Play It Again

Baseball Experts on What Might Have Been

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About the Book

What if Ty Cobb and Shoeless Joe Jackson had stood side by side in Cleveland’s outfield? What if integration had taken place in the major leagues before 1947? Who would have won the World Series had a strike not shortened the 1994 season? In this compilation of fantasy scenarios, the history of baseball from 1869 to the controversial 2003 playoffs is literally rewritten by fifty journalists, historians, authors and former baseball players. Topics include playing for pay, Merkle’s Boner, rival leagues, the 1919 Series, Mickey Owens and the dropped strike, and integration.
Chronologically organized, the experts take up the major events of each era and speculate on the long-and short-term outcomes had history followed a different, but still likely, course. The book concludes with an appendix in which the panel members hold forth on general-interest topics such as star-crossed players who might have gone on to Hall of Fame careers, the greatest big-game players, and World Series pairings.

About the Author(s)

Broadcast journalist Jim Bresnahan is also the author of Revisioning the Civil War (2006). He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jim Bresnahan
Foreword by Pete Palmer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 258
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2546-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0688-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Foreword by Pete Palmer      ix

Preface      1

The Panel of Baseball Experts      3

1. Beginnings: 1869–1900      11

2. Deadball Days: 1901–1918      30

3. Between the Wars: 1919–1941      48

4. Careers Lost, Teams Lost: 1942–1959      78

5. Decade of Growth: 1960–1969      119

6. A Whole New Ballgame: 1970–1979      167

7. Strikes and Errors: 1980–2003      195

Appendix: Surveying the Experts      215

Chapter Notes      235

Bibliography      239

Index      241

Book Reviews & Awards

Booklist Starred Review
“interesting…worthy addition”—Library Journal; “thought-provoking”—Sports Collectors Digest; “experts including historians, journalists, former players, and broadcasters discuss some of the game’s larger “what-if” questions…like a great conversation in a sports bar except, at this literary watering hole, the participants know what they’re talking about”—Booklist; “something for everyone”—Detroit Free Press; “many delicious scenarios”—The Tampa Tribune.