Major League Baseball in The 1970s: A Modern Game Emerges

Overview

Many of the most powerful trends in baseball today have their roots in the 1970s. Baseball entered that decade seriously behind the times in race relations, attitudes toward conformity versus individuality, and the manager-player relationship. In a sense, much of the wrenching change that American society as a whole experienced in the 1960s was played out in baseball in the following decade. Additionally, the game itself was rapidly evolving, with the inauguration of the designated hitter rule in the American ...
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Overview

Many of the most powerful trends in baseball today have their roots in the 1970s. Baseball entered that decade seriously behind the times in race relations, attitudes toward conformity versus individuality, and the manager-player relationship. In a sense, much of the wrenching change that American society as a whole experienced in the 1960s was played out in baseball in the following decade. Additionally, the game itself was rapidly evolving, with the inauguration of the designated hitter rule in the American League, the evolution of the closer, the development of the five-man starting rotation, the acceptance of strikeout lions like Dave Kingman and Bobby Bonds and the proliferation of stolen bases.

This book opens with a discussion of the challenges that faced baseball's movers and shakers when they gathered in Bal Harbour, Florida, for the annual winter meetings on December 2, 1969. Their worst nightmares would be realized in the coming years. For many and often contradictory reasons the 1970s game evolved into a war of competing ideologies-escalating salaries, an acrimonious strike, Sesame Street-style team mascots, and the breaking of the time-honored tradition that all players, including the pitcher, must play on offense as well as defense-that would ultimately spell doom for the majority of attendees.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786415922
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/9/2004
  • Pages: 452
  • Sales rank: 1,095,427
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph G. Preston lives in Apple Valley, California.

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Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: December 2, 1969 5
1 Curt Flood, the Man Who Fought the Law 13
2 From the Literary Corner, Ball Four 21
3 The Coming of the Sterile Ashtrays 25
4 The Man Who Gave His Body to Baseball 33
5 The Angry Men 37
6 The End of the Age of Innocence 50
7 The Pride of Westchester High 61
8 Charlie Finley's Big Happy Family 66
9 On the Origins of the DH Rule 77
10 Bobby Bonds and the Ghost of Baseball Future 86
11 Henry Aaron, Race, and the Record 92
12 The Ten-Cent Beer Fiasco 102
13 The End of the Fireballer Epoch 105
14 Steve Carlton's Sounds of Silence 117
15 Messersmith and McNally: The Guys Who Fought the Law and Won 121
16 The Potential Immortality of Marvin Miller 133
17 The Big Red Machine and the End of an Era 136
18 Pete Rose in Full Bloom 144
19 The Rotation Revolution 147
20 Consistency and Wit in the Shadows 157
21 The Evolution of the Bullpen 160
22 The Aborted Sale of Vida Blue 173
23 A Paradox in Action 183
24 The Commissioner 187
25 The Bird 197
26 George Steinbrenner's New Economics 200
27 Rod Carew and Ted Williams-Style Greatness 210
28 Contending on the Cheap 214
29 Bill Veeck's South-Side Wreck 226
30 Vern Rapp and Management 101 237
31 Steve Garvey and the Essence of Fame 247
32 Being Without a Chair When the Music Stops 253
33 The Stolen Base Revival 265
34 Dave Kingman: Master of the Homer and the Big Breeze 274
35 Power to the Umpires 279
36 The Roman Umpire 291
37 Willie Stargell and the Evolution of the African American Player 296
Epilogue: August 9, 1979 303
Chapter Notes 313
Bibliography 383
Index 393
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