Cover image for Summer of '68 : the season that changed baseball-- and America-- forever
Title:
Summer of '68 : the season that changed baseball-- and America-- forever
Author:
Wendel, Tim.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Da Capo Press, 2012.
Physical Description:
xii, 272 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm
Summary:
Overview: From the beginning, '68 was a season rocked by national tragedy and sweeping change. Opening Day was postponed and later played in the shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral. That summer, as the pennant races were heating up, the assassination of Robert Kennedy was later followed by rioting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. But even as tensions boiled over and violence spilled into the streets, something remarkable was happening in major league ballparks across the country. Pitchers were dominating like never before, and with records falling and shut-outs mounting, many began hailing '68 as "The Year of the Pitcher." In Summer of '68, Tim Wendel takes us on a wild ride through a season that saw such legends as Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, Don Drysdale, and Luis Tiant set new standards for excellence on the mound, each chasing perfection against the backdrop of one of the most divisive and turbulent years in American history. For some players, baseball would become an insular retreat from the turmoil encircling them that season, but for a select few, including Gibson and the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, the conflicts of '68 would spur their performances to incredible heights and set the stage for their own run at history. Meanwhile in Detroit-which had burned just the summer before during one of the worst riots in American history- '68 instead found the city rallying together behind a colorful Tigers team led by McLain, Mickey Lolich, Willie Horton, and Al Kaline. The Tigers would finish atop the American League, setting themselves on a highly anticipated collision course with Gibson's Cardinals. And with both teams' seasons culminating in a thrilling World Series for the ages-one team playing to establish a dynasty, the other fighting to help pull a city from the ashes-what ultimately lay at stake was something even larger: baseball's place in a rapidly changing America that would never be the same. In vivid, novelistic detail, Summer of '68 tells the story of this unforgettable season-the last before rule changes and expansion would alter baseball forever-when the country was captivated by the national pastime at the moment it needed the game most.
Language:
English
Contents:
Preface -- Part 1: Bad Moon Rising -- Part 2: On The Brink Of A Dynasty -- Part 3: Eager For A Second Chance -- Part 4: Fire Down Below -- Part 5: Rewriting The Record Book -- Part 6: Great Confrontation -- Part 7: Never The Same Again -- Aftermath -- Acknowledgments -- Notes -- Bibliography -- Index.
ISBN:
9780306820182

9780306821837
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library GV863.A1 W446 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

The extraordinary story of the 1968 baseball season--when the game was played to perfection even as the country was being pulled apart at the seams

From the beginning, '68 was a season rocked by national tragedy and sweeping change. Opening Day was postponed and later played in the shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral. That summer, as the pennant races were heating up, the assassination of Robert Kennedy was later followed by rioting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. But even as tensions boiled over and violence spilled into the streets, something remarkable was happening in major league ballparks across the country. Pitchers were dominating like never before, and with records falling and shut-outs mounting, many began hailing '68 as "The Year of the Pitcher."

In Summer of '68 , Tim Wendel takes us on a wild ride through a season that saw such legends as Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, Don Drysdale, and Luis Tiant set new standards for excellence on the mound, each chasing perfection against the backdrop of one of the most divisive and turbulent years in American history. For some players, baseball would become an insular retreat from the turmoil encircling them that season, but for a select few, including Gibson and the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, the conflicts of '68 would spur their performances to incredible heights and set the stage for their own run at history.

Meanwhile in Detroit--which had burned just the summer before during one of the worst riots in American history--'68 instead found the city rallying together behind a colorful Tigers team led by McLain, Mickey Lolich, Willie Horton, and Al Kaline. The Tigers would finish atop the American League, setting themselves on a highly anticipated collision course with Gibson's Cardinals. And with both teams' seasons culminating in a thrilling World Series for the ages--one team playing to establish a dynasty, the other fighting to help pull a city from the ashes--what ultimately lay at stake was something even larger: baseball's place in a rapidly changing America that would never be the same.

In vivid, novelistic detail, Summer of '68 tells the story of this unforgettable season--the last before rule changes and expansion would alter baseball forever--when the country was captivated by the national pastime at the moment it needed the game most.

 


Author Notes

Tim Wendel is the author of nine books, including High Heat , Far From Home , Red Rain , and Castro's Curveball . A founding editor of USA Today Baseball Weekly , he has written for Esquire , GQ , and Washingtonian magazines. He teaches writing at Johns Hopkins University and has appeared on CNN, ESPN, SiriusXM, and NPR, and recently served as an exhibit advisor to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He lives in Vienna, Virginia.

www.timwendel.com

 


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Wendel might be overreaching to find causal relationships between politics and baseball in the sea changes that took place for both during 1968 a year of tumult, from the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy to the riotous Democratic convention that August in Chicago, from baseball's last World Series before the onset of the playoff system to the imperceptible passing of the torch from baseball to football as the U.S. national pastime. Still, Wendel details a terrific World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers, set against a Rust Belt (especially Detroit) self-immolating in race rioting and job flight. And he brings into relief the players, influenced by the political climate or not, who had a profound impact on the game: Bob Gibson, whose 1.12 ERA would result in changes that would tip the game to the hitters; Denny McLain, baseball's last 30-game winner; Curt Flood, whose refusal to accept a trade in 1969 would open up free agency for his fellow players; and Mickey Lolich, an Everyman whose steady pitching led to the title for his resilient, even heroic Tigers.--Moores, Alan Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Sportswriter Wendel (High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball) mines one of baseball's more absorbing episodes in this rich chronicle of the 1968 season. It's a sociologically resonant account, anchored by the Detroit Tigers' pennant campaign, which helped settle the city after the 1967 race riots, and overshadowed by football's impending eclipse of the national pastime. Wendel sometimes overswings for historical context as he revisits political traumas, from the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. to the Chicago Democratic Convention, and roams afield to the Mexico City Olympics and other sports events. He's at his best just sitting in the ballpark, savoring the Year of the Pitcher's classic mound performances: a Catfish Hunter perfect game; scads of no-hitters and shutouts; the legendary seasons posted by the Tigers' 31-game winner Denny McClain and Cardinals ace Bob Gibson-who had an unheard-of 1.12 ERA-before their World Series showdown. Wendel provides telling color commentary-the contrast between the obsessive, steely-eyed Gibson and McClain, a flamboyant press-hound angling for a Vegas nightclub gig, is especially vivid-and sharp analyses of on-field strategizing and play-by-play. If not as significant as the author imagines, the story still packs plenty of meaning. Photos. Agent: Chris Park, Foundry Media. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Wendel (fiction & nonfiction writing, Johns Hopkins Univ.; High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time) follows the tradition of homing in on a key year in both baseball and U.S. history. America was being torn apart in 1968, and baseball was under stress, too. The pennant-winning St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers had players at loggerheads with one another. Star players like Cardinal ace Bob Gibson were not immune to racial tension and prejudice. And yet, the ultimate story is one of triumph as these teams provided some respite and hope to a beleaguered country suffering from the effects of the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Wendel has interviewed many of the key participants to bring this crucial year to life. Transcending baseball history alone, this is recommended for baseball fans and students of the era.-P.K. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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