Epic Season: The 1948 American League Pennant Race

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Overview

This book recounts the story of one of the most memorable seasons in the history of major league baseball. Drawing on interviews with surviving participants as well as daily newspaper accounts, David Kaiser re-creates the drama of the 1948 American League pennant race and places it within a broader historical context. Unfolding at a time when baseball truly was America's "national pastime," the '48 season saw three teams vie for a championship that always seemed within reach but was never assured. In Cleveland, ...
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Overview

This book recounts the story of one of the most memorable seasons in the history of major league baseball. Drawing on interviews with surviving participants as well as daily newspaper accounts, David Kaiser re-creates the drama of the 1948 American League pennant race and places it within a broader historical context. Unfolding at a time when baseball truly was America's "national pastime," the '48 season saw three teams vie for a championship that always seemed within reach but was never assured. In Cleveland, under the guidance of maverick owner Bill Veeck and charismatic player-manager Lou Boudreau, the Indians set new attendance records. In Boston, Ted Williams enhanced his already fabled reputation with another extraordinary season, leading a Red Sox team that new manager Joe McCarthy had reshaped during the off-season. In New York, the defending champion Yankees struggled to repeat behind a crippled Joe DiMaggio. In a year in which no team ever led the league by as many as four games, these three teams eventually found themselves in a tie with just nine days to go, and the season had to be extended to decide the race.
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Editorial Reviews

Sports Illustrated
An important work about baseball [that] belongs in the library of any serious fan.
Library Journal
Kaiser (history, Naval War Coll.) conducted personal interviews of participants and researched contemporary newspapers and relevant biographies for this day-by-day history of the 1948 American League season. That thrilling summer featured a season-long marathon pennant race among the Indians, Red Sox, and Yankees leading to an ultimate one-game playoff between Cleveland and Boston for the flag. The game accounts can become tedious, but they are enlivened by Kaiser's provocative and astute analysis. In particular, he exhibits a nice touch with such modern statistical tools as Runs Created and Bill James's Pythagorean formula. Recommended for any baseball collection. John M. Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ., Camden, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
historian's dispassionate and sometimes arcane approach takes the edge off of one of baseball's most exciting years. WW II was over, and Americans were busy piecing together their peacetime lives. Nowhere was this so evident as in baseball, which by 1948 had fully reclaimed the social and cultural preeminence it had enjoyed before the war. Americans' rekindled passion for baseball was further enhanced by one of the most exciting American League pennant races of memory, a three-way knock-down-drag-out scrum involving the New York Yankees, the rejuvenated Boston Red Sox, and the upstart Cleveland Indians, culminating in an electrifying season-ending series between the Sox and the Indians. The problem with Kaiser's (History/Naval War College) account isn't in the details. After all, it's a story that encompasses great events, a pennant playoff, the appearance of the American League's first African-American (the Indians' Larry Doby), and the death of Babe Ruth, and is studded with such stars as the Indians' dynamic duo, Lou Boudreau and Bill Veeck; the Yankees' Joe DiMaggio; the Red Sox hero Ted Williams; and for added intrigue, the legendary manager Joe McCarthy, who prior to the season switched allegiances from the Yanks to the archrival Sox. The problem, then, lies in the telling. Kaiser does a creditable job of weaving first- and second-hand accounts into his chronicle of a furious season-long chase during which the eventual winner, Cleveland, never led by more than three and one-half games. The author's undoing is that too often he turns to statistics, frequently using them not so much for illumination as for support. While the use of some statistics is certainly warranted, theiroveruse waters down the immediacy of a season widely remembered as one of baseball's best. In the end, a book better suited to baseball historians than to casual fans of the game.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558491472
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1998
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 1,424,446
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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