OCTOBER 1964 by David Halberstam
Kirkus Star


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The riveting story of how two very different baseball teams, reflective of the times in America, got to the 1964 World Series. Pulitzer Prize--winning journalist Halberstam (The Fifties, 1993, etc.) looks at America's baseball diamonds in this volume, a bookend to his earlier Summer of '49 (1989). Halberstam's premise is that vast changes had occurred in American society in the 15 years that divided those two baseball seasons, and the teams that played in the 1964 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees, reflected opposing currents in a deeply conflicted American society. For the Yankees, it was the last hurrah of their near-total baseball dominance that began in 1949; Halberstam contends that they were emblematic of the era coming to an end. With fading superstars such as Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford, the Yankees stood for the established order, both symbolically, in the minds of baseball fans, and in reality, in their dependence on power over speed and in management's reluctance to sign black players. The Cardinals, by contrast, were one of the best-integrated teams in baseball. They depended on strategy and speed, and highly intelligent stars like Bob Gibson, Louis Brock, Tim McCarver, and Curt Flood represented a new breed of ballplayer. Halberstam weaves the life stories of dozens of players, managers, coaches, scouts, and team owners into this deceptively simple but extremely revealing chronicle. If Halberstam is to be faulted, it is in his underlying assumption that pure love of baseball transcends all evils: apart from a few crusty and anachronistic old managers, none of the villains in this book get any closer to the playing field than the owner's or the press box. A powerful and entertaining examination of the forces transforming baseball, and the country, in a pivotal period in the history of America and its national pastime.
Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0449983676
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1994


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