• Big Hair and Plastic Grass

  • A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s
  • By: Dan Epstein
  • Narrated by: Dan Epstein
  • Length: 12 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (228 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.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Big Hair and Plastic Grass

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent but biased

I could have done without the liberal bias of the author seeping in every now and then. Otherwise it is a great “read”.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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To much liberal politics

Author has a nostalgia for the Carter administration. Need I say more? Definitely a liberal tilt to this book.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting Topic Marred By Politics

There are interesting stories at times, but this is marred by both the acutal author's narration style and the use of politics throughout. Seems better to be a swinger than a Republican.

2 people found this helpful

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Ok story but very anti capitalism

Decent, not great story. Author's dislike of anything concerning capitalism or any redeeming qualities of ownership, absent Bill Veeck, is embedded strongly in the story. Fair book but glad I listened as part of membership and didn't waste a credit on ir.

2 people found this helpful

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Great

Outstanding book about baseball in a wilder time...now I’m just typing to meet the minimum word requirement for a review

2 people found this helpful

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A dry look at a colorful era.

A dry look at a colorful era.

Epstein's 2009 "Big Hair and Plastic Grass" had so much potential for an in depth look at one of the weirder decades in modern America and by extension, American baseball. Anybody who has ever looked at a baseball card from the 1970s knew that something was "off" about that decade. From the garish uniforms to the more garish facial hair, the 70s were a supremely weird decade for the National Pastime.

Epstein's book *almost* gets there in its year-by-year history of the decade but ultimately misses the mark as the book feels like a series of disconnected anecdotes weighted down by row upon row of stats. While there is some discussion of changes in uniform styles and grooming standards, mostly what we get is just a lot of game recaps.

The year-by-year approach hampers Epstein's effort as it forces him to recap each season instead of a more thematic format. The thematic format still bleeds through as we hear stories about the same wacky promotions and garish uniforms in several different places. Epstein also spends WAY too much page space to the Reggie Jackson and his travels throughout the decade (and the Yankees in particular). This is obviously a product of author bias, but the constant "...when we last left Reggie" became distracting.

Overall, the 1970s were weird and wild enough and there are enough wacky stories and characters that it was hard to make this a *bad* book. It's not bad by any means, but it could have been so much better.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Epstein hits a home run!

The author sets the book up chronologically and takes you through baseball in the 1970’s. Stories, stats, and happenings in society are told in such a way that will take you back to the 70’s in each chapter. Could have done without the liberal political rant near the end, but would definitely would recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Reeling in the Years

Fun book, easy listen. I'm 55, so this brought back a lot of memories. Since it won't do that for younger people, I'm not sure how much they will enjoy this. For me, though I didn't really learn anything new, it was a nice trip back to the past. This is a cultural history, not an analytical one, so it covers the people who played the game a lot more than it does the changes they made to it.

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Great look back

This was a terrific listen. Thank you Dan for bringing me back to my youth with your insights, little unknown facts, and laugh out loud moments.