There are certain seasons that stand out from others. Perhaps it is a historical event that happened during that particular year, a team that overcame great odds or even a year of monumental changes that may be hard to recognize without the use of hind sight. 1972 is one of those years that on the surface while it was happening, the participants really were not living it going this is something great we are doing here. It was a year that was plop in the middle of the time when the players union was starting to be a formidable force within the game, as well as a noticeable change in society’s values. Time where authority was being challenged, inflation was starting to run rampant and in the public’s eyes baseball would start moving from just a game to a business. Today’s book takes a look at the one pivotal year within this decade of change and shows some of the signs that people may have missed that the game was changing.
1972 offered some interesting things to baseball fans. Rosters were jammed full of future Hall of Famers, some at the beginnings of their careers and sadly other at the end, but when the bell would ring, still able to bring it. It was the first year the Player Union made enough noise to institute a strike and cost MLB owners some games, showing that Marvin Miller was not going to go away quietly as they had hoped. Salaries were on the move up and players were going from needing to have extra income in the off-season(second job) to living comfortably all year on their baseball earnings. On the field the most amazing thing happened was that the Oakland A’s run by the miserly Charlie Finley won the first of their three straight World Series titles. But at the time nobody realized what they were about to witness. Facing the straight laced Cincinnati Reds led by Pete Rose they knocked off their first title and showed the baseball world that the guys with their long hair and mustaches had finally arrived.
Ed Gruver’s new book takes the reader through the changing times in baseball during the 1972 season. Looking back on that year from our comfy couches in 2016, the big headlines that year was the 1972 World Series between the A’s and the Reds. Essentially a clash between old school baseball and new world values. On the field it was all old school baseball but off the field the Oakland A’s were a sight glass into the changing norms of society. Clothing, attitude and rules were all up for debate as far as the rowdy A’s were concerned.
The author also does a great job at covering at the different teams that made a splash during the 1972 season. The Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates and St Louis Cardinals all had seasons to remember on the field and some individuals made headlines as well. Willie Mays made triumphant return to the New York by joining the Mets, Hank Aaron was making headlines almost every day in his chase of Babe Ruth’s career home run mark and Dick Allen was singlehandedly saving the Chicago White Sox franchise on the way to winning the American League MVP trophy. It gives the reader a good look of what was going on around baseball beyond just the World Series participants. It shows the up and downs of other teams that before the decade was out would create their own histories.
This book gives you a great feel of what being part of 1972 was all about and how to some degree it was the changing of the guard within baseball. Old school baseball thinking versus new school societal ways created some tumultuous times and 1972 was the tipping point. I always enjoy these books that pick a single year and dissect all the important events. We have seen this type of book in Dan Epstein’s book about the 1976 season, Stars & Strikes and TimWendel’s Summer of ’68. Those books like this one, segregate that one season and look at the effects that it may have had on other seasons down the line. These are great tools for fans who were not able to be there the first time around, but want to know the ins and outs of that season and what made it so special.
This book is published by the University of Nebraska press and the last book I recently did by them was in my opinion not up to their normal editing standards from a factual standpoint. I am glad to say this book has raised the bar back up to their normal standards for the most part, but did have one easily verifiable mistake that drove me crazy, and as a Phillies fan it made me even crazier. The book states that Dick Allen was the first black player ever on the Phillies when he debuted in 1963. That would be three years after the last team integrated in Major League Baseball. For the Phillies the first player of color was John Kennedy in 1957. Other than that there was nothing substantial in the error department.
If you are a fan of this era you should enjoy it. It does start out a little slow and does offer a bit too much game play by play in spots but the product as a whole reads well. You get a new appreciation for 1972, because this year is an integral part of a larger era and sometimes gets overlooked when examined as part of the greater time frame.
