Big Hair and Plastic Grass

A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s
Narrated by: Dan Epstein
Length: 12 hrs and 54 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (60 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Bronx Is Burning meets Chuck Klosterman in this wild pop-culture history of baseball's most colorful and controversial decade. 

The Major Leagues witnessed more dramatic stories and changes in the 70s than in any other era. The American popular culture and counterculture collided head-on with the national pastime, rocking the once-conservative sport to its very foundations. Outspoken players embraced free agency, openly advocated drug use, and even swapped wives. Controversial owners such as Charlie Finley, Bill Veeck, and Ted Turner introduced Astroturf, prime-time World Series, garish polyester uniforms, and outlandish promotions such as Disco Demolition Night. Hank Aaron and Lou Brock set new heights in power and speed, Reggie Jackson and Carlton Fisk emerged as October heroes, and All-Star characters like Mark "The Bird" Fidrych became pop icons. 

For the millions of fans who grew up during this time, and especially those who cared just as much about Oscar Gamble's afro as they did about his average, Big Hair and Plastic Grass serves up a delicious trip down memory lane.

©2019 Dan Epstein (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Big Hair and Plastic Grass

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

It was ok. Could have been more.

In the mid 70's I was a kid obsessed with baseball and Pete Rose. This book brought back a lot of good memories. There is a lot of stuff about Rose and the Reds here since they were one of the big stories of the 70s. It detailed a lot of World Series games I can remember watching on tv with my dad when he was alive which was nice. If you were a fan of one of the dominant teams of the decade, then there is a lot for you here. It also had some 70s baseball trivia that was pretty cool. Especially the story about a kid working in the A’s clubhouse who looked so much like Hank Aaron that the As players called him Hammer, Aaron’s nickname. The kid later became a rapper and used the nickname as part of his stage name— MC Hammer. I wish the book had gone into more of such stories. The stories we very good. The behind the scenes stuff. Overall, it was a stat driven summary of the decade in baseball. I know baseball is a sport of stats, but for an audiobook it's hard to deal with a lot of numbers. It kept my interest, but it seemed like it could have been much better. The author read it. He shouldn’t have. A pro could have made it a better audio experience.

1 person found this helpful

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An Upper and a Downer!

Wow! Such a fantastic ride through the world of baseball in the '70s. This book rekindled a fervent fire within me and made me remember why I ever fell in love with this game in the first place. Although I'm an 80s kid, I know my baseball history and I loved the fact that my Mets got (what I consider) adequate love in this book. Stories of Cleon Jones, the battles against the Big Red Machine, and Tom Terrific, all made my heart smile. The sad thing for me is - after listening to this book the current state of baseball hit me really hard. The game just isn't what it used to be, but for a few hours, this book takes you back. Boy oh boy does it take you back...in a good way. I wish I still enjoyed it the same, but I don't. Sadly, I feel the money has completely taken over. Some markets don't make any real effort to field competitive teams. As long as the revenue is there, there is no real incentive to do more as an organization. Such is life, I guess. I'd also like to mention the author is sure to drop anecdotal information about the political vibe in the backdrop. The approach provides great context and It all comes together nicely. Big hair, wild mustaches, greenies, spit balls, Frank Tanana. Disco fever. The makings of George Steinbrenner as a mogul. Watergate. The Montreal Expos. Sheesh. It's all here. Comprehensively.

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Loved it!

Great stories and narration. A lot of stats but I’m a baseball fan so I didn’t mind. Sadly, there will never be another era like this in baseball. Highly recommended.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Truly joyful MLB trip through the 70's

I was always a big fan of 70's MLB and this book was a joy to find. if you liked that era at all you will thoroughly enjoy this. if you don't know a lot about it, this will be a great way to discover one of the craziest and most interesting decades in baseball history.

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Very entertaining but it could’ve been better

Overall, this is a great book to listen to. I learned a lot of things about baseball in the 70s that I never knew had occurred. I think the author could’ve generated two books out of the material because there are things I’d like to know more about Philadelphia or Pittsburgh drug scandals, to name just a couple things. My biggest quibble is that the author doesn’t seem to know how to pronounce words like My Lai, DeCinces or angst, among others. Still worth a listen.

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Strikes a Perfect Balance

This is one of the more interestingly -- and successfully -- structured books I've listened to. While the chapters do an outstanding year-to-year summary of the seasons through the 1970s, just when then the march through the years starts to feel methodical, the writer throws in a "break" chapter to focus on the some of the broader social, political and economic forces that shaped the game and gave this decade its own unique texture. Would love to see Epstein take on another decade or two. I'll be first in line too listen. Strong narration helps move the book along fluidly,

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Good listen

This was a good book few tidbits I did not know about. Few laughs and great stats.

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Great memories from the decade when I discovered baseball

From the title, I thought this might be focused primarily on the culture of the game during the 70s. Ended up being a good mix of on field and off field history. Didn’t quite understand the need for the political commentary at the end though.

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Fantastic book. I absolutely enjoyed it.

I really enjoyed the book. It was very enjoyable. I was born in the 1980's and read a lot of the 1970's baseball. This book took me there in abundance. I highly recommend.

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What a decade! And what a book!

Perhaps I am biased, since my first baseball memories came in the 1970s, but Dan‘s book is by far the best compendium of that incredible decade that I have ever read. Unlike so many other baseball histories, usually written by much older people who believe in a different “golden age”, Dan treats the decade with the respect that it deserves. And the honesty that it deserves. Each year of baseball’s 1970s deserves it’s own book, but if you are looking for a basic overview of an incredible decade, you will not find a better one than this.