The Greatest Summer in Baseball History: How the '73 Season Changed Us Forever (Paperback)
"The vivid story of a young Reggie Jackson on Charlie Finley's A's and the veteran Willie Mays on Yogi's Mets, both destined for the '73 series." —Library Journal
A rousing chronicle of one of the most defining years in baseball history that changed the sport forever.
In 1973, baseball was in crisis. The first strike in pro sports had soured fans, American League attendance had fallen, and America's team—the Yankees—had lost more games and money than ever. Yet that season, five of the game's greatest figures rescued the national pastime.
- Hank Aaron riveted the nation with his pursuit of Babe Ruth's landmark home run record in the face of racist threats.
- George Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees at a bargain basement price and began buying back their faded glory.
- The American League broke ranks with the National League and introduced the designated hitter, extending the careers of aging stars such as Orlando Cepeda.
- An elderly and ailing Willie Mays—the icon of an earlier generation—nearly helped the Mets pull off a miracle with the final hit of his career.
- Reggie Jackson, the MVP of a tense World Series, became the prototype of the modern superstar.
The season itself provided plenty of drama served up by a colorful cast of characters, including the Mets rise from last place to win the division under Yogi Berra's leadership, Pete Rose edging out Willie Stargell as the MVP in a controversial vote, Hank Aaron chasing Babe Ruth's landmark record in the face of racial threats, Reggie Jackson solidifying his reputation as Mr. October, Willie Mays hitting the final home run of his career, and future Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and George Brett playing in their first major league games.
That one memorable summer changed baseball forever.
Originally published as Hammerin' Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid.
"It's a season-ticket to one of the greatest years in baseball history. John Rosengren has given us one of the most enjoyable baseball books to come along in years." –Jonathan Eig, author of Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season
John Rosengren is a SABR member with an MFA. He is the author of nine other books, including Blades of Glory: The True Story of a Young Team Bred to Win, which chronicles a season with a Minnesota high school hockey powerhouse. A Pulitzer nominee for his journalism, Rosengren has written articles for more than 100 publications, including The Atavist, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, and The Washington Post Magazine. His work has been anthologized alongside that of Maya Angelou, Marlon James, Bill Moyers, George Saunders, and Meg Wolitzer. He earned his master's degree in creative writing at Boston University, where he studied under Leslie Epstein, Theo's father. A lifelong Twins fan, Rosengren lives in Minneapolis with his wife, their two children, and two golden retrievers.
"A wonderfully informative book that proves once again baseball reflects American culture more powerfully than any other sport. Indeed, John Rosengren's book shows that sports are not an escape from political and social reality but a magnification of it." — Gerald Early, baseball historian and author
"This isn't just a book, it's a season-ticket to one of the greatest years in baseball history. With a wonderful knack for capturing the spirit of the seventies and a crackling writing style, John Rosengren has given us one of the most enjoyable baseball books to come along in years." — Jonathan Eig, author Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season
"John Rosengren brings to life the personalities and events that made the 1973 season a memorable one. From the star players to the out-of-control owners, it’s all here in Hammerin’ Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid." — Stew Thornley, author Baseball in Minnesota: The Definitive History