You can get this book from the nice folks at the University of Nebraska Press
Managers are an interesting breed. Their job security is virtually non-existent from the day they are hired, and they are second guessed on a regular basis. No matter what moves they make on the field, someone in the stands, on the team or in the front office will disagree with them. Like with most things in life, the cream of the crop usually rises to the top and Buck Showalter is no exception. Everywhere he has managed he has had some sort of measured success, but has never been able to make it all the way to the World Series. His most recent stop with the Baltimore Orioles to date has been without a doubt successful and will more than likely get him his ring. Today’s book takes a look at the methods, both on and off the field, that have brought the Orioles out of the basement of the A.L. East.
Skipper Supreme takes the reader through a journey that Orioles fans are ecstatic that they have been able to be a part of. It shows how Buck Showalter’s people skills and feel for the game have rebuilt a franchise that was bottom feeding for a long time. Much like fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the people in Baltimore were desperate for some light at the end of Camden Yards and with Buck at the helm the finally got one.
This book shows reader step by step how methodically Baltimore has re-built themselves into a serious contender. How through strong historical values, smart personnel moves and a little luck, this group of players have breathed life back into the city of Baltimore. The Orioles are the poster children for a good mix between old school baseball thinking and new school metrics.
If you are a fan of the Orioles, this book is right up your alley. 99% of the book is about the O’s march back to respectability. If you are looking for a full-on autobiography on Buck Showalter you will be disappointed. They don’t in any detail touch on his time with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks or Texas Rangers. They are mentioned in passing but nothing of great substance. This book is all Baltimore …..all the time.
Considering the authors are both Baltimore writers I get the reasoning as to why the book is this way. It is their hometown civic pride shining through. The Orioles finally have a team worth talking about and they don’t want them getting lost in the story lines of the larger market teams. Buck Showalter should be highly commended for his turnaround of that franchise and the authors do a very nice job of giving him and his players the credit they deserve. Orioles fans will enjoy their time spent reading this book, without question. Now next, I would like to see someone write a true Buck Showalter biography and give us some more details about the Skipper Supreme.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing
I will admit that I am not an easy person to impress. I can spot flaws in a lot of things, and usually it is about something that most people would never give a second thought to. Call me picky, difficult or any number of adjectives, you have to work pretty hard to make me go wow. I have looked at books from Insight Editions on this blog before, and they made me go wow. They now have another book out that is making me have the same reaction……..again!
The Baltimore Orioles were created from the charred remains of the St. Louis Browns for the 1954 season. A legacy left behind in St Louis of ineptness and failure, the Baltimore Orioles hoped that a new beginning would bring forth success and happier times. Welcomed by the fans of Baltimore, the Orioles embarked on a love affair with the city that has created remarkable memories and seen some pretty great players pass through that town.
Insight Editions has published a new book that marks the 60th anniversary of the Orioles coming to Baltimore. Author Jim Henneman walks you through the rich history that has been created in Baltimore along with some monumental moments in baseball history. It takes a journey starting in 1954 with manager Jimmy Dykes, and brings you to the present, visiting with superstars such as Brooks and Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and some other fellow named Ripken.
The book is broken into several era’s of Orioles history and shows what unfolded in each decade. From World Series triumphs, through the changing of the guard on the field at the end of each era, you get a complete look at the Orioles history in Baltimore. You also get some incredible pictures of Cal Ripken Jr’s breaking of Lou Gehrig’s record in 1996. How many of us, when we think of the Orioles reflect back on that moment? Through a couple of ball parks, a few generations of employees, players and a few thousand games, you get the complete picture of what the Orioles have accomplished in Baltimore, and also get a feel as to what they mean to the fans in Baltimore.
As with the other baseball team books that Insight Editions has produced, they have made this one a pop-up book for adults. By that I mean, they have included folders in the book with postcards of special moments in Orioles history, ticket stubs from World Series games, actual copies of letters from fans and a few other cool surprises. They really out-do themselves with these types of books and this one does not disappoint in any way.
Orioles fans should check this out to re-live some of the great moments in Baltimore Orioles history. Non-Orioles fans should also check it out because it gives a very valuable history lesson of the franchise that has produced some great players and even greater memories for us all.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Insight Editions