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Henry Aaron and the Legend of Eau Claire Baseball
June 12, 1952—only a local sportswriter showed up at the Eau Claire airport to greet a newly signed eighteen-year-old shortstop from Alabama toting a cardboard suitcase. "I was scared as hell," said Henry Aaron, recalling his arrival as the new recruit on the city’s Class C minor league baseball team.
Forty-two years later, as Aaron approached the stadium where the Eau Claire Bears once played, an estimated five thousand people surrounded a newly raised bronze statue of a young "Hank" Aaron at bat. "I had goosebumps," he said later. "A lot of things happened to me in my twenty-three years as a ballplayer, but nothing touched me more than that day in Eau Claire." For the people of Eau Claire, Aaron’s summer two years before his Major League debut with the Milwaukee Braves symbolizes a magical time, when baseball fans in a small city in northern Wisconsin could live a part of the dream.
The International Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake City Bid Scandal
Based on extensive research and unparalleled access to primary source material, Tarnished Rings offers an in-depth look at the Salt Lake City Olympic bidding scandal and at the presidency of Juan Antionio Samaranch.
Summer of ’49
Debate still rages on about who invented baseball. But one thing is certain...it was alive and fractious in southwestern Ontario in the summer of 1949.
It was a remarkable summer. For Charlie Hodge, just finishing his last year of high school, the summer of 1949 begins with great fanfare and excitement. He has made the Galt Terriers’ roster and will be riding the bench with a star-studded team, many of whom had played with the major leagues. When those seasoned pros arrive in town, big things are expected, and they don’t disappoint. There is the towering home run that Goody Rosen hits into the Grand River; the frozen baseball scheme that backfires; and the busload of promotional cooking oil hijacked just before game time. It all comes down to Game 7 in the Terriers’ semi-final series with the Brantford Red Sox, when a convicted gambler, playing centre field that night, makes one of the most controversial plays ever seen at Dickson Park.
Based on exhaustive research and extensive interviews, David Menary recreates that post-war season in Terrier Town through the eyes of Charlie Hodge. While Charlie is a fictional character, the other players are not. This is a story that will resonate with young and old alike, baseball fans or not. This is a team that became a vital part of the town, and the town an elemental part of the team. This is a time rapidly fading from memory — a summer of myths and legends. This is a story of how life could be in the small southwestern town of Galt. And all this is our heritage.
The Life, Legacy, and Legend of Howard Cosell
This is the first full-length biography of the lawyer-turned-sports journalist whose brash style and penchant for social commentary changed the way American sporting events are reported. Perhaps best known for his close relationship with the world champion boxer Muhammad Ali, Howard Cosell became a celebrity in his own right during the 1960s and 1970s-the bombastic, controversial, instantly recognizable sportscaster everyone "loved to hate." Raised in Brooklyn in a middle-class Jewish family, Cosell carried with him a deeply ingrained sense of social justice. Yet early on he abandoned plans for a legal career to become a pioneer in sports broadcasting, first in radio and then in television. The first white TV reporter to address the former Cassius Clay by his chosen Muslim name, Cosell was also the first sportscaster to conduct locker room interviews with professional athletes, using a tape recorder purchased with his own money. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, he not only defended the fisted "Black Power" salutes of American track medalists John Carlos and Tommie Smith, but he publicly excoriated Olympic Committee chairman Avery Brundage for "hypocritical," racist policies. He was also instrumental in launching ABC's Monday Night Football, a prime-time sports program that evolved into an American cultural institution. Yet while Cosell took courageous stands on behalf of civil rights and other causes, he could be remarkably blind to the inconsistencies in his own life. In this way, John Bloom argues, he embodied contradictions that still resonate widely in American society today.
Baseball in U.S.-Japanese Relations, 1872-1952
This is the first in-depth scholarly treatment of the long-term development of U.S.-Japan baseball connections. Guthrie-Shimuzu studies the almost contemporaneous diffusion and popularization of baseball in the U.S., Hawaii, Japan, and east Asia under Japanese colonial rule. After the “opening” of Japan by Commodore Perry, the Meiji emperor began to engage the trans-Pacific world at roughly the same time as the United States and with energies and ambitions emblematic of rapidly industrializing and self reinventing societies. In its drive to modernize, the state recruited over 3000 foreign employees to assist the government in adopting western science and technology and building institutions to handle the demands of a complex modern society. Baseball was introduced to Japan by these “foreign employees,” and Japanese sent for study in the U.S. also picked up the game and were avid players upon their return home. Visiting warships fielded teams that played against local clubs and American teams—even Japanese American teams and Negro League teams, excluded from the major leagues—arranged tours to the island. By the 1930s,professional baseball was organized in Japan and even played throughout World War II.
Andres Reiner and Scouting on the New Frontier
The Journals of Red Rolfe
Somewhere, if they haven't been destroyed, there are hundreds of pages of typewritten notes about American League players of that era, notes which I would love to get my hands on. -Bill James, in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, on the journals of Red Rolfe "Red Rolfe's journal for his years as manager of the Detroit Tigers is the kind of precious source researchers yearn for. In combination with William M. Anderson's well-done text, The View from the Dugout will be of great interest to general readers and of immense value to students of baseball history." -Charles C. Alexander, author of Breaking the Slump: Baseball in the Depression Era "Red Rolfe was one of baseball's most astute observers. This is 'inside' baseball from the inside." -Donald Honig, author of Baseball America, Baseball When the Grass Was Real, and other books in the Donald Honig Best Players of All Time series "In his lucid journals Red Rolfe has provided an inside look at how an intelligent baseball manager thinks and prepares." -Ray Robinson, Yankee historian and author of Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig in His Time Baseball players as a rule aren't known for documenting their experiences on the diamond. Red Rolfe, however, during his time as manager of the Detroit Tigers from 1949 to 1952, recorded daily accounts of each game, including candid observations about his team's performance. He used these observations to coach his players and to gain an advantage by recording strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies of opposing players and managers. Rolfe's journals carry added value considering his own career as an All-Star Yankee third baseman on numerous world champion teams, where he was a teammate of Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. Today, in the era of televised broadcasts, networks often wire a manager so that viewers can listen to his spontaneous comments throughout the game. Red Rolfe's journals offer an opportunity to find out what a manager is thinking when no one is around to hear. William M. Anderson is Director of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries for the State of Michigan. His books include The Detroit Tigers: A Pictorial Celebration of the Greatest Players and Moments in Tigers' History.
How Baseball Outlasted the Great Depression
Organized baseball has survived its share of difficult times, and never was the state of the game more imperiled than during the Great Depression. Or was it? Remarkably, during the economic upheavals of the Depression none of the sixteen Major League Baseball teams folded or moved. In this economist’s look at the sport as a business between 1929 and 1941, David George Surdam argues that although it was a very tough decade for baseball, the downturn didn’t happen immediately. The 1930 season, after the stock market crash, had record attendance. But by 1931 attendance began to fall rapidly, plummeting 40 percent by 1933. To adjust, teams reduced expenses by cutting coaches and hiring player-managers. While even the best players, such as Babe Ruth, were forced to take pay cuts, most players continued to earn the same pay in terms of purchasing power. Baseball remained a great way to make a living. Revenue sharing helped the teams in small markets but not necessarily at the expense of big-city teams. Off the field, owners devised innovative solutions to keep the game afloat, including the development of the Minor League farm system, night baseball, and the first radio broadcasts to diversify teams’ income sources. Using research from primary documents, Surdam analyzes how the economic structure and operations side of Major League Baseball during the Depression took a beating but managed to endure, albeit changed by the societal forces of its time.