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The Long Ball: The Summer of '75 -- Spaceman, Catfish, Charlie Hustle, and the Greatest World Series Ever Played Paperback – April 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316796441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316796446
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,770,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There's something about a good baseball yarn that brings out a writer's childlike enthusiasm; in this case, Adelman's gusto makes this account of the legendary 1975 World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox at once a joy and a bit of a pain to read. Adelman's retelling of one of baseball's greatest showdowns goes in so many different directions that the reader is sometimes hard put to relax and enjoy it; skipping between teams, players and games with the ferocity of a suicide squeeze, Adelman jumps from Casey Stengel to Steve Garvey with a story about a missed steal sign thrown by Don Zimmer as a segue. He tosses in bits about players' personal lives, too-Johnny Bench's rocky marriage to an Ultra Brite model; Mickey Mantle's nightmares; Luis Tiant's longing for his family in Cuba-for added color. And he still manages to depict in gripping detail the split-second decisions of legends like Pete Rose, Sparky Anderson, the elder Bonds and Griffey, Billy Martin, Johnny Bench and Yaz-uncovering some great inside stories and little-known anecdotes along the way. Also, 1975 was the year free agency came to baseball, when Catfish Hunter challenged the indentured servitude practiced by the owners and won, later becoming the game's first free agent and signing with (who else?) the Yankees. It signaled the end of the era of players being contractually bound to one team and ushered in the high-priced bidding wars that are now the hallmark of the sport. While Adelman doesn't explore the advent of free agency nearly as much as he could, choosing instead to analyze pitching decisions and the positioning of the second baseman on a hopper up the middle, he's still written a thoroughly enjoyable baseball book. 16 pages b&w photos
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"...nose for detail makes negotiations and arbitration hearings interesting...his writing on the dramatic World Series is crisp, clean and descriptive…." -- San Antonio Express News, 4/13/03

"1975...proved...fateful...thanks to the lingering shot of Carlton Fisk...Adelman's evocative retelling brings it all back." -- New York Magazine, 3/31/03

"A colorful tale of baseball’s seminal 1975 season." -- Boston Herald, 4/11/03

"A smooth, quick visit to a good year." -- New York Daily News, 4/6/03

"Adelman cuts a wide swath through the season as it progressed, including back story and anecdote on players and teams..." -- Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe, 4/6/03

"Gripping." -- Reader’s Digest, April ‘03

"Majestic…describes complex games crisply, economically, poetically...woven with imagistic gems… -- Boston Phoenix, 4/3/03

"One of the best baseball books I’ve ever read…. Adelman has an economical yet poetic ear for detail..." -- Newsday, 5/4/03

