SUMMER OF '68 by Tim Wendel

SUMMER OF '68

The Season that Changed Baseball--and America--Forever

KIRKUS REVIEW

During one of the most tumultuous years in our history, a remarkable baseball season unfolded.

In 1968, most baseball players had to work a second job to make ends meet. There were no wild-card teams or division winners. That year the Detroit Tigers became only the third club in history to rally from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the powerful St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic. Showcasing this looming match-up, Wendel (Writing/Johns Hopkins Univ.; High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time, 2010, etc.) foreshortens the season by focusing on the stories of individual Tigers Gates Brown, Willie Horton, Dick McAuliffe and, especially, pitchers Denny McLain, who won an astonishing 31 games, and Mickey Lolich, the Series MVP. The author also looks at Cardinal stars Lou Brock, Curt Flood, Tim McCarver, Orlando Cepeda and especially pitcher Bob Gibson, among the game’s all-time greatest. He charts the thrilling Series game by game. More intriguing, though, is the season’s unique backdrop: the “Year of the Pitcher” in baseball and the national turmoil surrounding the sports world. In addition to McLain and Gibson’s heroics (both won the Cy Young and MVP awards), the season saw five no-hitters (including a perfect game by Catfish Hunter), a consecutive game strikeout record by Luis Tiant and an unprecedented scoreless innings streak by Don Drysdale. Meanwhile, the country was falling apart. Urban riots and massive antiwar demonstrations helped persuade LBJ not to run again. By the time the Chicago Democratic Convention exploded in the streets, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy had already been assassinated. Wendel touches briefly on how the year agitated other sports, but he focuses on the baseball story and the athletes accustomed to ignoring the outside world. They found that impossible to do in the chaotic year of ’68.

An appealing mix of baseball and cultural history.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-306-82018-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Da Capo/Perseus
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2012




BASEBALL BOOKS FOR MLB OPENING DAY:

Nonfiction CONNIE MACK by Norman L. Macht
by Norman L. Macht
Nonfiction CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE by Chris Lamb
by Chris Lamb
Nonfiction SUMMER OF '68 by Tim Wendel
by Tim Wendel
Nonfiction DRIVING MR. YOGI by Harvey Araton
by Harvey Araton

MORE BY TIM WENDEL

NonfictionTHE NEW FACE OF BASEBALL by Tim Wendel
by Tim Wendel
FictionCASTRO'S CURVEBALL by Tim Wendel
by Tim Wendel

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionLADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE BRONX IS BURNING by Jonathan Mahler
by Jonathan Mahler
NonfictionOCTOBER 1964 by David Halberstam
by David Halberstam
NonfictionBUSHVILLE WINS! by John Klima
by John Klima