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Baseball in '41: A Celebration of the "Best Baseball Season Ever" Paperback – May 1, 1992

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

1941: Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 consecutive games (still a record), Ted Williams batted over .400 (an average not matched in the past 50 years), and catcher Mickey Owen dropped a game-ending third strike that figured largely in the Dodgers' loss of the World Series. In that year of "disintegrating peace," the author, who would later become an editor of Sports Illustrated , was an 18-year-old Yankee fan. Although the book focuses primarily on the national pastime, it also includes social and political history, for during "the best baseball season ever," Roosevelt readied the country for war. While he follows the travails of Boston's Williams and Detroit's Hank Greenberg, the first diamond superstar to be drafted, Creamer is very much a New York chauvinist, so the book's chief audience may be regional. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC selection; author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The author of Babe ( LJ 6/15/74) and Stengel: His Life and Times ( LJ 2/15/84), and with Ralph Houk of Season of Glory ( LJ 9/1/86), recalls this momentous year in baseball and world history. He reprises Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, Ted Williams's .406 batting average, Hank Greenberg and the draft, the furious Dodgers-Cardinals pennant fight, and the ensuing World Series. All this is portrayed against the looming U.S. entry into World War II. The choice here for the season's best baseball book. For all popular and serious sports collections.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140169431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140169430
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,006,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on November 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Robert W. Creamer is an old-style sports writer, and this book an exemplar of some of the best writing by those old-style writers. He narrates in compelling fashion the 1941 baseball season, the first last before the United States entered World War II and many of the stars of the major leagues marched off to serve in uniform. The season is memorable for the several important developments. First, and perhaps most important, Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees hit in 56 straight games, something no one has ever done before or since, finishing the season with an OPS of 1.083, and with 197 hits when he only played in 139 games. Second, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox batted .406 for the season, the last .400 hitter in the major leagues.

All summer the Yankees and the Red Sox battled, but the Yanks were too much for Boston and they Yanks took the pennant by 17 games. They then took on the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series and rolled over them four games to one.

All of this is related in "Baseball in '41." Don't look for a lot of sophisticated analysis, and certainly nothing in the way of advanced metrics, but it is an enjoyable narrative. It has an "I was There" quality to it that is enjoyable. Furthermore, if you are looking for complex historical investigation and analysis you will not find it here either. This is narrative history and nothing else. It delivers what it promises, but I would like a lot more in the way of serious discussion about the role in baseball in American culture, the place of the game in society on the eve of World War II, and the nature of its economic, social, and political place. That said, this is an interesting book.
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Format: Paperback
Robert Creamer attempts to recreate the whole world of 1941 in this book: it's part personal and family memoir, part portrait of America on the brink of WWII, and part sports reporting on the memorable 1941 season. That's a lot of territory to cover, and Creamer makes a good job of it, but a reader who is only a casual baseball fan will soon lose patience with the lengthy game summaries, featuring inning-by-inning recreations, similar to those a you might find in the annual Baseball Guide.

The book is at its best when it's talking about individual people in the context of the times. Portraits of Larry McPhail, the master team-builder of the '41 Brooklyn Dodgers, and Hank Greenberg, caught in a newspaper "scandal" (as we'd call it today) about his Draft status, are fascinating. The baseball details assist with the telling of those two stories, and some others. Along the way, Creamer--a veteran sports writer--also provides some tasty historical tidbits, such as the effects of night baseball and the development of game broadcasts on the radio.

Unfortunately, the book bogs down in its second half, where it reads more like a chronicle than a story. Drama disappears. Dimaggio's hitting steak, Williams' .400 season, the '41 World Series, all fade into the endless details. As mentioned above, the book would have been stronger with more focus on fleshing out the interesting characters who took the field in the days before Pearl Harbor.

Still, this is a genial book that describes a vanished era graciously and thoroughly. And once you've finished it, try Creamer's bio of Babe Ruth to see this author at his best.
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Format: Paperback
All I can say is that I loved this book. Got it at a rummage sale. Creamer is excellent and if you are into baseball history this book will be hard to put down!
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