Summer of '98: When Homers Flew, Records Fell, and Baseball Reclaimed America

Summer of '98: When Homers Flew, Records Fell, and Baseball Reclaimed America

5.0 2
by Mike Lupica
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In 1998, the conversation of the country was about baseball again, as the taste of the 1994 strike was finally washed away in a sweet flood of glory. With humor and feeling, Lupica recaptures that season, but not in any ordinary way. In Fargo, North Dakota, Roger Maris's boyhood best friend watches McGwire hit 62. In New York, a baseball scout travels back thirteen… See more details below

Overview

In 1998, the conversation of the country was about baseball again, as the taste of the 1994 strike was finally washed away in a sweet flood of glory. With humor and feeling, Lupica recaptures that season, but not in any ordinary way. In Fargo, North Dakota, Roger Maris's boyhood best friend watches McGwire hit 62. In New York, a baseball scout travels back thirteen years, to a skinny kid named Sosa getting off a bus from Santo Domingo with holes in his jersey and a bat in his hand. In Grand Prairie, Texas, Kerry Wood's high school assistant coach refuses to believe the reports of Wood's strikeout record, until the phone starts ringing. The Little League champions from Toms River stand in awe on the field at Yankee Stadium; Joe DiMaggio talks as he watches the Yankees have the kind of year he always had; Cal Ripken, Jr., speaks from the past about how he always intended his streak to end; Yogi Berra watches highlights of David Wells's perfect game and remembers the perfect game he caught from Don Larsen, every detail clear as a bell; Matt Williams of the Arizona Diamondbacks, also a divorced father, watches with a lump in his throat as McGwire lifts his son at home plate. Roger Clemens, Shane Spencer, Orlando Hernandez, Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey, Jr. - all the boys of summer come alive in special ways, as we're reminded, for one season at least, that, yes, they do play baseball like they used to. But even more than all of this, Summer of '98 is about fathers and sons - about the golden thread that stretches through baseball and, for Lupica, from his father to himself to his sons.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After several years in the doldrums, baseball recaptured the imagination of fans across the country in 1998. Lupica, a nationally syndicated sports columnist for the New York Daily News, revisits the magic of that season in this feel-great book: "I never thought I would have a better baseball season than the one I had in '61, not just because of the home runs, but because of what I thought was the best Yankee team I would ever see in my life. Now I saw more home runs, and a better Yankee team, the best of all time. I saw the best baseball team. We all did." Lupica intersperses stories about the season's highlights — Mark McGwire's and Sammy Sosa's dramatic pursuit of Roger Maris's home run record, rookie Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game, the New York Yankees phenomenal campaign — with musings about how baseball provides continuity between his relationship with his father and his own experience with his three young sons. He tells how, in the mornings, he left notes for his sons so that they could learn the results of games that ended after their bedtimes, just as his father did for him when he was young. In his columns, Lupica often deals with strikes, the atrocious behavior of some overpaid athletes and all the tawdriness of sports business and hype. But, in this book, he gives himself completely over to the beauty of baseball as both a game and as an agent of bonding between fathers and children. Fans who want to remember the glory of '98 and get primed for '99 will find this perfect reading for spring training.
Library Journal
The 1998 season was an exciting one for baseball fans. Lupica, the columnist, TV analyst, and author (Mad as Hell: How Sports Got Away from the Fans--And How We Get It Back, LJ 10/1/96), tells an enthusiastic story of how he and his three sons followed it. Lupica centers on the Yankees' record drive to their 24th World Series crown, but weaves in the equally fascinating McGwire-Sosa homer duel, David Wells's perfect game, the end of Cal Ripken's streak, and other notable events. While Bernie Miklasz's Celebrating 70 (LJ 12/98) salutes McGwire's feat, Lupica gives both McGuire and Sosa their proper due. This salute to a memorable season is recommended for all popular adult and YA shelves.--Morey Berger, St. Joseph's Hosp. Medical Lib., Tucson, AZ
NY Times Book Review
The best moments...come when Lupica finds father-surrogate figures whose relationship to their "offspring" reveals a lot of character.
Kirkus Reviews
The renowned sportswriter strikes out in this treacly paean to fathers, sons, and America's (presumed) national pasttime. In many respects, it was indeed a great summer: Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa made the hottest home run race ever into a lovefest; 20-year-old pitching phenom Kerry Woods baffled batters with astounding regularity, while another, older pitcher, "Rocket" Roger Clemens, remained unhittable; the Yankees turned warm and fuzzy while notching the most formidable campaign since the dead-ball era; hell, even the Cubs and Red Sox contended! As his father had done for him years ago, sports columnist and novelist Lupica (Jump, 1996; Dead Air,1986; etc.) nurtured his sons' relationship with the game during this splendid season. He took them to "work," left recaps on the kitchen table of games that ended past bedtime, and generally mooned over their precocious love of baseball. On the surface, it's the feel-good story of the year. Scratch this facade, however, and one soon realizes that the game looks much rosier when seen from a journalist's-eye view, from press boxes, luxury suites, and dugouts; players seem more human when one hobnobs with them in talk show "green rooms." Viewed from the average fan's overpriced nosebleed seats, the game arguably looks as petty, cold, and mean as ever. Although the author is generally amiable, his cluelessness seems to say, "Let them eat $7 hot dogs!" The claim Lupica makes in the subtitle summarizes the book's weakness. Yes, records fell, yes, turnstiles whirred at a record pace (although the numbers were padded by league expansion). Nevertheless, in the real world, players and owners aren't ready to "reclaim" the fans —or claim anything, for that matter, except poverty when contract negotiations or public stadium referendums come around each year. . .

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399145148
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
04/05/1999
Pages:
209
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.82(h) x 0.88(d)

What People are saying about this

Yogi Berra
One of the best books you'll ever read about baseball. In this one I said everything Mike said I said.
Tom Brokaw
No one writes about baseball's glorious sporting scene better than Mike Lupica.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >