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Split Season: 1981: Fernandomania, the Bronx…
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Split Season: 1981: Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that…

by Jeff Katz

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1981 was a watershed moment in American sports, when players turned an oligarchy of owners into a game where they had a real voice. Midway through the season, a game-changing strike ripped baseball apart, the first time a season had ever been stopped in the middle because of a strike. Marvin Miller and the Players' Association squared off against Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and the owners in a fight to protect players' rights to free agency and defend America's pastime.

Though a time-bomb was ticking as the 1981 season began, the game rose to impressive—and now legendary—heights. Pete Rose chased Stan Musial's National League hit record and rookie Fernando Valenzuela was creating a sensation as the best pitcher in the league when the stadiums went dark and the players went on strike. 

For the first time in modern history, there were first and second-half champions and the two teams with the overall best records in the National League were not awarded playoff berths. When the season resumed after an absence of 712 games, the season picked up again with a Nolan Ryan no-hitter. The Dodgers bested their long-time rivals in a Yankees-Dodgers World Series, the last classic matchup of those storied opponents.

Pulling from incredible and extensive interviews with almost all of the strike's major players, Split Season: 1981 brings back the on-field and off-field drama of an unforgettable baseball year.
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"1981 was a watershed moment in American sports, when players turned an oligarchy of owners into a game where they had a real voice. Midway through the season, a game-changing strike ripped baseball apart, the first time a season had ever been stopped in the middle because of a strike. Marvin Miller and the Players' Association squared off against Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and the owners in a fight to protect players' rights to free agency and defend America's pastime. Though a time-bomb was ticking as the 1981 season began, the game rose to impressive--and now legendary--heights. Pete Rose chased Stan Musial's National League hit record and rookie Fernando Valenzuela was creating a sensation as the best pitcher in the league when the stadiums went dark and the players went on strike. For the first time in modern history, there were first and second-half champions and the two teams with the overall best records in the National League were not awarded playoff berths. When the season resumed after an absence of 712 games, the season picked up again with a Nolan Ryan no-hitter. The Dodgers bested their long-time rivals in a Yankees-Dodgers World Series, the last classic matchup of those storied opponents. Pulling from incredible and extensive interviews with almost all of the strike's major players, Split Season: 1981 brings back the on-field and off-field drama of an unforgettable baseball year"--… (more)

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