Synopses & Reviews
Of all the teams in the annals of baseball, only a select few can lay claim to historic significance. One of those teams is the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, the first racially integrated Major League team of the twentieth century. The addition of Jackie Robinson to its roster changed not only baseball but also the nation. Yet Robinson was just one member of that memorable club, which included Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Pete Reiser, Duke Snider, Eddie Stanky, Arky Vaughan, and Dixie Walker. Also present was a quartet of baseballand#8217;s most unforgettable characters: co-owners Branch Rickey and Walter Oand#8217;Malley, suspended manager Leo Durocher, and radio announcer Red Barber.
This book is the first to offer biographies of everyone on that incomparable team as well as accounts of the moments and events that marked the Dodgersand#8217; 1947 season: Commissioner Happy Chandler suspending Durocher, Rickey luring his old friend Burt Shotton out of retirement to replace Durocher, and brilliant outfielder Reiser being sidelined after running into a fence. In spite of all this, the Dodgers went on to win the National League pennant over the heavily favored St. Louis Cardinals. And of course, there is the biggest story of the season, where history and biography coalesce: Jackie Robinson, who overcame widespread hostility to become Rookie of the Yearand#8212;and to help the Dodgers set single-game attendance records in cities around the National League.
Chicago in the Roaring Twenties was a city of immigrants, mobsters, and flappers with one shared passion: the Chicago Cubs. It all began when the chewing-gum tycoon William Wrigley decided to build the worldand#8217;s greatest ball club in the nationand#8217;s Second City. In this Jazz Age center, the maverick Wrigley exploited the revolutionary technology of broadcasting to attract eager throngs of women to his renovated ballpark.
Mr. Wrigleyand#8217;s Ball Club transports us to this heady era of baseball history and introduces the team at its crazy heartand#8212;an amalgam of rakes, pranksters, schemers, and choirboys who take center stage in memorable successes, equally memorable disasters, and shadowy intrigue. Readers take front-row seats to meet Grover Cleveland Alexander, Rogers Hornsby, Joe McCarthy, Lewis and#8220;Hackand#8221; Wilson, Gabby Hartnett. The cast of characters also includes their colorful if less-extolled teammates and the Cubsand#8217; nemesis, Babe Ruth, who terminates the ambitions of Mr. Wrigleyand#8217;s ball club with one emphatic swing.
From the sandlots of San Francisco to the power centers of baseball, this book tells the story of Joe Cronin, one of twentieth-century baseballand#8217;s major players, both on the field and off.
and#160;For most of his playing career, Cronin (1906and#8211;84) was the best shortstop in baseball. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956, he was a manager by the age of twenty-six and a general manager at forty-one. He was the youngest player-manager ever to play in the World Series, and he managed the Red Sox longer than any other man in history. As president of the American League, he oversaw two expansions, four franchise shifts, and the revolutionary and controversial introduction of the designated-hitter rule, which he wrote himself.
and#160;This book follows Cronin from his humble beginnings to his position as one of the most powerful figures in baseball. Mark Armour explores Croninand#8217;s time as a player as well as his role in some of the gameand#8217;s fiercest controversies, from the creation of the All-Star Game to the issue of integration. Bringing to life one of baseballand#8217;s definitive characters, this book supplies a crucial and fascinating chapter in the history of Americaand#8217;s pastime.
In November 1934 as the United States and Japan drifted toward war, a team of American League all-stars that included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, future secret agent Moe Berg, and Connie Mack barnstormed across the Land of the Rising Sun. Hundreds of thousands of fans, many waving Japanese and American flags, welcomed the team with shouts of and#8220;Banzai! Banzai
, Babe Ruth!and#8221; The all-stars stayed for a month, playing 18 games, spawning professional baseball in Japan, and spreading goodwill.
Politicians on both sides of the Pacific hoped that the amity generated by the tourand#8212;and the two nationsand#8217; shared love of the gameand#8212;could help heal their growing political differences. But the Babe and baseball could not overcome Japanand#8217;s growing nationalism, as a bloody coup dand#8217;and#233;tat by young army officers and an assassination attempt by the ultranationalist War Gods Society jeopardized the tourand#8217;s success. A tale of international intrigue, espionage, attempted murder, and, of course, baseball, Banzai Babe Ruth is the first detailed account of the doomed attempt to reconcile the United States and Japan through the 1934 All American baseball tour. Robert K. Fitts provides a wonderful story about baseball, nationalism, and American and Japanese cultural history.
