Baseball on the Brink

The Crisis of 1968

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About the Book

Major League Baseball was in crisis in 1968. The commissioner was inept, professional football was challenging the sport’s popularity and the game on the field was boring, with pitchers dominating hitters in a succession of dull, low-scoring games. The major league expanded for the 1969 season but the muddled process by which new franchises were selected highlighted the ineffective management of the sport. This book describes how baseball reached its nadir in the late 1960s and how it survived and began its slow comeback. The lack of offense in the game is examined, taking in the great pitching performances of Denny McLain, Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale and others. Colorful characters like Charley Finley and Ken Harrelson are covered, along with the effects that dramatic changes in American society and the war in Vietnam had on the game.

About the Author(s)

William J. Ryczek is a finance professional from Wallingford, Connecticut, who writes about early baseball, football, the Yankees, and the Mets.

Bibliographic Details

William J. Ryczek
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 255
Bibliographic Info: 20 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6848-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2803-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Introduction 1
1. Gentlemen, Please Be Seated, We Have Some Other Business to Discuss 3
2. Baseball Is Essentially a ­Nonviolent Sport in a Violent Time 11
3. The Division Between the “Haves” and the “Have Nots”Has Been Narrowing 22
4. Almost Any Strong and Passably Coordinated Young Man Can Learn How to Pitch 32
5. You Handsome Sonofagun, Don’t You Ever Die 50
6. I’ve Just Been Taught a New Trade: I’m a Trained Killer 73
7. The Entire Chain of Events Is of Utter Embarrassment to Baseball 84
8. Let’s Not Permit the Inmates to Run the Asylum 100
9. We May Have Been Overly Optimistic in the Spring 115
10. Don’t Worry About the Tigers, They Always Find a Way Not to Win 138
11. It Will Be a Miracle If the Montreal Ball Park Is Ready in Time 159
12. Nobody in the World Can Be Another Mickey Mantle 177
13. Either Miller or Baseball Has to Go 201
Epilogue: Baseball Was on Fire When I Became Commissioner 218
Chapter Notes 225
Bibliography 235
Index 239