It seems like throughout baseball history, each decade has had one season that stands out more than the others. Dynasties come and go, Superstars rise and fall and our country follows along as well. The 1960’s were by far one of the most turbulent times in modern American history. The world was a changing place, and baseball never one to be far behind society, was changing as well. Today’s book takes a look at one of those turbulent years in both society and baseball.
1968 has been coined as the year of the pitcher. Miniscule ERA’s and lower batting averages produced rule changes that have withstood to modern times. America was a changing place as well, so it was no surprise that the national pastime was part of the changes. What transpired in the summer of 1968 was the end of an era in baseball and ushered in changes that would help shape the future of our game.
Tim Wendel has written another winner with Summer of 68. The book starts by taking an overall look at the state of baseball in 1968. Starting out in spring training you see what shape the game was in and get a good feeling of where it was heading that year. The overall main focus of the book though is the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers. These two teams would eventually meet in the World Series that year. You get an in-depth look at both teams. Who they were, how the functioned and how the both were great successes on the field that year.
Intertwined in the journey of a baseball season the author shows how the societal landscape of the United States was changing. You see how the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. effected the country and both of the baseball teams as well. The reader is shown how the home cities these teams were part of, were turned into war zones. You can feel the frustration of a generation coming out in the summer of 1968. The book gives a very good look at a bygone era and what transpired in our country to change the world that we live in today. It is a nice balance between baseball and society. The book is of course heavier handed in the baseball subject, but still gives you enough of the outside world to see how it effected the players within the game.
Tim Wendel did a very nice job with this book. If you were not able to witness 1968 first hand, it gives you not only a history lesson, but also a feel for what the world was like back then. You get to see the ups and downs that have shaped our world and made both our country and sport the greatest in the world. Baseball fans will enjoy this one, no matter what team you choose to root for.
You can get this book from the nice folks at DaCapo Press
Nostalgia can be a wonderful thing. It can take you back to a cherished memory, or a wretched heartbreak. The beautiful thing about nostalgia is it becomes whatever you want it to be. Sometimes it becomes greater than it really was. Today’s book does just that for me.
The 1991 World Series, more accurately Game 7 of the 1991 World Series is considered by many to be an all time classic. What Game 7 means to each fan is a totally different and personal thing. To me it takes me back to my college days sitting around watching the game with all my friends. I didn’t have a dog in that World Series fight but it created a cherished memory for me that night none the less. Tonight’s choice I think is now obvious…….
Down To The Last Pitch
By:Tim Wendel – 2014
I was very surprised by this book. What I expected and what I got were two totally different things. What I expected was a book that detailed every move made in every game which I got. I also expected analyzation of all the moves that were made and ones not made, which I got as well. And also I expected the awnswers to the questions of who, what, when, where, how and why two teams that were in last place the year before wound up in the World Series. Which of course I got as well.
But what I didn’t expect was showing the reader how this World Series and those specific seven games fit into the entire realm of baseball lore in 1991. You have to remember this was fresh off the Pete Rose Scandal (Yes I think he should be in the Hall of Fame), on the doorstep of skyrocketing player salaries and not so far down the road a MLBPA strike that would cancel the 1994 World Series. The author takes you through each of these things and shows you what other events transpired during that year (1991). Then he shows you if and why it had any effect on the game of baseball itself, the World Series and any ramifications that came from those said events.
Now keep in mind this book does get written Twenty plus years after the events happened. So it makes it easier to see how each event of that season may have intertwined and created the end results. At the given time I don’t think there were very many of us thinking…”Hey we are watching something really important here”. Unless you had a time machine and could see the significance this game would have, it was just another Game 7. While they don’t come along as often as we would like we still knew, in the end, someone was going to lose and someone crowned a champion.
Whether you are a fan of the Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves or just enjoy the World Series as an event, you will enjoy this book. The only problems with this book for me was the talk about the passing of Kirby Puckett. The game lost a great one with that guy. That seemed a little out-of-place because you find yourself enthralled in the story and almost upbeat comparing your memories of the game to the authors writings. The only other issue I had with it was it tended to bounce around to another subject at odd times. Midway through the chapter about Game 1, it bounced to a story about the author working at USA Today three years prior. It really had no link to that part of, or even the overall story. It just seemed there was a better way to make those transitions if that was something they wanted to keep in the storyline.
Overall Tim Wendel did a good job with this book. It brought back a lot of good memories for me of that Sunday night, many moons ago when I had less grey hair. It definitely takes you back to a day long gone by and almost makes you wish you were still there when they were …….down to the last pitch.
You can get this book from the nice folks at DaCapo Press http://www.dacapopress.com