The Victory Season: The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball's Golden Age

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Overview

The triumphant story of baseball and America after World War II

In 1945 Major League Baseball had become a ghost of itself. Parks were half empty, the balls were made with fake rubber, and mediocre replacements roamed the fields, as hundreds of players, including the game's biggest stars, were serving abroad, devoted to unconditional Allied victory in World War II.

But by the spring of 1946, the country was ready to heal. The war was finally ...

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The Victory Season: The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball's Golden Age

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Overview

The triumphant story of baseball and America after World War II

In 1945 Major League Baseball had become a ghost of itself. Parks were half empty, the balls were made with fake rubber, and mediocre replacements roamed the fields, as hundreds of players, including the game's biggest stars, were serving abroad, devoted to unconditional Allied victory in World War II.

But by the spring of 1946, the country was ready to heal. The war was finally over, and as America's fathers and brothers were coming home, so too were the sport's greats. Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and Joe DiMaggio returned with bats blazing, making the season a true classic that ended in a thrilling seven-game World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. America also witnessed the beginning of a new era in baseball-it was a year of attendance records, the first year Yankee Stadium held night games, the last year the Green Monster wasn't green, and, most significant, Jackie Robinson's first year playing in the Brooklyn Dodgers' system.

The Victory Season brings to vivid life these years of baseball and war, including the littleknown "World Series" that servicemen played in a captured Hitler Youth stadium in the fall of 1945. Robert Weintraub's extensive research and vibrant storytelling enliven the legendary season that embodies what we now think of as the game's golden era.

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  • The Victory Season
    The Victory Season  

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Dennis Drabelle
The Victory Season may not be the tightly focused play-by-play account of 1946 that some fans would prefer, but if you want generous context for a great season of baseball when it was still the national pastime and the country was in fascinating flux, Weintraub is your man.
Allen Barra
Just when you thought there were no great seasons left uncovered — or anything new left to say about Babe Ruth — here comes The House that Ruth Built. Robert Weintraub has resurrected the 1923 season and showed us how it changed baseball that season and every season that has followed it. A perfect match of the team, the year, and the writer.
author of Yogi Berra and The Last Coach
Dick Kreck
Robert Weintrub beautifully details the building of the iconic park and the World Series in which Ruth became a legend.
Denver Post
Jody Seaborn
Compelling and entertaining history of the 1923 season
Austin American-Statesman
The Economist
Robert Weintraub [is] a leading American sports columnist
From the Publisher
"Robert Weintraub recounts the game's joyous reacclimatization, duly honoring the fine record of service of many players, shedding light on veteran returns and underscoring significant contemporary events.... Admirably wide-ranging." — New York Times Book Review

"Weintraub loads the bases with the kind of entertaining anecdotes, minutia and quotes that separate baseball — and baseball writing — from other sports, and he skillfully captures the facts and texture of the '46 season with meticulous research and a conversational style. Weintraub is a big-league storyteller." — USA Today

"Weintraub tells myriad good stories. If you want generous context for a great season of baseball when it was still the national pastime and the country was in fascinating flux, Weintraub is your man." — Washington Post

"A meticulously researched and elegantly written chronicle of what happened in 1946... From start to finish, The Victory Season is a home run." — Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"As Robert Weintraub's measured, elegant prose illustrates, "The Victory Season" makes an irrefutable case that baseball's golden age begins in 1946. Grade: Grand slam." — Mark Hodermarsky, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A beautifully written paean to the 1946 baseball season, when normalcy returned to the national pastime." — Mike Vaccaro, New York Post

"The Victory Season leaps off the page like a newsreel." — Allen Barra, Chicago Tribune

"The baseball history makes great reading, but the larger story of our sometimes painful transition to peacetime gives the book its staying power. Fine popular history." — Booklist (starred review)

"An entertaining read... Scattered among those big stories are little gems about players most of us have never heard of." — Minneapolis Star Tribune

"We see a lot of baseball books each spring, but few will be more supremely entertaining than The Victory Season... Impossibly charming... A winning account." — Newsday"Even if you think you know the history of baseball, Weintraub will surprise you with many gems from his meticulous research. The Victory Season is an important work featuring an all-star cast." — James Miller, co-author of Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN

