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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Tom Adelman goes a long way toward dispelling the stereotype that books on baseball must be filled with torrents of statistics and nostalgia meant only for diehard fans. Instead of fixating on batting averages, ERAs, and RBIs, Adelman looks beyond the numbers to focus on the people and events that ushered in the pivotal season of 1975, when the advent of free agency for players would forever alter America's pastime.
Over the course of a season, Adelman follows the lives of numerous baseball personalities. Some are legendary (Casey Stengel, Catfish Hunter, and Johnny Bench), others now largely forgotten (does Bill "Spaceman" Lee ring any bells?), but Adelman weaves together extensive research with elegant prose that gives The Long Ball the feel of an epic tale. And, in a sense, it is. Adelman captures the people and places of this season in American history with writing both vivid and lyrical, building his story to the climactic World Series between the long-suffering, old-fashioned Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine," the new model for teams in the era of free agency.
While The Long Ball may be about a game, it transcends the "sports book" genre with a compelling mix of drama, passion, heartbreak, and the simple, rare gift of great storytelling. (Spring 2003 Selection)