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October 1964 Paperback – April 11, 1995
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THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERTHE BEST SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR"October 1964 should be a hit with old-time baseball fans, who'll relish the opportunity to relive that year's to-die-for World Series, when the dynastic but aging New York Yankees squared off against the upstart St. Louis Cardinals. It should be a hit with younger students of the game, who'll eat up the vivid portrayals of legends like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris of the Yankees and Bob Gibson and Lou Brock of the Cardinals. Most of all, however, David Halberstam's new book should be a hit with anyone interested in understanding the important interplay between sports and society."--The Boston Globe
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I have to mention that the Kindle version of this book has many typos in it. For example in a chapter near the end Mickey Mantle was referred to as Mamie Mantle. Was that his Grandmother? That is just one example of many errors throughout this book. The proof readers for Kindle should have done better job,IMO. But it did not take away from the quality of the content of the book.
This book is somewhat mis-named, as only the last chapter is really about the amazing World Series between the fading Yankees and the surging Cards. The book is really about those two teams, their history, and their condition and actions in 1964 that led to their meeting in the Series. It also has a *lot* of detail and history about the acceptance (or lack of, in the case of the Yankees) of black players in the major leagues.
There is also a lot of detail about the owners and management of the two teams. Also, pretty much every player, or at least major player, on the two teams is examined, including their origins and their history up to and including 1964.
I learned more about baseball (esp. about scouting and pitching) and these two teams in this book than I knew overall before. It is a "dense" book - I usually could only read a chapter (they are long chapters) a night. I highly recommend it to all serious fans of both teams.
I was a kid following baseball intently in that era, and I've played some competitive ball as well. So I am very interested to now know as people what had been just names in the newspaper or images on the TV from that era. Also being introduced to some remarkable men who were outside of the public view but who had such an impact on others' lives. Notably the scouts and coaches.
Specifically we learn about the lives of numerous players on both the Yankee and Cardinal teams of the 1960s. Where they came from and how they got up to the major league team and how the stresses of the season played out for them. So much has to do with the relationships between the players. That's the fullness of anyone's life, as opposed to the narrow slice that fills up the sports pages and energizes sports talk amongst the public.
My sense of respect comes partly for the author but primarily for the hearts of those key men who gave so much to others. Most of which was new to me. On the author's behalf I might assert that each of us is a protagonist in our own life stories. And like the best authors, Mr. Halberstam gets me feeling like I'm inside the skin of many of those depicted in this book.