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

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

4.2 9
by Tim Wendel

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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

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Summer of '68 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
MinTwinsNY More than 1 year ago
Rating:   4 of 5 stars (very good) Review: 1968 was a tumultuous year in America.  The Vietnam War was becoming unwinnable and many young men were dying in the jungles of that far-off land.   Riots and civil unrest was far too often a staple on the nightly news.  Two prominent leaders were assassinated. Riots marred the Democratic Convention of 1968.  But through it all, the American Pastime of baseball was still being played.  However, even the game that would supposedly take people’s minds off the news for a few hours had its own turbulence that season and was intertwined with some of the news. This all comes together in this interesting book by Tim Wendel as he collected stories and interviews from many players and managers of that season.  He concentrated on the two teams that would end up playing each other in the World Series, the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals.  It is also fitting that a pitcher on each team would win the Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player for each league, Bob Gibson of the Cardinals and Denny McClain for the Tigers. After all, 1968 was the “Year of the Pitcher” which is stated many times in the book.  Gibson set the record for the lowest earned run average in the modern era of 1.12 and McClain won 31 games, the last pitcher who has won 30 games.  Of course, other teams were part of the book, but Wendel concentrates on these two and it works out well. Where some of the other teams are mentioned is when there is a major event that took place and baseball was somehow involved.  One such incident was the handling of cancellation or non-cancellation of games following the assassination of Robert Kennedy.   Wendel takes the reader back to the commissioner’s office and the confusion about who can cancel games and who has to play.  Some players and one team, the New York Mets, refuse to play in the aftermath of the tragedy.  One of the players who refused to play, Milt Pappas of the Cincinnati Reds, ended up being traded three days following his refusal.  Events like this are well chronicled in this book. I found two minor issues with the book.  One was that there were a few typos missed in the editing process.  They didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book too much, but were still noticeable.  The other part that took me by surprise was the amount of words written about football.  This was about the time when football was about to surpass baseball as the most popular spectator sport in American, and the amount of stories written about that game in a baseball book seemed to illustrate that. Nonetheless, I found this an entertaining and easy-to-read book that any baseball fan interested in the game during that time frame will enjoy.    Did I skim? No, every story was quite interesting Pace of the book:   It was a fast moving book with the politics and football talk woven into the baseball stories quite well.   Do I recommend?   All baseball fans who are interested in baseball history during that time will enjoy this recap of that season before major changes took place. Book Format Read: Hardcover
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lorac55 More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative Mr. Wendel provided to the rather tumultuous Summer of 68. From the assassinations of RFK and MLK to the riots at the Chicago convention to the dominance of the pitcher in baseball Mr. Wendel brings them back vividly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To read the Summer of 68 is to fall headlong into a moment in time when baseball was the national currency. Tim Wendel gives us memorable portraits of the great pitchers of the era -- Bob Gibson, Denny McLain and Luis Tiant among them. He gets us caught up in the great plays and the blown calls, the what-ifs that still reverberate. It was a singular season in a tumultuous time and Wendel has brought it back for us. The Summer of 68 is a great pleasure to read.
Beuwolf More than 1 year ago
Wendel does it again – “Summer of ‘68” is another great book and follows on the heels of “High Heat”. The 1960s represent an important decade in U.S. History, and 1968 was a watershed year in the decade. Tim Wendel's work in weaving together sports in the context of societal events that occurred in 1968 is a classic. One of my earliest memories of baseball was when my Mom & I watched Game 7 of the 1968 World Series in a Washington, DC hotel room. At the time I was 10 years old and we lived in upstate New York. My Dad took my Mom and me on a business trip to Washington, DC via a Penn Central train from Rhinecliff, NY to DC Union Station. While we awaited my Dad's return from meetings, my Mom & I watched Game 7 on TV and I can still remember Jim Northrup's Game 7 winning hit that went over Curt Flood's head. “Summer of ‘68” brought back this memory and many more. I highly recommend this book. It is very well researched, most entertaining and highly educational. Two thumbs up for “Summer of ‘68”!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS IS NOT WORKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!