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Talkin' Baseball: An Oral History of Baseball in the 1970s Hardcover – February 24, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The 1970s was a decade of shifting power in baseball. The Athletics' dynasty was dismantled, the Big Red Machine was formed, free agency delivered its opening pitch, the DH stepped to the plate, and the first off-the-field strike was called. It was a memorable time, one that veteran sportswriter Phil Pepe characterizes as filled with "broad, sweeping changes." In Talkin' Baseball he gives the forum to the change makers themselves: the players, managers, executives, and writers who bear first-person witness. As in all oral histories, the moments range from the brilliant to the mundane, the life-fulfilling exploits and personal sadnesses, most strikingly the tragic plane-crash deaths of Roberto Clemente and Thurman Munson. While Pepe's lineup of interviewees is impressive, there are some all-star no-shows: Hank Aaron, Willie Stargell, Carlton Fisk, and Johnny Bench, for starters. Still, that's less a quibble than an observation. Pepe doesn't need to swing only for the fences; he finds plenty of other ways to score.

From Library Journal

Pepe, sportswriter, broadcaster, and coauthor of Mickey Mantle's My Favorite Summer: 1956 (LJ 2/15/91) and other sports bios, captures the tone of Big League ball in the 1970s. His interviews with players, managers, and others cover the excitement and turmoil of the era. The rise of player independence and salaries, the tragic deaths of Hodges, Clemente, and Munson, the designated hitter rule and new batting records, all spark this account. Recommended for popular collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (February 24, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345414977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345414977
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,544,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By pauwelsb@sysnet.net on April 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Phil Pepe does an outstanding job of taking us back in time to baseball's turbulent decade: the 1970's. His in-depth interviews, take you back as if you were there yourself. He does an excellent job of laying the groundwork for what would become the trademark of the seventies: free agency. His tale of Curt Flood and his drive to have the reserve clause abolished, is astonishing. He shows the readers that maybe Curt Flood hasn't received the recognition that he deserves for pioneering the free agency era. Pepe also show the tragic side of the decade with riveting accounts of the deaths of some of baseball biggest stars, such as Clemente and Munson. His inside look at the death of Thurman Munson and interview with his widow Diane is outstanding. It is handled with the delicate care that it should be while also telling the hard facts. His accounts of the games, players, and events that make up the 1970's is truly unbelievable. This book is a must for any baseball fan. My only regret was that the book was not longer because I had a hard time putting it down!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen A. Decoster on August 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Pepe is both reminiscent and simplistic as a writer, not exactly a bad combination for a book on 1970s baseball. The book takes us back - in terms of players, teams, championship play-by-play, and photos - to perhaps one of the greatest eras in all of professional sports. Being a NY'er, Pepe puts great emphasis on the American League, and especially the Yankees. There is some good gossip here, especially of the clubhouse variety. If you loved this era and want to relive it for 400 pages, I heavily recommend this.
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Format: Hardcover
Phil Pepe is a veteran New York sports reporter who has seen more than his fair share of ball games. The 70's were a decade of change and excess and baseball mirrored those strange times. Society started to accept men with longer hair, mustaches, crazy clothes and looser mores and baseball did the same. Players grew their hair long, grew mustaches and many teams changed their uniforms to contain gaudy bright colors moving away from the typical bland grays. The DH was introduced into the game, night baseball became more prevalent and of course the advent of free agency, all of which changed the game into what it is today. We read about the A's dynasty, the reemergence of the Yankees, the Big Red Machine, the tragic losses of Clemente and Munson, the wife swapping of two Yankee pitchers and other bizarre tales. There seemed to be more characters in the game at that time and Mr. Pepe gets into the changes and characters as told by the players themselves. You won't be able to put the book down as it is an easy and enjoyable read. A must for any fan of the game.
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Format: Hardcover
I was born in 1970 so I vaguely remember the last few years of the decade and the men who played the game. Pepe takes you on a year-by-year journey and gives you some of the unique stories that make baseball such an interesting sport. You will read about two pitchers who trade families (no kidding) and about how George Steinbrenner got his start with the Yankees. You will also feel the tragedies that baseball suffered in the 70's with the deaths of Roberto Clemente and Thurmon Munson. The book also gives a good perspective about the beginning of free agency and some needed background for the labor problems that plague the game even today. It is a great book for those of us who loved the game in the 70's and it is also a good book for those fans who were not around the game then but would like to learn more about the game.
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Format: Hardcover
This book brought back a ton of memories for me as I grew up in the 70's and seeing the great photos made me feel like I was 10 again and just opening a new pack of baseball cards. The stories of The New York Yankees really made me laugh out loud and remembering the great Thurman Munson with the words of his teammates and family brought back vividly the day I heard of his tragic demise. Overall this book was very well done and an easy read with its interview style and getting the real story on several legendary moments from the participants was worth the price. If you love,like or have an interest in baseball and its past, this book gives you an idea of what caused most of us to fall in love with the game.
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