Summer of ’68: The Season That Changed Baseball—and America—Forever

Tim Wendel. Da Capo, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-306-82018-2
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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.)
Reviewed on: 02/20/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 305 pages - 978-0-306-82105-9
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