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Baseball's Greatest Season, 1924 Cover

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Baseball's Greatest Season, 1924

Reed Browning

With the possible exception of 2004 no season in the history of baseball has matched 1924 for escalating excitement and emotional investment by fans. It began with observers expecting yet another World Series between the Yankees and the Giants. It ended months later when the Washington Nationals (Senators), making their first Series appearance, grabbed the world championship by scoring the season-ending run on an improbable play in the bottom of the twelfth inning of the seventh game. On the eve of the return of major league baseball to Washington, D.C., Baseball's Greatest Season recovers the memory of the one and only time when the championship of the national pastime resided in the nation's capital.

Baseball's Greatest Series Cover

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Baseball's Greatest Series

Yankees, Mariners, and the 1995 Matchup That Changed History

Chris Donnelly

Baseball's Greatest Series details what many believe to be the most exciting postseason series in baseball history: the 1995 Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners.

This division series was not simply about two teams playing five postseason games. It was about Ken Griffey Jr., Lou Piniella, Buck Showalter, Gene Michael, Jim Leyritz, Randy Johnson, Wade Boggs, Tony Fernandez, Pat Kelly, Dion James, Darryl Strawberryùand many others who changed the course of baseball history . . .
A team playing to keep baseball alive in the Pacific Northwest
A manager who was literally managing for his job
A New York sports icon who for one week reminded everybody of the dominating player he had been a decade earlier

Chris Donnelly's replay of this entire season reminds readers that it was a time when grown men cried their eyes out after defeat, and others, just a few hundred feet away, poured beer and champagne over one another while 57,000 people in Seattle's Kingdome celebrated. Five games they were. Five games that reminded people, after the devastating players' strike in 1994, how great a game baseball is because comebacks are always possible, no matter how great the obstacles may seem.

From Don Mattingly's only postseason home run, which caused a near riot, to Edgar Martinez's legendary eleventh inning series-clinching double, Donnelly chronicles the earlier struggles of both teams during the 1980s, their mid-1990s resurgence, all five heart-stopping games of the series, and the dramatic and long-lasting effects of Seattle's victory. Simply stated, Baseball's Greatest Series hits a home run.

Before the Curse Cover

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Before the Curse

The Chicago Cubs' Glory Years, 1870-1945

Before the Curse: The Chicago Cubs' Glory Years, 1870-1945 brings to life the early history of this much beloved and often heartbreaking baseball club. Originally called the Chicago White Stockings, the team immediately established itself as a powerhouse, winning the newly formed National League's inaugural pennant in 1876, repeating the feat in 1880 and 1881, and commanding the league in the decades to come. The legendary days of the Cubs are recaptured here in more than two dozen vintage newspaper accounts and historical essays on the teams and the fans who loved them. The great games, pennant races, and series are all here, including the 1906 World Series between the Cubs and Chicago White Sox. Of course, Before the Curse remembers the Hall of Fame players--Grover Cleveland Alexander, Gabby Hartnett, Rogers Hornsby, Hack Wilson--who delighted Cubs fans with their play on the field and their antics elsewhere._x000B__x000B_Through engaging introductions to each article, Randy Roberts and Carson Cunningham demonstrate how changes in ownership affected the success of the team, who the teams' major players were both on and off the field, and how regular fans, owners, players, journalists, and Chicagoans of the past talked and wrote about baseball.

Beyond Home Plate Cover

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Beyond Home Plate

Jackie Robinson on Life After Baseball

by Michael Long

When he first took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Jackie Robinson broke a color barrier that reached back sixty years to the very origins of American baseball. He would go on to play in six World Series and help the Dodgers win the 1955 World Championship. But Robinson was much more than just a baseball player. This book collects columns which Robinson wrote primarily for the New York Post and the New York Amsterdam News, as well as including excerpts of letters between Robinson and politicians such as Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy. These writings portray Robinson as a deeply passionate, intelligent, and eloquent man with strongly-held convictions about the Civil Rights Movement and the political decisions which shaped America in the 1960s and ‘70s. He was also a devoted husband and father conflicted by his ability to provide the best for his children and his desire to keep them grounded in the struggles facing all African Americans at the time. Each column is preceded by a brief contextualizing introduction by Long, and Robinson’s columns are broken into three themes: “On Baseball and Golf,” “On Family and Friends,” and “On Civil Rights.” The brevity of the columns and Robinson’s vivid imagery and compelling voice make this an absorbing and often very moving read.

Black Baseball Entrepreneurs, 1902-1931 Cover

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Black Baseball Entrepreneurs, 1902-1931

The Negro National and Eastern Colored Leagues

by Michael E. Lomax

As the companion volume to Black Baseball Entrepreneurs,1860–1901: Operating by Any Means Necessary, Lomax’s new book continues to chronicle the history of black baseball in the United States. The first volume traced the development of baseball from an exercise in community building among African Americans in the pre–Civil War era into a commercialized amusement and a rare and lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurship within the black community. In this book, Lomax takes a closer look at the marketing and promotion of the Negro Leagues by black baseball magnates. He explores how race influenced black baseball’s institutional development and how it shaped the business relationship with white clubs and managers. Lomax explains how the decisions that black baseball magnates made to insulate themselves from outside influences may have distorted their perceptions and ultimately led to the Negro Leagues‘ demise. The collapse of the Negro Leagues by 1931 was, Lomax argues, “a dream deferred in the overall African American pursuit for freedom and self-determination.”

