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The Fight of Their Lives: How Juan Marichal and John Roseboro Turned Baseball's Ugliest Brawl Into a Story of Forgiveness and Redemptionby John Rosengren
Synopses & Reviews
One Sunday afternoon in August 1965, on a day when baseballs most storied rivals, the Giants and Dodgers, vied for the pennant, the national pastime reflected the tensions in society and nearly sullied two men forever. Juan Marichal, a Dominican anxious about his familys safety during the civil war back home, and John Roseboro, a black man living in South Central L.A. shaken by the Watts riots a week earlier, attacked one another in a moment immortalized by an iconic photo: Marichals bat poised to strike Roseboros head.
The violent moment-uncharacteristic of either man-linked the two forever and haunted both. Much like John Feinsteins The Punch, The Fight of Their Lives examines the incident in its context and aftermath, only in this story the two men eventually reconcile and become friends, making theirs an unforgettable tale of forgiveness and redemption.
The book also explores American culture and the racial prejudices against blacks and Latinos both men faced and surmounted. As two of the premiere ballplayers of their generation, they realized they had more to unite them than keep them apart.
"Arriving just in time for the opening of Spring Training, this dual-biography of San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro is told through the prism of a fateful Sunday in August 1965, when one man struck the other in the head with a baseball bat. Marichal's shocking and defiant act, which resulted in 14 stitches above Roseboro's left eye, occurred in the heat of a pennant race between bitter rivals, set against a violent backdrop of civil war in the pitcher's native Dominican Republic and the racially provoked Watts neighborhood riots in South Central Los Angeles. In alternating chapters, Rosengren (Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes) provides insightful context as he chronicles the surprisingly similar lives of both men — their childhoods in humble homes, their remarkable defensive skills on the field, the prejudices they faced as minorities in Major League Baseball's segregated culture of the 1960s, and the shared animosity they ultimately channeled into friendship and forgiveness. Hardcore fans will crave more details about each player's overall career, but those are available elsewhere. Rosengren's retelling, true to its title, pivots on one historic incident that overshadows the other, more significant accomplishments of both men. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The story of baseball’s most violent incident—August 22, 1965—when Giants pitcher Juan Marichal clobbered Dodgers catcher John Roseboro with his bat: the stories of the players, the American cultural backdrop, and the baseball competition and culture that led to the explosive moment, plus the incident’s lasting effects.
About the Author
John Rosengren is the award-winning author of eight books, including Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes and Blades of Glory: The True Story of a Young Team Bred to Win. His articles have appeared in Men's Journal, Reader's Digest, Runner's World, Sports Illustrated and Utne Reader, among other publications. A member of the Society for American Baseball Research and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, he lives in Minneapolis.
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