Lords of the Realm: The Real History of Baseball

Overview

In this fascinating, colorful chronicle — based on hundreds of interviews and years of research and digging — John Helyar brings to vivid life the extraordinary people and dramatic events that shaped America's favorite pastime, from the dead-ball days at the turn of the century through the great strike of 1994. Witness zealous Judge Landis banish eight players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, after the infamous "Black Sox" scandal; the flamboyant A's owner Charlie Finley wheel and deal his star players, Vida Blue...
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Overview

In this fascinating, colorful chronicle — based on hundreds of interviews and years of research and digging — John Helyar brings to vivid life the extraordinary people and dramatic events that shaped America's favorite pastime, from the dead-ball days at the turn of the century through the great strike of 1994. Witness zealous Judge Landis banish eight players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, after the infamous "Black Sox" scandal; the flamboyant A's owner Charlie Finley wheel and deal his star players, Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers, like a deck of cards; the hysterical bidding war of coveted free agent Catfish Hunter; the chain-smoking romantic, A. Bartlett Giamatti, locking horns with Pete Rose during his gambling days of summer; and much more . . . .
"The ultimate chronicle of the games behind the game." — The New York Times Book Review

The coauthor of the bestselling corporate expose Barbarians at the Gate presents a fascinating look at how America's favorite game became one of its biggest businesses. "The ultimate chronicle of the games behind the game."-- The New York Times Book Review.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Helyar ( Barbarians at the Gate ) presents a history of player-owner labor relations that dissects baseball for the big-business it is. As background, he shows how the owners intimidated players into accepting low salaries and prohibited their movement through the reserve clause, which made the player the property of his team forever. The central character of the book is union organizer Marvin Miller. Helyar relates how Miller overcame anti-union feelings of the players, and how he succeeded in overturning the reserve clause with the cases of Catfish Hunter, Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith. He scored another win after the strike of 1981, when he hood-winked the baseball owners into salary arbitration, which grossly inflated salaries. We're shown the commissioners: pompous Bowie Kuhn; Peter Ueberroth and his disastrous ``collusion'' policies that caused the owners to pay millions of dollars in retribution to players for restricting their free movement; and Fay Vincent, whose tenure was soap-operish. This enlightening and provocative book may be too legalistic for the casual fan. Major ad/promo; author tour. (June)
Library Journal
Heylar (coauthor with Bryan Burroughs of Barbarians at the Gate, LJ 1/90) develops the business history of baseball into one of the most entertaining sports books of the year. He deftly weaves the financial facts with in-depth and entrancing profiles of many major league owners. The author's treatment of such mavericks as Bill Veeck, Ted Turner, and Charlie Finlay are captivating and insightful. The beginning chapters illustrate the sport's innocent age, when the players partook for the enjoyment of the game and the owners saw their athletes more as their children than as employees. Later chapters are devoted to the players' union movement and the owners' inability to act with restraint. Heylar's investigative skills make the book informative, while his sincere interest in the sport allows even the casual fan to read this work with great enjoyment. Highly recommended.-Jeffrey Gay, Bridgewater P.L., Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345465245
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/3/1995
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 646,039
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.25 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2002

    Superb History of the Continued Stupidity of Baseball Ownership

    For the serious and intelligent baseball fan who is perplexed by the recent idiocy of Bud Selig and his fellow baseball owners, 'Lords of the Realm' is a must-read. Helyar summarizes a century of business shortsightedness and mismanagement that continues to characterize the ownership of our former national past time. The type of people who have run the business of baseball is best encapsulated by Helyar's depiction of contract negotiations between the NY Yankees and Mickey Mantle, at the height of the latter¿s popularity. Rather than give Mantle any raise after his triple-crown winning season, the Yankees decided to black-mail Mantle into signing a new contract at the same salary by threatening to send Mantle's wife pictures of Mantle¿s late-night dalliances during the season. Especially enjoyable is reading of the various miscalculations made by the pompous windbag Bowie Kuhn and his band of nincompoops in their battle with Marvin Miller and the emboldened player¿s union. The business of baseball is in trouble, but with little revenue sharing and the deserved distrust and resentment of the players, it is foolhardy to expect this current crop of owners, led by the woeful Selig, to orchestrate any real solutions to such troubles. ¿Lords of the Realm¿ tells you where such foolhardiness all began and where it has been over the last 100 years.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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