When Major League Baseball first expanded in 1961 with the addition of the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators, it started a trend that saw the number of franchises almost double, from sixteen to thirty, while baseball attendance grew by 44 percent. The story behind this staggering growth, told for the first time in Baseballand#8217;s New Frontier
, is full of twists and unexpected turns, intrigue, and, in some instances, treachery. From the desertion of New York by the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants to the ever-present threat of antitrust legislation, from the backroom deals and the political posturing to the impact of the upstart Continental League, the book takes readers behind the scenes and into baseballand#8217;s decision-making process.
Fran Zimniuch gives a lively team-by-team chronicle of how the franchises were awarded, how existing teams protected their players, and what the new teamsand#8217; winning (or losing) strategies were. With its account of great players, notable characters, and the changing fortunes of teams over the years, the book supplies a vital chapter in the history of Major League Baseball.and#160;
Many fans donand#8217;t know how far the Jewish presence in baseball extends beyond a few famous players such as Greenberg, Rosen, Koufax, Holtzman, Green, Ausmus, Youkilis, Braun, and Kinsler. In fact,and#160;that presence extends to the baseball commissioner Bud Selig; labor leaders Marvin Miller and Don Fehr; owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Stuart Sternberg; officials Theo Epstein and Mark Shapiro; sportswriters Murray Chass, Ross Newhan, Ira Berkow, and Roger Kahn; and even famous Jewish baseball fans like Alan Dershowitz and Barney Frank.
The life stories of these and many others, on and off the field, have been compiled from nearly fifty in-depth interviews and arranged by decade in this edifying and entertaining work of oral and cultural history. In American Jews and Americaand#8217;s Game each person talks about growing up Jewish and dealing with Jewish identity, assimilation, intermarriage, future viability, religious observance, anti-Semitism, and Israel. Their stories tell the history, as never before, of the larger-than-life role of Jews in Americaand#8217;s pastime.
WINNER OF THE 2014 SEYMOUR MEDAL sponsored by the Society for American Baseball Research; Finalist for 2014 SABR Larry Ritter Award
Though his pitching career lasted only a few seasons, Howard Ellsworth and#8220;Smoky Joeand#8221; Wood was one of the most dominating figures in baseball historyand#8212;a man many consider the best baseball player who is not in the Hall of Fame. About his fastball, Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson once said: and#8220;Listen, mister, no man alive can throw harder than Smoky Joe Wood.and#8221;and#160;
Smoky Joe Wood chronicles the singular life befitting such a baseball legend. Wood got his start impersonating a female on the National Bloomer Girls team. A natural athlete, he pitched for the Boston Red Sox at eighteen, won twenty-one games and threw a no-hitter at twenty-one, and had a 34-5 record plus three wins in the 1912 World Series, for a 1.91 ERA, when he was just twenty-two. Then in 1913 Wood suffered devastating injuries to his right hand and shoulder that forced him to pitch in pain for two more years. After sitting out the 1916 season, he came back as a converted outfielder and played another five years for the Cleveland Indians before retiring to coach the Yale University baseball team.
With details culled from interviews and family archives, this biography, the first of this rugged player of the Deadball Era, brings to life one of the genuine characters of baseball history.
One of the most influential and controversial team owners in professional sports history, Walter Oand#8217;Malley (1903and#8211;79) is best rememberedand#8212;and still reviled by manyand#8212;for moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Yet much of the Oand#8217;Malley story leading up to the Dodgersand#8217; move is unknown or created from myth, and there is substantially more to the man. When he entered the public eye, the self-constructed family background and early life he presented was gilded. Later his personal story was distorted by some New York sportswriters, who hated him for moving the Dodgers.and#160;and#160;
and#160;In Mover and Shaker Andy McCue presents for the first time an objective, complete, and nuanced account of Oand#8217;Malleyand#8217;s life. He also departs from the overly sentimentalized accounts of Oand#8217;Malley as either villain or angel and reveals him first and foremost as a rational, hardheaded businessman, who was a major force in baseball for three decades and whose management and marketing practices radically changed the shape of the game.
