The Year of the Pitcher

Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, and the End of Baseball’s Golden Age
Narrated by: Leon Nixon
Length: 12 hrs and 56 mins
4 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Year of the Pitcher is the story of the remarkable 1968 baseball season, which culminated in one of the greatest World Series contests ever, with the Detroit Tigers coming back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cardinals in Game Seven of the World Series.  

In 1968, two remarkable pitchers would dominate the game as well as the broadsheets. One was black, the other white. Bob Gibson, together with the St. Louis Cardinals, embodied an entire generation's hope for integration at a heated moment in American history. Denny McLain, his adversary, was a crass self-promoter who eschewed the team charter and his Detroit Tigers teammates to zip cross-country in his own plane. For one season, the nation watched as these two men and their teams swept their respective league championships to meet at the World Series. Gibson set a major league record that year with a 1.12 ERA. McLain won more than 30 games in 1968, a feat not achieved since 1934 and untouched since. Together, the two have come to stand as iconic symbols, giving the fans The Year of the Pitcher and changing the game.

©2017 Sridhar Pappu (P)2018 Tantor

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Misleading Title

The book is more focused on race relations in sports than it is on the 1968 MLB season. An inordinate amount of time is spent on Jackie Robinson's activism after his retirement from playing. The actual baseball is more of a secondary story. The retelling of the World Series and the story of Johnny Sain are the most compelling parts of the book focused on baseball. In the epilogue, the narrator claims to debunk the myth of that the '68 healed the City of Detroit. The myth doesn't exist - most of the epilogue could have been written by Mr. Obvious.

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  • J
  • 05-20-19

Not what I expected

This book, in my opinion, is more about the politics and the culture of the sixties than it is about baseball. It delves deeply into race relations, political campaigns and the transition from the 50's to the 60's. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I would have enjoyed more baseball. And, while the sixties were an unsettling period in American history, in my view this book is not the most balanced look at the decade. In sum, there are some great parts to the book, but overall I found it a bit of a downer and overly focused on the negatives.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful

Heard names long in the past, like Alvin Dark. As a baseball fan, I loved this book. As a history major in college I found it very informative. As a youngster I used to sit in first four rows of the right field grandstand at Forbes Field because it was the best place to watch Clemente play. Go Pirates. Go Rockies.

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The Year of the Pitcher is a Moving Narrative

What I absolutely love about this book is that it goes beyond baseball data. It is a wonderful storyline about the amazing pitchers and players who played this game in the late 60s and early 70s. Most of the focus was on the 1968 season and the 1968 World Series.These guys were clearly not one dimensional figures. And all of this great baseball playing was taken place during a very turbulent time in our country’s history. It allowed me to put myself in the shoes of those who played this game. I got a glimpse of the ups and downs of these players and their day. I felt an attachment to them and their world. This book would also be appreciated by those who are not baseball fans. The writer is a wonderful storyteller.