"There was more to baseball in 1946 than Ted Williams and Stan Musial marching home from war. The tectonic plates were shifting beneath the game's surface as the color line developed its first cracks and greedy team owners unwittingly inspired baseball's labor movement. With a Halberstam-like sense of purpose, Robert Weintraub captures it all in The Victory Season." — John Schulian, co-editor of At the Fights, author of Sometimes They Even Shook Your Hand

"Bright writing and the sweat of painstaking research bring baseball's Greatest Generation to life in this tale of a poignant and pivotal season in the game's history. Robert Weintraub's magic trick is to make you feel as if you're watching Leo Durocher, Ted Williams and company in real time." — John Eisenberg, author of Ten-Gallon War: The NFL's Cowboys, the AFL's Texans, and the Feud for Dallas's Pro Football Future

"In the tradition of Robert W. Creamer's classic 'Baseball in '41,' Robert Weintraub's 'The Victory Season' doesn't merely revisit a pivotal baseball season, it places that season in a larger historical and cultural context. It is a season - and a book - to be relished, as America returns to a very familiar place: at home, at peace, and ready to follow DiMaggio, Musial, Williams, and their compatriots across another glorious summer." — Michael MacCambridge, author of America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured A Nation

"Rob Weintraub has written a fascinating tale of a pivotal year for baseball and America. The research and storytelling are first-rate." — Jonathan Eig, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season

Booklist
The whole baseball year of 1923 is the frame for Weintraub's elegantly constructed narrative...There is no nickname ever used for a player that Weintraub overlooks nor any colorful phrase now common in baseball that he doesn't cite...a treasure for the fan who cannot get enough.
Bob Hoover
Weintraub enlivens his book with a cast of remarkable characters, starting with the Babe himself...a book about New York baseball in the 1920s, a sporting scene ripe with fascinating possibilities that Mr. Weintraub mines thoroughly for his spirited book.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Allen Barra
Just when you thought there were no great seasons left uncovered — or anything new left to say about Babe Ruth — here comes The House that Ruth Built. Robert Weintraub has resurrected the 1923 season and showed us how it changed baseball that season and every season that has followed it. A perfect match of the team, the year, and the writer.
author of Yogi Berra and The Last Coach
Dick Kreck
Robert Weintrub beautifully details the building of the iconic park and the World Series in which Ruth became a legend.
Denver Post
Jody Seaborn
Compelling and entertaining history of the 1923 season
Austin American-Statesman
Library Journal
The subtitle here may confuse. To most baseball fans, wasn’t the sport’s golden age before World War II? After the war, we got what is usually called the “modern” age of baseball. Be that as it may, this is a punchy history of the transitional time (see Bridging Two Dynasties , below, for a related title), driven by an emphasis on the personalities of the time, both those players who emerged from the war with more to give the game, e.g., DiMaggio, Williams, Feller, and those who represented a new era, e.g., Jackie Robinson, who gave the game his life. Weintraub (sports columnist, Slate; The House That Ruth Built ) also relates colorful stories of managers on and off the field (e.g., Leo Durocher and his womanizing), broadcasters (Red Barber) and front-office men such as Larry McPhail, and the obligatory Branch Rickey. From chapter to chapter the topic changes with no narrative bridge. Weintraub often adopts the language of a golden-era news guy, with phrases such as “a mighty ruckus” and “the press boys.”
VERDICT Much of this won’t be new to those who lived then or had parents who did. Recommended, though, as a great choice for rising generations of baseball fans. —MH

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316205917
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Pages: 460
  • Sales rank: 490,184
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Weintraub is the author of The House That Ruth Built and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times sports pages. He is a sports columnist for Slate, and his writing has also aired on ESPN, ABC Sports, CBS Sports, and dozens of other outlets. He lives in Decatur, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    1946 retrospective

    Another good book by Weintraub. Tells the story of the first post-WWII season in MLB. The varying experiences of players in the war-some saw combat others never got anywere near it- was interesting, Most of the big stars stsyed out of harm's way and maintained their skills by playing ball in the service. The war cost other lesser players their careers and in a couple of cases their lives.

    Excellent account of the 1946 Series between the Cardinals and Red Sox and Slaughters mad dash for the plate in the 7th game. Weintraub relates that Dom Dimaggio's leaving the game with an injury the inning before set it up. Highly recommended for those interested in the history of MLB.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Tada

    Good Read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    Gooood

    Iit












    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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