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eBook Summer of '68: The Season That Changed Baseball--and America--Forever epub

by Tim Wendel

eBook Summer of '68: The Season That Changed Baseball--and America--Forever epub
  • ISBN: 0306820188
  • Author: Tim Wendel
  • Genre: History
  • Subcategory: Americas
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Pages: 304 pages
  • ePUB size: 1204 kb
  • FB2 size 1508 kb
  • Formats azw txt docx mbr


Tim Wendel's Summer of '68 brilliantly evokes the glories and the grim realities of that time, when America and .

Tim Wendel's Summer of '68 brilliantly evokes the glories and the grim realities of that time, when America and baseball came to a crossroads, and emerged for the better on the other side. Library Journal, 2/1/12. Ken Burns, filmmaker, creator of the Emmy Award–winning documentary series Baseball As always, Tim Wendel gets to the heart of this game and the complicated republic it so precisely mirrors. Wendel is one of the best baseball book writer. n Summer of '68 he has a great subjec. endel does a fine job of relating the tensions that were coursing through baseball at the time, set against the backdrop of national and international turmoil.

Sports Illustrated, February 23, 1970 ch 2, 1970; McLain, 83, 10. 8 Me?. 8 Me? Revel in the media : McLain, 16. 8 cortisone shots: Mead interview; McLain, 12. 9 McLain’s background: McLain, 13–21; Pattison and Raglin, 109–110. 59 Tom McLain’s death: He’d done a lot for baseball, and he’ ll be the first to let you know it, Chicago Tribune, David Condon, October 27, 1968. 60 clobbered pretty good : Lolich interview.

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The latter argument isn't stated as clearly.

The latter argument isn't stated as clearly. Certainly there are milestones to the 1968 season. It was the "Year of the Pi There is no question that 1968 was a momentous year in American history: the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago

In Summer of '68, Tim Wendel takes us on a wild ride through a season . As a sports book, Summer of '68 is excellent.

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. 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. Wendel does a noble job of attempting to recount the sociocultural moment which nearly boiled over that year, too.

Summer of '68: The Season that Changed Baseball-and America-Forever. It was a highly unusual summer, both for baseball and for America. Boston: Da Capo, 2012. I have had to remind myself ever since that pitchers don't win thirty games every year (Denny McLain) or record ERA of . 2 (Bob Gibson), and that the fabric of American life isn't annually threatened by war, assassination, riots, and bizarre Presidential elections. Wendel conveys the improbable qualities of 1968, and its importance as a cultural watershed. In some ways, Summer of '68 is as desultory as High Heat.

In Summer of ’68, Tim Wendel takes us on a wild ride through a season that saw such legends as Bob Gibson .

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. 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.

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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.

 

Comments: (7)
Nern
Students of American history know that 1968 was a very historic year. The facts are easy to revisit -- Vietnam, Presidential election, assassinations, and so on.

It was a very busy year in sports, too. Joe Namath was at his peak as a quarterback (he'd help his Jets win the Super Bowl), the Boston Celtics' dynasty was rolling along, and a crazy Olympic Games took place in Mexico City. That doesn't include the World Series, which at the time was an obvious highlight of the sports calendar.

What's more, the fun and games weren't held in a vacuum. Those playing our sports were certainly influenced by events taking place around them.

Author Tim Wendel takes a look back at the year, concentrating on baseball, in his new book, "Summer of '68." Just a look at the psychedelic cover will have you ready to give this book a "far out, man" rating.

The two teams in the Series that year were perfect examples of the times influencing the games. The St. Louis Cardinals had a great mixture of players -- blacks, whites, and Latins -- who all got along and played together. The Cardinals were coming off wins in the Series in 1964 and 1967. The list of stars was a long one, including Bob Gibson and Lou Brock.

In their way in the 1968 World Series were the Detroit Tigers. That team missed out on the American League title the year before by a game, and probably had the best team. The Tigers were determined to erase that black mark on the record, and they did in relatively easy fashion. In fact, Wendel doesn't have much drama concerning either of the pennant races to cover here.

The Tigers' players grew up together in the minor leagues and thus came of age together in Detroit. Some of them were even from Michigan, and thus had an immediate connection to the area upon arriving in the big leagues. It was impossible for those players not to notice that the city had been clobbered by riots in the summer of '67. The Tigers received some credit for a lack of problems in that department in 1968.

Wendel uses a series of anecdotes to get the point across about the year. The baseball portions often centered on 1968 as "The Year of the Pitcher," as Denny McLain had a 31-win year and Bob Gibson's earned-run average was just over 1.00. There were other stars that year, such as Luis Tiant and Don Drysdale. But then, in the next section, the story can jump to track star Jim Ryun trying to figure out how best to run in the altitude of Mexico City in the Olympics.

Wendel does have a memorable World Series to work with as a climax. The Cardinals raced out to a 3-1 lead, only to let it slip away. Mickey Lolich (three wins) was the unexpected hero for the Tigers, while Curt Flood (Game Seven error) was something of an unexpected goat as unfair as that description is.

Wendel did some good research here, checking out a variety of books and articles for reference material. He also talked to some of the principals, even though quite a few from that time period have died. Has it really been this long?

What we have, though, is more than worth your time. If you are old enough to have lived through the year (guilty), you'll remember a lot and learn a bit more. If you aren't, then you're in for an engaging head-shaking look back.
Malojurus
Turbulence, unrest and upheaval marked 1968 in the United States. It was a time marked by the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, riots in major U.S. cities, Vietnam protests and an ugly Democratic Convention marked by violence.

In baseball, 1968 was The Year of the Pitcher. Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers won 31 games, becoming the first pitcher to win 30 since Dizzy Dean accomplished the feat in 1934. Bob Gibson recorded 13 shutouts and fashioned a record-setting 1.12 ERA. McLain and Gibson were named Cy Young and MVP winners.

There were five no-hitters tossed, including Jim "Catfish" Hunter's perfect game and no-hitters on back-to-back days by opposing teams. The Giants' Gaylord Perry hurled a no-hitter on Sept. 17 vs. the Cardinals while the Cardinals' Ray Washburn tossed a no-hitter against the Giants on Sept. 18 at Candlestick Park.

The collective ERA of all the major league teams was 2.98. Carl Yastrzemski won the AL batting title with a .301 average.

"In 1968, we of the pitching profession came as close to perfect as we have ever come in modern history, and probably ever will," said Bob Gibson.

The World Series featured the matchup of the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Tigers had lost the 1967 pennant on the last day of the season and the Cardinals had won the 1967 World Series, beating the Boston Red Sox. In 1968, the Tigers helped restore Detroit's community spirit following devastating riots that left 43 dead and 2,000 blocks burned.

The anticipated Great Confrontation of the '68 World Series was between McLain and Gibson. Mickey Lolich of the Tigers, however, was the unlikely hero of the World Series as he won three complete game victories, including Game 7 against Gibson. Lolich had been relegated the bullpen with a 7-7 record in mid-season. He earned his way back into the rotation and finished at 17-9.

The '68 Series is also known for the risky move Tigers manager Mayo Smith made, moving Mickey Stanley from the outfield to shortstop in order to get Al Kaline, who had missed much of the season with a broken arm, back into the lineup.

Wendel addresses many of the key issues of the 1968 World Series, including Lou Brock being thrown out at the plate in Game 5, whether Gibson should have started Game 6 on short rest like McLain did and whether the Cardinals were overconfident in Games 5 and 6, knowing that Gibson would pitch Game 7 in St. Louis.

Having been a college sophomore in 1968, Wendel's story is a familiar one. He does, however, dig up some unfamiliar information and interesting statistical nuggets. This is a fairly slim book and an easy read. The book consists of 145 pages of setup and the '68 season, 70 pages of the World Series and 20 pages of aftermath.

After the 1968 season, baseball lowered the pitching mound, decreased the strike zone and went to divisional play. And, the designated hitter wasn't far off.
Iriar
The author ostensibly set out to describe the 1968 baseball season in the context of the social and political upheavals that were affecting the United States in that year. While the baseball material was ok, it was clearly above this author's ability to address the social context. Frankly, I would have liked to have seen what someone like David Maraniss or David Halberstam-two journalists who also wrote sports books-could have done with this topic. There was a lot in the book about Mickey Lolich's experience in the National Guard during the riots in Detroit-which actually occurred in 1967-but other than that it was hard to see from this book how 1968 changed baseball or America. For example, I would have expected to read more about the reserve clause and how this affected players and the relationship between increasing player militancy and the upheavals throughout the country. The reserve clause bound players to their teams permanently, allowing the team owners to hold down costs and increasing their profits. But this was clearly inconsistent with the tenor of the country in 1968, which was about overturning the established order. While the end of the reserve clause did not occur until the mid-70s, it seems to me this would have been an important subject to discuss in the context of 1968. Instead, the book was was mostly an account of the Cardinals' and Tigers' seasons, which was interesting enough but certainly did not live up to the book's title.
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