Synopses & Reviews
Dan Epstein scored a cult hit with Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging ‘70s. Now he returns with a riotous look at the most pivotal season of the decade.
America, 1976: colorful, complex, and combustible. It was a year of Bicentennial celebrations and presidential primaries, of Olympic glory and busing riots, of “killer bees” hysteria and Pong fever. For both the nation and the national pastime, the year was revolutionary, indeed. On the diamond, Thurman Munson led the New York Yankees to their first World Series in a dozen years, but it was Joe Morgan and Cincinnatis “Big Red Machine” who cemented a dynasty with their second consecutive World Championship. Sluggers Mike Schmidt and Dave Kingman dominated the headlines, while rookie sensation Mark “The Bird” Fidrych started the All-Star Game opposite Randy “Junkman” Jones. The season was defined by the outrageous antics of team owners Bill Veeck, Ted Turner, George Steinbrenner, and Charlie Finley, as well as by several memorable bench-clearing brawls, and a batting title race that became just as contentious as the presidential race.
From Dorthy Hamills “wedge” haircut to Kojaks chrome dome, American pop culture was never more giddily effervescent than in this year of Jimmy Carter, CB radios, AMC Pacers, The Bad News Bears, Rocky, Taxi Driver, the Ramones, KISS, Happy Days, Hotel California, and Frampton Comes Alive!---it all came alive in 76!
Meanwhile, as the nation erupted in a red-white-and-blue explosion saluting its two- hundredth year of independence, Major League Baseball players waged a war for their own liberties by demanding free agency. From the road to the White House to the shorts-wearing White Sox, Stars and Strikes tracks the tumultuous year after which the sport---and the nation---would never be the same.
From the noted authority on '70s baseball and pop culture comes this fun and funky chronicle of the decade's most eventful season.
America, 1976: colorful, complex, and combustible, a place of Bicentennial celebrations and busing riots, Olympic glory and Legionnaires Disease, Presidential turn-over and hi-fi turntables. And as the nation saluted the 200th birthday of its independence in a spectacle of festivities, Major League Baseball players waged a war for their own liberties, demanding free agency. For both the nation and its national pastime, the year would turn out revolutionary, indeed. On the diamond, the 1976 season witnessed the crowning of the Cincinnati “Big Red Machine” dynasty, George Steinbrenner's first World Series with the Yankees, and the heroics of Mike Schmidt, Mark Fidrych, and George Brett. American pop culture was never more fun than in this red-white-and-blue year of Jimmy Carter, Ted Turner, CB radios, The Bad News Bears, Rocky, Taxi Driver, the Ramones, Hotel California, and Frampton Comes Alive!—it all came alive in '76. Stars and Strikes tracks the tumultuous year from White House to shorts-wearing White Sox, chronicling a time on the eve of the disco era, after which the sport and the nation would never be the same.
Big Hair and Plastic Grass author Dan Epstein gives this storied year the book it deserves in Stars and Strikes, detailing the characters, events, and cultural forces behind the Spirit of '76.
About the Author
DAN EPSTEIN is an award-winning journalist, pop culture historian, and avid baseball fan who has written for Rolling Stone, SPIN, Mens Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, MOJO, Guitar World, Revolver, LA Weekly and dozens of other publications. He is the author of the acclaimed Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging ‘70s. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Play That Funky Music
Prologue: More Than A Feeling (October 14, 1976)
1. Lets Do It Again (November-December 1975)
2. Take It To The Limit (January 1976)
3. Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (February 1976)
4. Let ‘Em In (March 1976)
5. The Boys Are Back In Town (April 1976)
6. More More More (May 1976)
7. Strange Magic (June 1976)
8. Afternoon Delight (July 1976)
9. You Should Be Dancing (August 1976)
10. Dont Go Breaking My Heart (September 1976)
11. Still The One (October 1976)
12. Take the Money and Run (November 1976 and Beyond)