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Download Talkin' Baseball: An Oral History of Baseball in the 1970s epub

by Phil Pepe

Baseball in the 1970s--remember how awesome it was? It was a decade of heroes and upsets and dramatic freeze-frame moments. Never had the game been more exciting. Never did it change so radically. In this wonderful oral history, veteran sportswriter Phil Pepe brings one incredible baseball decade back to life in the words of the guys who played--and lived--the game.Hear union leader Marvin Miller recount St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood's monumental challenge of the iron-clad reserve clause, and the dawning of the age of free agency. Ron Blomberg recalls his time at bat as the game's first Designated Hitter. Earl Weaver and Brooks Robinson describe the Orioles dismantling of The Big Red Machine. Ralph Houk and Rusty Staub relive the actions and antics of Tigers rookie sensation Mark "The Bird" Fidrych. And Diane Munson shares her heart about her husband, Yankee captain Thurman Munson, after he died in a tragic plane crash. It was the first time a player ever earned a million bucks. Hank Aaron became the all-time home run king. Electronic scoreboards blazed against the night sky. Fans screamed "Ya gotta believe" and sang "We Are Family." All this happened in one amazing decade--and it's all right here in one stupendous book. The memories and the marvels of more than forty voices, from Bernie Carbo, Rennie Stennett, and Mike Torrez, to Tom Seaver, George Steinbrenner, and Reggie Jackson--Phil Pepe weaves their recollections into one of the most enjoyable baseball books ever written.
Download Talkin' Baseball: An Oral History of Baseball in the 1970s epub
ISBN: 0345414977
ISBN13: 978-0345414977
Category: Sports
Subcategory: Baseball
Author: Phil Pepe
Language: English
Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (February 24, 1998)
Pages: 396 pages
ePUB size: 1132 kb
FB2 size: 1396 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 979
Other Formats: rtf lit lrf txt

I learned about baseball that I missed while I was in the army. Phil Pepe did a wonderful job at keeping my attention. I wish I could find a book just as good about baseball in the 80s.
The good parts of this book are really good. If nothing else, Pepe does a good job of getting as many players' names as possible into the stories, and does a great job of identifying EVERYBODY in the photographs. Most of the stories were very enlightening and I enjoyed them immensely. The book's chapters are also laid out very well. When the book is going well, it's a welcome recap of the decade where baseball meant everything to me.
So why give it 3.5 stars?
I finished it feeling rather disppointed (especially since I paid for the book). If you are interested in the Curt Flood lawsuit and Marvin Miller's spin on everything that happened in the 70's, you're going to love this book. I'm not that interested, especially in detailed descriptions of the issues that were involved during union/management negotiations. The book also spends way too much time on the Mets and Yankees. Lesser teams like the Cubs, Giants, Padres, and Twins barely merit mentions, and I seem to recall that Cesar Cedeno, Rod Carew and Randy Jones were as big a deals during that time as Graig (sp?) Nettles and Rod Guidry. Remember when Steve Carlton won about 27 games and the Phillies only won 50 whole year? This doesn't nearly rate as much ink as a discussion of Bernie Carbo's dope problems or Bud Harrelson's thoughts on the Tom Seaver trade. Mike Schmidt is quickly discussed, mostly from Tim McCarver's perspective. Andre Dawson isn't mentioned at all, except in lists of the Rookies of the Year and Best Nicknames. The Tom Seaver trade was a huge event, but I would submit that the Reds trade for Joe Morgan was an equally momentous occasion. In fact, I think Morgan appears only the book when he gets a hit in World Series recaps.
Nevertheless, I would recommend this paperback...or from the library.
Phil Pepe is a veteran New York sports reporter who has seen more than his fair share of ball games. The 70's were a decade of change and excess and baseball mirrored those strange times. Society started to accept men with longer hair, mustaches, crazy clothes and looser mores and baseball did the same. Players grew their hair long, grew mustaches and many teams changed their uniforms to contain gaudy bright colors moving away from the typical bland grays. The DH was introduced into the game, night baseball became more prevalent and of course the advent of free agency, all of which changed the game into what it is today. We read about the A's dynasty, the reemergence of the Yankees, the Big Red Machine, the tragic losses of Clemente and Munson, the wife swapping of two Yankee pitchers and other bizarre tales. There seemed to be more characters in the game at that time and Mr. Pepe gets into the changes and characters as told by the players themselves. You won't be able to put the book down as it is an easy and enjoyable read. A must for any fan of the game.
When I first spotted this book and saw it was written in the Terry Pluto style (player narratives with supporting author paragraphs), I picked it up because I grew up in 70's watching these guys play and was interested in their reminiscences.

Talkin' Baseball works on some levels because Pepe found some talkative ex-players who shared their stories and opinions, but there were a couple things that helped to lessen my interest in this book as I read it.

First, an overindulgent amount of space is given to the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox. In a way it's hard to fault Pepe because these are teams he covered at the time, but still, it does get a little old reading page after page of the exploits of three teams in two cities and at times scant mention of other teams. You'll see a huge amount of space devoted to the 1973 World Series because the Mets were involved, but only cursory attention paid to the 1974 World Series, which featured teams from Los Angeles and Oakland. Pepe seems to suffer from what I call "Ken Burns Disease," which is a fixation on baseball in New York and Boston to the exclusion of other places where the game is played. That's the only thing that I would criticize about Burns' "Baseball" series for PBS, but there's one more criticism I have of this book: Too much Phil Pepe.

Again, I checked out "Talkin' Baseball" because it appears to employ the Pluto style of the author setting up a situation, then getting out of the way to let the people involved tell the stories. That may have been Phil's notion when he wrote this, but too often you have to wade through paragraph after paragraph to finally get to what the subjects actually think, and even then you might get one paragraph from them. If you know nothing of baseball in the 70's, that extensive a backgrounder might be a bonus. To me, it was mostly annoying. After a while, I just stopped reading Pepe's italicized passages altogether and went straight to to the quotes. Made for a fast read. Oh, and about those quotes: I'm not sure I've ever read a book in which the author quotes himself in the third person, but check out the passage on Reggie Jackson in 1975 and you'll see Pepe quoting himself... immediately after his own backgrounder, no less.

Maybe I'm being hypercritical because, again, this is not a BAD book. I hae no problem giving Phil Pepe kudos for being a decent writer. It's just not nearly as good as it could have been because Phil can't (or won't) get out of his own way.
This book brought back a ton of memories for me as I grew up in the 70's and seeing the great photos made me feel like I was 10 again and just opening a new pack of baseball cards. The stories of The New York Yankees really made me laugh out loud and remembering the great Thurman Munson with the words of his teammates and family brought back vividly the day I heard of his tragic demise. Overall this book was very well done and an easy read with its interview style and getting the real story on several legendary moments from the participants was worth the price. If you love,like or have an interest in baseball and its past, this book gives you an idea of what caused most of us to fall in love with the game.