The Golden Game
presents in words and pictures 150 years of baseball history, from sandlot ball in the 1850s and the Pacific Coast League to the western arrival of the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Athletics, and Padres. Here is a stirring, colorfully written narrative about the state that has been the birthplace and proving ground for more Major Leaguers than any other, including Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Jackie Robinson. Blending U.S. and California history as a backdrop to a narrative rich with anecdotes, The Golden Game
reveals the significant impact that California has had on baseball history.
Written not just for Californians but for all baseball fans, The Golden Game goes beyond its geographic boundaries to tell the fascinating saga of California baseball and how it has indelibly shaped the national pastime.
The 1954 Cleveland Indians were one of the most remarkable baseball teams of all time. Their record for most wins (111) fell only when the baseball schedule expanded, and their winning percentage, an astounding .721, is still unsurpassed in the American League. Though the season ended with a heartbreaking loss to the New York Giants in the World Series, the 1954 team remains a favorite among Cleveland fans and beyond.
Pitching to the Pennant commemorates the and#8217;54 Indians with a biographical sketch of the entire team, from the and#8220;Big Threeand#8221; pitching staff (Mike Garcia and future Hall of Famers Bob Lemon and Early Wynn), through notable players such as Bobby Avila, Bob Feller, Larry Doby, and Al Rosen, to manager Al Lopez, his coaches, and the Indiansand#8217; broadcast team. There are also stories about Cleveland Stadium and the 1954 All-Star Game (which the team hosted), as well as a season timeline and a firsthand account of Game One of the World Series at the Polo Grounds. Pitching to the Pennant features the superb writing and research of members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), making this book a must for all Indians fans and baseball aficionados.
The 1975 Cincinnati Reds, also known as the and#8220;Big Red Machine,and#8221; are not just one of the most memorable teams in baseball historyand#8212;they are unforgettable. While the Reds dominated the National League from 1972 to 1976, it was the and#8217;75 team that surpassed them all, winning 108 games and beating the Boston Red Sox in a thrilling 7-game World Series. Led by Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson, the teamand#8217;s roster included other legends such as Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Pand#233;rez, Ken Griffey Sr., and Dave Concepciand#243;n. The 1975 Reds were notably disciplined and clean-cut, which distinguished them from the increasingly individualistic players of the day.
and#160;The Great Eight commemorates the people and events surrounding this outstanding baseball team with essays on team management and key aspects and highlights of the season, including Pete Roseand#8217;s famous position change. This volume gives Reds fans complete biographies of all the teamand#8217;s players, relives the enthralling 1975 season, and celebrates a team that is consistently ranked as one of the best teams in baseball history.
By 1964 the storied St. Louis Cardinals had gone seventeen years without so much as a pennant. Things began to turn around in 1953, when August A. Busch Jr. bought the team and famously asked where all the black players were. Under the leadership of men like Bing Devine and Johnny Keane, the Cardinals began signing talented players regardless of color, and slowly their star started to rise again.
Drama and Pride in the Gateway City commemorates the team that Bing Devine built, the 1964 team that prevailed in one of the tightest three-way pennant races of all time and then went on to win the World Series, beating the New York Yankees in the full seven games. All the men come alive in these pagesand#8212;pitchers Ray Sadecki and Bob Gibson, players Lou Brock, Curt Flood, and Bobby Shantz, manager Johnny Keane, his coaches, the Cardinalsand#8217; broadcasters, and Bill White, who would one day run the entire National Leagueand#8212;along with the dramatic events that made the 1964 Cardinals such a memorable club in a memorable year.
With a seemingly effortless motion, pinpoint control, a blazing, dancing fastball, and an unequaled competitive spirit, Robin Roberts enjoyed one of the most celebrated careers in baseball history. He made his Major League debut in the summer of 1948 and became one of the most notable sports figures of the fifties. His many accomplishments on the mound helped to make him one of the more distinguished residents of Cooperstown, and he will always be remembered as the most dominant National League pitcher of his time.
