Leagues and to help their most deserving stars gain their rightful places in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Holway sought out veterans of the Negro Leagues and recorded their recollections. He then conducted extensive research to confirm the stories with statistics from newspapers of the era. The result is a living history of the great black teams, acclaimed by The New York Times as "the closest we can come to seeing them." This revised edition features over eighty vintage photographs and a Foreword by baseball historian Frank Ceresi.
BOSTON GLOBE JANUARY 6, 1920
RED SOX SELL RUTH FOR $100,000 CASH
Demon Slugger of American League, Who Made 29 Home Runs Last Season, Goes to New York Yankees
FRAZEE TO BUY NEW PLAYERS
The Yankees vs. the Red Sox. Each baseball season begins and ends with unique intensity, focused on a single question: What's ahead for these two teams? One, the most glamorous, storied, and successful franchise in all of sports; the other, perennially star-crossed but equally rich in baseball history and legend. In The Rivals sports writers of The New York Times and The Boston Globe come together in the first-ever collaboration between the two cities' leading newspapers to tell the inside story of the teams' intertwined histories, each from the home team's perspective.
Beginning with the Red Sox's early glory days (when the Yankees were perennial losers), continuing through the Babe Ruth era and the notorious trade that made the Yankees champions (and marked the Sox with the so-called "Curse of the Bambino"); to Ted Williams vs. Joe DiMaggio; Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk; Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez; down to last year's legendary playoff showdown, The Rivals captures the drama of key eras, events, and personalities of both teams.
And who better to tell the story than the baseball writers of the two rival cities? For The New York Times, it's Dave Anderson, Harvey Araton, Jack Curry, Tyler Kepner, Robert Lipsyte and George Vecsey who report on the Yankee view of the rivalry, while The Boston Globe
loch's Gordon Edes, Jackie MacMullan, Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy recount the view from the Hub. And their stories are richly illustrated with classic photographs and original articles from the archives, capturing the great moments as they happened. For Red Sox fans, Yankees fans, or anyone interested in remarkable baseball history, The Rivals is an expert, up-close look at the longest, and fiercest of all sports rivalries.
Featuring more than 100 captivating photos, many published here for the first time, Milwaukee Braves preserves the Braves' legacy for the team's many fans and introduces new generations to a fascinating chapter in sports history.
Reconstructing the culture and experience of early baseball through a careful reading of the sporting press, baseball guides, and the correspondence of the player-manager Harry Wright, Warren Goldstein discovers the origins of many modern controversies during the game's earliest decades.
The 20th Anniversary Edition of Goldstein's classic includes information about the changes that have occurred in the history of the sport since the 1980s and an account of his experience as a scholarly consultant during the production of Ken Burns's Baseball.
It was a time before runaway salaries and designated hitters. Before divisional playoffs and drug suspensions. Before teams measured their well-being by the number of corporate boxes in their ballpark and the cable contract in their pocket. It was the last season of baseball’s most colorful and nostalgic period.
It was surely not a more innocent time. The 1968 Tigers were a team of hell-raisers, the second coming of the Gas House Gang. They brawled on the field and partied hard afterward. They bickered with each other and ignored their manager. They won game after game with improbable rallies on their last at-bat and grabbed the World Championship by coming back from a three games to one deficit to beat the most dominant pitcher in the World Series history in the deciding seventh game.
Their ultimate hero, Mickey Lolich, was a man who threw left-handed, thought “upside down,” and rode motorcycles to the ballpark. Their thirty-game winner, Denny McLain, played the organ in various night spots, placed bets over the clubhouse phone, and incidentally, overpowered the American League. Their prize pinch-hitter, Gates Brown, had done hard time in the Ohio Penitentiary. Their top slugger, Willie Horton, would have rather been boxing. Their centerfielder, Mickey Stanley, a top defensive outfielder, would unselfishly volunteer to play the biggest games of his life at shortstop, so that their great outfielder, Al Kaline, could get into the World Series lineup.
The story of this team, their triumph, and what happened in their lives afterward, is one of the great dramas of baseball history.
The Tigers of ’68 is the uproarious, stirring tale of this team, the last to win a pure pennant (before each league was divided into two divisions and playoffs were added) and World Series. Award-winning journalist George Cantor, who covered the Tigers that year for the Detroit Free Press, revisits the main performers on the team and then weaves their memories and stories (warts and all) into an absorbing narrative that revives all of the delicious—and infamous—moments that made the season unforgettable. Tommy Matchick’s magical ninth-inning home run, Jim Northrup’s record-setting grand slams, Jon Warden’s torrid April, Dick McAuliffe’s charge to the mound, Denny McLain’s gift to Mickey Mantle, the nearly unprecedented comeback in the World Series, and dozens more.
The ’68 Tigers occupy a special place in the history of the city of Detroit. They’ve joined their predecessors of 1935 as an almost mythic unit—more than a baseball team. The belief has passed into Detroit folklore. Many people swear, as Willie Horton says, that they were “put here by God to save the city.” The Tigers of ’68 will help you understand why.
With a swift bat and fierce athleticism, Roberto Clemente intimidated major league pitchers for eighteen seasons, compiling three thousand hits. His legs were among the quickest of his era. His throwing arm was one of the strongest, gunning down base runners from right field with incredible frequency. He would spend a career fighting for respect and finally achieve it after a historic World Series performance and a second half of a career that would have him mentioned with greats like Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle.
But what Roberto Clemente did off the field made him an equally great humanitarian. One of the first athletes who understood how the power of sports could be used to transform not just a handful of lives but many thousands of them, he would die following his heart and conscience by helping others. Clemente was on an aircraft loaded with supplies for an earthquake-stricken Nicaragua when the plane crashed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Forty years after that tragic day, the widow and sons of this regal athlete and consummate humanitarian open up for the first time about the husband and father they lost. Featuring an extensive array of rare and never-before-seen photos of Clemente on the field and off, this powerful memoir tells his inspiring story from the voices of those who knew him best.