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Swinging '73: Baseball's Wildest Seasonby Matthew Silverman
Synopses & Reviews
In 1973, new rules changed baseball, and three legendary teams thrived by playing by their own rules.
Interest and attendance were dropping, and football was ascending. Stuck in a rut, baseball was sinking. Then George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, a second-division relic with wife-swapping pitchers, leaving the House That Ruth Built not with a slam but a simper. He vowed not to interfere—and then did just that. Across town, Tom Seaver led the Mets stellar pitching line-up, and iconic outfielder Willie Mays was preparing to say goodbye. But for months, Yogi Berras boys couldnt get it right. Meanwhile, across the country, maverick owner Charlie O. Finley was fighting to keep the hirsute As underpaid.
But beyond the muttonchops and mayhem lay another world. Elvis commanded a larger audience than the Apollo landings. A Dodge Dart cost $2,800, and gas 38 cents per gallon. Vietnam had ended, the vice president resigned, Watergate had taken over, and a fiscal crisis loomed. It was one of the most exciting years in baseball history, the first with the designated hitter and the last before arbitration and free agency. The two World Series opponents went head-to-head above the baby steps of a juggernaut that soon dwarfed both league champions. It was a turbulent time for the country and the game, neither of which would ever be the same again.
The incredible year that baseball got the designated hitter, wife-swapping pitchers, world champion A’s, and Willie Mays said goodbye to America
Baseball as we know it today was born in 1973. Attendance was dropping; interest was flagging; and the game, stuck in a rut, was dying. Then Steinbrenner bought the Yankees—but these were the Yanks that no one talks about: a second division club with wife-swapping pitchers. Across town, the Mets, with Tom Seaver and Willie Mays managed by Yogi Berra, couldn’t get it right, but it wasn’t over till it was over. Across the country, the A’s were breaking rules while their maverick owner, Charlie Finley, was fighting to keep them underpaid. See the muttonchops and Technicolor uniforms of the day, and get know the players inside those uniforms and the times in which they lived. Elvis drew a larger audience than the Apollo landings. A Dodge Dart cost $2,800; gas was a quarter per gallon. Computers were the size of a locker room, and a fiscal crisis was looming over Vietnam, Watergate, an oil embargo, and the resignation of the vice president. Relive one of the most exciting years in the history of the game, the first with the designated hitter and the last before the first free agent, then watch the two World Series opponents go head to head above the baby steps of a dynasty that soon dwarfed both league champions. It was a turbulent time both for the country and the game, neither of which would ever be the same again.
The incredible year that baseball got the designated hitter, wife-swapping pitchers, world champion As, and Willie Mays said goodbye to America.
About the Author
Matthew Silverman has written or co-written nine books on baseball. Formerly the associate publisher for Total Sports Publishing and a longtime member of the Society of Baseball Research, he was lead writer, editor, and spokesman for Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia. He blogs regularly at MetSilverman.com.
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