In addition, Roberts was as impressive a storyteller as he was an athlete, and his experiences and encounters leading up to, throughout, and following his incredible nineteen-year career made for an extraordinary life. Throwing Hard Easy is Robertsand#8217;s own account, recalling his childhood, his playing days, and life after baseball. This edition features new photographs and a new foreword by his son, James Roberts, as well as a new introduction by his coauthor and lifelong fan, C. Paul Rogers III.
Eddie Robinsonandrsquo;s career lasted sixty-five years and spanned the era before and during World War II, integration, the organization of the players union, expansion, use of artificial turf, free agency, labor stoppages, and even the steroid era. He was a Minor League player, a Major League player, a coach, a farm director, a general manager, a scout, and a consultant. During his six and a half decades in baseball, he knew, played with or against, or worked for or with many of baseballandrsquo;s greats, including Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Bob Feller, Rogers Hornsby, Mickey Mantle, Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker, George Steinbrenner, Casey Stengel, Bill Veeck, and Ted Williams.and#160;The lively autobiography of Robinson, Lucky Me highlights a career that touched all aspects of the game from player to coach to front-office executive and scout. In it Robinson reveals for the first time that the 1948 Cleveland Indians stole the oppositionandrsquo;s signs with the use of a telescope in their drive to the pennant. This edition features a new afterword by C. Paul Rogers III.
Of all the New York Yankees championship teams, the 1947 club seemed the least likely. Bridging the gap between the dynasties of Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel, the team, managed by Bucky Harris, was coming off three non-pennant-winning seasons and given little chance to unseat the defending American League champion Boston Red Sox. And yet, led by Joe DiMaggio, this un-Yankees-like squad of rookies, retreads, and a few solid veterans easily won the pennant over the Detroit Tigers and the heavily favored Red Sox, along the way compiling an American Leagueand#8211;record nineteen-game winning streak. They then went on to defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers in a dramatic seven-game World Series that was the first to be televised and the first to feature an African American player.
Bridging Two Dynasties commemorates this historic cluband#8212;the players, on the field and off, and the events surrounding their remarkable season. Along with player biographies, including those of future Hall of Famers DiMaggio, Bucky Harris, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto, the book features a seasonal timeline and covers pertinent topics such as the winning streak, the Yankeesand#8217; involvement in Leo Durocherand#8217;s suspension, and the thrilling World Series.
Berra, Rizzuto, Lasorda, Torre, Conigliaro, Santo, Piazza. Casual baseball fansand#8212;in fact, even many nonfansand#8212;know these names, not as Italian Americans but as some of the most colorful figures in Major League Baseball. Ever since future Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri became a key part of the Yankeesand#8217; Murderersand#8217; Row lineup of 1926, Italian Americans have been among the most prominent and intriguing players in the game. The first comprehensive study of the topic, Beyond DiMaggio
is also a social history of baseball, tracing the evolution of American perceptions toward those of Italian descent as it chronicles the baseball exploits that influenced those perceptions.
Lawrence Baldassaro tells the stories of Italian Americansand#8217; contributions to the game, from Joe DiMaggio, who transcended his ethnic identity to become an American icon, to A. Bartlett Giamatti, who served as commissioner of baseball, to Mike Piazza, considered the greatest hitting catcher ever. Baldassaro conducted more than fifty interviews with players, coaches, managers, and executivesand#8212;some with careers dating back to the thirtiesand#8212;in order to put all these figures and their stories into the historical context of baseball, Italian Americans, and, finally, the culture of American sports.
About the Author
Eddie Robinson, a four-time American League All-Star, played in two World Series, was general manager of the Atlanta Braves and the Texas Rangers, and was involved in the formation of the players union. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas. C. Paul Rogers III is a professor of law and former dean of the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law and coauthor of several books, including Throwing Hard Easy: Reflections of a Life in Baseball (Nebraska, 2014), with Robin Roberts. Tom Grieve is a former Texas Rangers general manager and is currently a Rangers broadcaster. Bobby Brown is a former New York Yankees third baseman, a retired cardiologist, and a former president of the American League.