Blackout Cover

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Blackout

The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson's First Spring Training

Chris Lamb

In the spring of 1946, following the defeat of Hitler’s Germany, America found itself still struggling with the subtler but no less insidious tyrannies of racism and segregation at home. In the midst of it all, Jackie Robinson, a full year away from breaking major league baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers, was undergoing a harrowing dress rehearsal for integration—his first spring training as a minor league prospect with the Montreal Royals, Brooklyn’s AAA team. In Blackout, Chris Lamb tells what happened during these six weeks in segregated Florida—six weeks that would become a critical juncture for the national pastime and for an American society on the threshold of a civil rights revolution.

Blackout chronicles Robinson’s tremendous ordeal during that crucial spring training—how he struggled on the field and off. The restaurants and hotels that welcomed his white teammates were closed to him, and in one city after another he was prohibited from taking the field. Steeping his story in its complex cultural context, Lamb describes Robinson’s determination and anxiety, the reaction of the black and white communities to his appearance, and the unique and influential role of the press—mainstream reporting, the alternative black weeklies, and the Communist Daily Worker—in the integration of baseball. Told here in detail for the first time, this story brilliantly encapsulates the larger history of a man, a sport, and a nation on the verge of great and enduring change.

Brand NFL, Pbk Ed. Cover

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Brand NFL, Pbk Ed.

Paperback edition, With a new preface by the author — Making and Selling America's Favorite Sport

Michael Oriard

Professional football today is an $8 billion sports entertainment industry--and the most popular spectator sport in America, with designs on expansion across the globe. In this astute field-level view of the National Football League since 1960, Michael Oriard looks closely at the development of the sport and at the image of the NFL and its unique place in American life. New to the paperback edition is Oriard's analysis of the offseason labor negotiations and their potential effects on the future of the sport, and his account of how the NFL is dealing with the latest research on concussions and head injuries.

Breaking Through Cover

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Breaking Through

John B. McLendon, Basketball Legend and Civil Rights Pioneer

John B. McLendon was the last living protégé of basketball’s inventor, Dr. James Naismith, and one of the “top ten basketball coaches of the century” in Billy Packer’s opinion. McLendon’s amazing records in college and pro basketball earned him a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame (the first black coach to be inducted), and his coaching philosophy has had a huge influence on basketball coaches. Breaking Through is also a powerful and inspirational story about segregation and a champion’s struggle for equality in 1940s and 50s America.

The Brooklyn Cyclones Cover

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The Brooklyn Cyclones

Hardball Dreams and the New Coney Island

Ben Osborne

When professional baseball returned to Brooklyn in 2001, fans were jubilant and the media swarmed. After losing the Brooklyn Dodgers to California 44 years ago, Brooklyn baseball fans could once again claim a team of their own: the Cyclones, a Class A affiliate of the New York Mets.

The Brooklyn Cyclones: Hardball Dreams and the New Coney Island recounts that first season of the Cyclones. From the construction of the incredible Keyspan Park at Coney Island to their improbable successes on the field, Ben Osborne tells the story of the Cyclones' delicate first year of operation. We see the story up close and personal through the eyes of two very different young men. The first is Anthony Otero, who was raised in a Coney Island housing project and loves baseball, but has never seen a game in person until the Cyclones land in his neighborhood. The second is Brett Kay, a young man from California who has never been to New York, until he becomes the catcher for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

From the plans of politicians like Rudy Giuliani and Howard Golden, to the poverty of Coney Island's citizens, The Brooklyn Cyclones reveals the stories behind the headlines to show that the reality of creating a new sports team often involves broken promises and shattered dreams. Osborne includes chapters on the Cyclones' rivalry with the Staten Island Yankees, the Cyclones' chances of capturing the New York-Penn League title, and an epilogue updating Kay's, Otero's, and the Cyclones' progress through the 2003 season.

Ultimately, Ben Osborne shows how, for these two young men, the Brooklyn Cyclones created dreams the same way the Brooklyn Dodgers allowed the boys of Flatbush to dream about one day playing in the Big Leagues.

Cheating the Spread Cover

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Cheating the Spread

Gamblers, Point Shavers, and Game Fixers in College Football and Basketball

Albert J. Figone

Delving into the history of gambling and corruption in intercollegiate sports, Cheating the Spread recounts all of the major gambling scandals in college football and basketball. Digging through court records, newspapers, government documents, and university archives and conducting private interviews, Albert J. Figone finds that game rigging has been pervasive and nationwide throughout most of the sports' history._x000B__x000B_Naming the players, coaches, gamblers, and go-betweens involved, Figone discusses numerous college basketball and football games reported to have been fixed and describes the various methods used to gain unfair advantage, inside information, or undue profit. His survey of college football includes early years of gambling on games between established schools such as Yale, Princeton, and Harvard; Notre Dame's All-American halfback and skilled gambler George Gipp; and the 1962 allegations of insider information between Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and former Georgia coach James Wallace "Wally" Butts; and many other recent incidents. Notable events in basketball include the 1951 scandal involving City College of New York and six other schools throughout the East Coast and the Midwest; the 1961 point-shaving incident that put a permanent end to the Dixie Classic tournament; the 1994-95 Northwestern scandal in which players bet against their own team; and other recent examples of compromised gameplay and gambling. _x000B_

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