- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Lyons Press; First Edition edition (April 2, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0762780606
- ISBN-13: 978-0762780600
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Swinging '73: Baseball's Wildest Season Paperback – April 2, 2013
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A Special Libraries Association Baseball Caucus Readers’ Choice Award Finalist
"A fantastic ode to a year that began with the Yankees wife-swap and ended with the Mets’ second miracle."
—New York Post
"Silverman sets his sights on one of the sport’s greatest, most dramatic, and colorful seasons ever, a go-go moment in pop-cultural time. ... Swinging ’73 is a sharp, finely detailed, engrossingly entertaining snapshot of a country and its national pastime, both grooving along—though not always smoothly—to the beat of a new era."
"Swinging ’73 chronicles the ups and downs, the ins and outs of one of pro baseball’s most exciting years ever, and it does it in casual, breezy style. .. It comes highly recommended to all baseball fans. Mets and A’s fans looking to recapture the glory days of those franchises will particularly enjoy leafing through its pages, but anyone who enjoys immersing themselves in the annals of baseball lore will find Swinging ’73 to be the perfect kind of read: a fastball right down the plate."
"One of the most entertaining new baseball books of the spring."
"Silverman provides a sprinkling of cultural touchstones that permeated 1973 America. Vietnam, the Watergate hearings, and Roe v Wade, vital moments in our history, indeed. But we are also reminded of Maude, Billie Jean King, and Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, passed out on animal tranquilizers and brandy. Swinging ’73 is entertaining, irreverent, and fun. The book takes nothing serious yet is serious as hell. It is only a game but it is our game, our memories, our lives… 'Ya Gotta Believe!'"
"A delightful paperback."
—New York Sports Day
"Silverman has done it again, delivering another amazing book that should be a part of every Met fan’s library. This isn’t your regular everyday telling of the “Ya Gotta Believe” season. ... Fascinating ... Silverman sucks you right in with his timeless writing style, and I know many of you will flip through each chapter in one sitting—which is the true sign of a great story. I encourage all of you to grab a copy for yourselves!"
"Fascinating ... highly recommended."
“Silverman’s a baseball fanatics’s baseball fanatic who has forgotten more lore than most fans will ever learn. He’s got a knack for putting the memorable pieces together into a narrative that showcases heroic achievement and lunacy alike—and Swinging ’73 has plenty of both.”
—Blue Stone Press
"Silverman hits a home run with his latest baseball book. Readable baseball books are a dollar-a-dozen—except when they happen to be written by one of our neighbors. Then, they're worth a fortune. That happens to be the case with the hot-off-the-presses Swinging '73: Baseball's Wildest Season. Which, by the by, you should hurry up and buy. Have some fun reading about a fun time in baseball."
"A fun and engaging book that takes readers back to a time when players and fans could more easily relate to one another and before the players had all the rights they enjoy today. Silverman has done a terrific job of capturing the era and those great Oakland teams. Anyone who grew up with those A’s or enjoys reading about baseball history or the 1970s in general should buy a copy."
"In a season when controversies were commonplace, Silverman hits all the high notes. The most interesting is obviously the decision made by Kekich and Peterson to swap families, and the author reports the situation professionally without passing judgment. ... Swinging ’73 is a book that should be in every baseball fan’s personal library."
—The Writer's Journey
"Silverman does good work on the three teams that serve as the center of the book. He interviewed some of the principals from those seasons, and they provide some good stories. The story about the A's allocating playoff tickets with a skeleton staff by hand, for example, is a classic. Some of the players provide fresh insights. ... If you have an interest in the A's and Mets of that era, you'll enjoy the book and the memories it provides."
—Sports Book Review Center
"Silverman crafts a thrilling account of the 1973 baseball season itself right up to the final out of the World Series. The reader will not get bogged down in detail during this fun and fascinating read. Highly recommended both for sports fans and those interested more generally in this crucible of a year."
—Library Journal, starred review
"Silverman deftly recalls those strange days through the prism of baseball, where weirdness reigned that year. Swinging '73 is a fabulous guide to a lost landscape in baseball and America."
