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Change Up: An Oral History of 8 Key Events That Shaped Baseball Hardcover – March 4, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; First Edition edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594861897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594861895
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,480,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Just when you think you know it all, along comes Change Up, brilliantly hitting all the high points of baseball's last half-century."—Rob Neyer, ESPN columnist and author of Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Blunders
"Change Up is a great idea well executed, just like its namesake pitch. Any fan of baseball, from the casual to the most rabid, will be entertained and informed by its many voices."—Tom Verducci, senior writer, Sports Illustrated
"Serious fans of the game will find this one of the most eye-opening and fascinating baseball books of the year." - Booklist
"Talking baseball has rarely been so enlightening." - Sports Illustrated

About the Author

Larry Burke is a senior editor at Sports Illustrated. He is the author of four books, including The Baseball Chronicles: A Decade-by-Decade History of the All-American Pastime. He lives in Connecticut.

Peter Thomas Fornatale is an author and writer whose work has appeared in many places, including and the New York Times. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to, and has contributed to baseball books by Bill James and Rob Neyer. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barry Sparks VINE VOICE on May 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Baseball today is a different game than it was 50 years ago. And, even though it has changed drastically in some ways, we have a tendency to forget the impact the changes have had.

Authors Larry Burke and Peter Thomas Fornatale compile an interesting oral history of eight key events that shaped modern baseball. The selected events are:

The Latino Wave
The 1962 Mets (expansion)
Ball Four
Birth of the Players Union
The Designated Hitter
The First African American Manager
Cal Ripken's Streak
Ichiro Comes to America

Some could argue whether or not these are the eight most important changes, but none of them can be readily dismissed.

Even if you have lived through the changes (as I have), you will find the chapters informative, insightful and interesting. The authors interview a good mix of players, executives and sportswriters. Change Up is a book all baseball fans should read.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to say I enjoyed this book as it put names and voices to one of the most interesting and tumultuous times in baseball history. Everything from the emergence of Latin players, to the players union to the current import of players from Asia is well covered. Some of the voices are quite interesting such as Marvin Miller who is always a fascinating man and is someone who should be in the Hall of Fame.

The only downside that I see to this book is the format. I do not believe that the personal history is the best format. I believe a number of short paragraphs would be more ideal. Otherwise, any baseball fan with a love of the game would like this book.
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By WDX2BB on February 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Can a premise spoil a book?

Perhaps, when the premise isn't quite executed.

That's the initial reaction to "Change Up," which tries to present an oral history to some of the big events in baseball history over the last 50 years or so.

That's not a bad idea, but it's not quite the book that's presented here.

Authors Larry Burke, Peter Thomas Fornatale and Jim Baker picked out eight items for examination here, including Latino influence, the players' union, the designated hitter, the arrival of Asian players. No problem so far.

But the other events come into question -- expansion (in the form of looking at the season of the 1962 New York Mets), the book "Ball Four," the first African American manager, and Cal Ripken's streak.

Those four subjects have their charm, particularly the Mets' beginnings -- which was selected as representative of the entire expansion era. (You could argue that the Mets' experience wasn't representative of anything, but that the move into new markets did wonders for the game's national popularity eventually.) In terms of effect on the game, though, the other three probably rank behind such areas as the run of new stadiums starting with Camden Yards, the strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series, and the boom in offense/steroid era.

Let's get past that point, then, and try to see what we do have. Some of the chapters work pretty well. The stories on the beginnings of the union are quite interesting, and contain some new information about that transitional period. Those looking for an introduction to the subject can find answers here. The Latino story has some good first-hand accounts of the problems that population had in breaking into the majors.
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