"Vivid writing…lovely metaphors… ambitious." — -- Washington Post, 5/18/03

"[A] winner...takes a dugout look at the stars of 1975..." -- The Baltimore Sun, 3/30/03 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Jones on April 21, 2004
Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
I'm not much a baseball fan anymore, but I was in 1975 and this book reminded me why: Catfish Hunter, Bill Lee, The Big Red Machine, Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin and on and on. If those names mean anything to you, you'll love this book. And if they don't mean anything to you, you should read the book to find out who they are. Adelman does a wonderful job telling their stories (and many more, as well as the story of the season and how the events of 1975 changed baseball forever). One other note: I listened to the unabridged audio version of the book, and it included an extra tape with a very interesting author interview. Probably not worth paying the premium price for the audio edition, but worth checking your local library to see if they have it on their shelves.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on June 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It has become popular during the last several years to have books published which are devoted to certain years during a baseball season. Some of them have been good while others have been found wanting. The Long Ball by Tom Adelman fits into the former category especially if you are old enough to remember the memorable 1975 season. There is a heavy emphasis on that year's World Series as it should, but it also includes a number of incidents and individuals that made headlines during that year such as the advent of free agency looming ominously on the horizon, and anecdotes on Casey Stengel, Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, Bill Lee, Catfish Hunter, and Carl Yastrzemski, and many others. Half of the book is devoted to the post season playoffs and World Series. I like the author's use of humor in telling stories such as Bill Lee describing Bernie Carbo as "pure oxygen looking for a flame." The relationship between Sparky Anderson and Bernie Carbo is built up prior to that fantastic 6th game of the Series, and I thought Anderson's reaction to the ending of that game was precious as he felt betrayed by Carbo's 8th inning three run homer. I notice that this book has received mixed reviews, but I found the book to be enjoyable and it was fun to relive the '75 season through this book and be reunited with those individuals who were in the game during that time. Whether you were old enough to be a fan during this season or not, I think you will find this to be a very enjoyable book. It is worth the space on your bookcase.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "drklandry" on April 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a longtime literature professor and a Red Sox fan since 1945, I thoroughly enjoyed Tom Adelman's blend of game descriptions, personal anecdotes, and poignant analyses in The Long Ball. I found his presentation refreshing, especially when compared with the hyped-up, controversy-stimulating, only occasionally decipherable fare served up by many of this area's so-called sports columnists. In a sensitive, meaningful way, Adelman has gifted us with a delightful, exciting account of an eminently memorable World Series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "soxfan8" on May 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book could have been overlooked on the shelf for the simple reason that the title states: The Greatest World Series Ever Played. As such, the '75 series has been written about several times, with varying interest and success. But anyone who passes over this book will miss an enjoyable, and enlightening, read. With this effort, Adelman goes beyond the playing field and gives the readers a look into private lives of the ballplayers. Johnny Bench's marriage is disintegrating, yet he seemingly doesn't care because he wants to win. Luis Tiant's parents have never seen him pitch in the majors until the World Series. This is stuff that you can't get out of stat books or reference manuals. These are stories, of the players, of the game, of the times. Adelman provides hints throughout of how Casey Stengel, Astroturf, the DH and Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally are all intertwined. Part history book, part narrative and part comedy, this book belongs on all baseball fans' shelf at home, especially fans of the Sox and Reds. And if you really want to know how long a batter has to decide to swing (which actually IS closer to 1/2 second than .15 seconds -- think about it, no one can decide to swing, swing and make contact, all within .15 second -- watch the next time Randy Johnson is on the hill -- the batter starts moving toward a swing before the pitch is even released, but I digress), go read Robert Adair's "Physics of Baseball." But if you want an entertaining look at baseball in one of the last pure years, pre-steroid inflated numbers, pre-record induced egos, don't miss Adelman's brilliant book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ErikEE on April 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
I just discovered this book at a local bookseller. I read it over the course of a few evenings, and I continue telling friends about cool tidbits I learned from The Long Ball.

Adelman's done his research, and his crisp, fast-paced writing gets you in the game quickly. Even if you're not a Reds or Red Sox fan, there's plenty in the book to enjoy, as it celebrates not only numerous players' personalities, but the nuances that make baseball so enjoyable for so many.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book brings it all back in a flood of bitter-sweet memories. It is fittingly ironic that the Fisk home run in Game Six of the 1975 World Series - a Series that the Red Sox lost in Game Seven - remains one of the truly great memories for most Red Sox fans. We all remember it as "the perfect game," and in many respects it was. It was certainly the most exciting game I have ever witnessed. And then came Game Seven, a game that columnist Ray Fitzgerald suggested should not be played at all. Bill Lee, in his quirky new book, The Little Red (Sox) Book takes a few liberties with historical accuracy and re-writes what has become a rather anti-climactic chapter of Red Sox history. First Lee chronicles what really happened: how he started the game, how Perez homered off his ill-fated "blooper" pitch, how he left the game - with the Red Sox ahead 3-2 - in the seventh inning after developing a blister on his pitching hand. The rest is too painful to talk about. But maybe not. Lee decides to change this bit of history so that things turn out slightly differently. In his version, he has Perez lunge at third strike blooper "like Roseanne going for a hamburger." He still develops the blister but continues to pitch and retires the side on "nine Rh-negative" pitches. Thanks Tom Adelman. And thanks Bill Lee. Thanks for two great books: the fact and the blessed fiction.
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