—John Thorn, official historian of Major League Baseball and author of Baseball in the Garden of Eden
"Swinging '73 shines an informative, amusing, and highly readable light on one of the decade's greatest seasons, an action-packed year populated by brilliant players, unforgettable characters, and one of the weirdest pennant races of all time. Dig it!"
—Dan Epstein, author of Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s
"Matt Silverman brilliantly captures major league baseball at the very moment that it bloomed into beautiful Technicolor ridiculousness. Reading Swinging ’73 is like hearing about a wild party from the one guy who stayed sober enough to notice and remember all the hilarious, embarrassing, illuminating details."
—Josh Wilker, author of Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale Told through Baseball Cards
From the Back Cover
But beyond the muttonchops and mayhem lay another world. Elvis commanded a larger audience than the Apollo landings. A Dodge Dart cost $2,800, and gas 38 cents per gallon. Vietnam had ended, the vice president resigned, Watergate had taken over, and a fiscal crisis loomed. It was one of the most exciting years in baseball history, the first with the designated hitter and the last before arbitration and free agency. The two World Series opponents went head-to-head above the baby steps of a juggernaut that soon dwarfed both league champions. It was a turbulent time for the country and the game, neither of which would ever be the same again.
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Top customer reviews
Heavy detail is given to the Mets (one WS participant that year) and to the Yankees (Steinbrenner's 1st year as owner). Silverman is a Mets blogger and author of previous Met books, so the New York connection is somewhat expected. Such concentration on the 2 New York teams may or may not be a recommendation, depending on your interests, rooting or otherwise. Charlie Finley's Oakland A's (the Mets WS opponent) are examined in detail also, 1973 being the middle year of the A's 3 consecutive WS winning dynasty. Other MLB stories, like Hank Aaron's home run chase and Nolan Ryan's strikeout record are covered as well.
For those of you who lived through this era of baseball, the book is sure to jog a memory or two loose. For those of you who didn't, and want to know why older fans describe this time in the major leagues with reverence and a gleam in their eye, this book can provide some insight as to why.
It was a year of bright baseball personalities. From the bombastic and irascible Charlie Finley and his mustachioed band of winning hired hands, to the ever quotable Yogi Berra, who brought a team barely over .500 into the World Series. Willie Mays, arguably the greatest player of all-time, trudging through his last season a diminished shell of his former self, while watching the quiet steadiness of Hank Aaron chase after Babe Ruth's coveted record.
Matthew Silverman details one baseball's strangest, and in hindsight, saddest stories, in the life swap of two Yankee pitchers. Sad in that their privacy was violated, and their story distorted and sensationalized. And also because it led to the deep unhappiness of one of the participants.
The cast of characters, like George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin and Dick Allen are all worthy of entire books by themselves ( and have been), but here, they are not deeply explored.
For better or for worse, baseball has gone corporate, and the characters are now gone. Today's breed has learned to either stay away from sportswriters, or say innocuous and bland things, making them indistinguishable off the field.
1973 is a great subject, and has been taken on by Mike Shropshire and others as a hilarious and seminal year in baseball. This was an interesting and somewhat fun read, lacking the KO punch to really put it over the top.
The book is especially of interest to fans of 3 franchises : those colorful, mustachioed champion A's; the Mets, who made an improbable run from last place to winning a division no one seemed to want; and the Yankees, who faded from contention while weathering the notorious Fritz Peterson - Mike Kekich Family Swap.
Other teams are more or less supporting players in the narrative or just mentioned briefly. As such, I'm not sure how much fans of other franchises like the Brewers, Twins or Astros will enjoy the book.
As a fan who remembers the era and that season specifically, I ate this book up. It's a good jumping-off point that whetted my appetite for other books either written by or about significant players in "Swinging '73": Tug McGraw, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Dick Williams, Ron Blomberg, etc.
To "Bottom Line" it : if you want to revisit 1973 --or experience it for the first time -- this book is highly recommended.
If you can acquire inexpensively I'd do so but don't break the bank.