It's Outta Here: The History of the Home Run from Babe Ruth to Barry Bonds

Overview

As Barry Bonds closes in on Hank Aaron's record 755 career home runs in 2005, attention will no doubt be drawn to the long and colorful history of the "long ball" and its role in the development of major league baseball. Long thought to have "saved" baseball from mediocrity, Babe Ruth's 60-home-run year in 1927 proved that baseball had come a long way since 1876, when the highest number of home runs by a single player was four in seventy games played. Ruth's record stood for thirty-four years, when Roger Maris ...

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Overview

As Barry Bonds closes in on Hank Aaron's record 755 career home runs in 2005, attention will no doubt be drawn to the long and colorful history of the "long ball" and its role in the development of major league baseball. Long thought to have "saved" baseball from mediocrity, Babe Ruth's 60-home-run year in 1927 proved that baseball had come a long way since 1876, when the highest number of home runs by a single player was four in seventy games played. Ruth's record stood for thirty-four years, when Roger Maris bested him by one and established a new season record that many thought to be beyond reach. But as year-round training became more the norm and players' careers extended well into their thirties, the home runs began to pile up, leading to a period in the late 1990s and early 2000s that saw an explosion of home run records, from Mark McGwire's astounding 70 blasts in 1998 to Bonds's current record of 73, set in 2001. In It's Outta Here! veteran sports writer Bill Gutman not only chronicles the evolution of the home run, but also describes what constitutes a "hitter's" ball park, explains how the baseball itself has evolved over the years (addressing the issue of whether or not it has been "juiced" to travel farther), and finally, takes on the controversial allegation that sluggers in recent years have been using performance-enhancing drugs to achieve their record. If Bonds does break Aaron's record, the feat will surely trigger questions as to its legitimacy; Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa has already declined one journalist's invitation to be tested for steroids. Beyond these issues, though, Gutman colorfully dramatizes record-breaking performances and provides team and individual records from baseball's rich history.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this workmanlike examination, Gutman (Miracle Year, 1969: Amazing Mets and Super Jets) traces the history of the four-bagger, from the dead-ball era of the early 20th century to the homer-crazed period of the last dozen years. He explores Babe Ruth's impact on the game; the appearance of sluggers like Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg; and the arrival of new home run kings following World War II through the emergence of former Negro League players like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Ernie Banks. Also featured are "the M&M Boys," Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, and their assault in 1961 on Ruth's single-season record, which was soon followed by plummeting batting averages but still prodigious home run numbers. Gutman goes on to describe the early 1970s, when Aaron conducted his own assault on Ruth's lifetime mark, while lone season totals generally declined. Subsequently, new, smaller ballparks, livelier baseballs, bigger athletes, and inferior pitching combined to produce a new long ball explosion. That development coincided with the 1994 strike and lockout that led to the cancellation of the World Series, but it continued when Major League Baseball began again the following season. In subsequent years, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds all shattered longstanding homer totals. For general libraries.-Robert C. Cottrell, California State Univ., Chico Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589792067
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/15/2005
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

A freelance writer of sports history for over three decades, Bill Gutman has recently written about the New York Mets and New York Jets miracle championships in 1969, chronicled the New England Patriots' 2001 run to their first Super Bowl triumph, and penned a biography of football coach Bill Parcells. He currently lives in upstate New York.

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Table of Contents

0 Introduction Chapter 1 What's a Home Run? The Dead Ball Era Chapter 2 The Babe and the Home Run Change Baseball, 1920-1927 Chapter 3 Power Dominates the Game, 1928-1940 Chapter 4 A New Breed of Sluggers Chapter 5 The M & M Boys Excite a Nation, 1961 Chapter 6 Don't Let the Pitchers Get Too Good, 1962-1972 Chapter 7 Hammerin' Hank Chases and Catches the Babe, 1973-1976 Chapter 8 Sluggers Start Juicing Up the Game, 1977-1993 Chapter 9 Big Mac and Sammy Go Yard, Over and Over Again, 1994-1998 Chapter 10 Bonds Raises the Bar amid a Growing Home Run Controversy, 1999-2004 11 Appendix 1: The Top 50 Single Season Home Run Hitters 12 Appendix 2: The Top 50 Lifetime Home Run Hitters through 2004 13 Index of Players

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