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Change Up: An Oral History of 8 Key Events…

Change Up: An Oral History of 8 Key Events That Shaped Baseball

by Larry Burke

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Not at all bad--inside descriptions of some of the big changes in baseball since 1960 (including the rise of the union, international ballplayers, the designated hitter, and Bouton's Ball Four). But sometimes the sources aren't quite as insightful as would be hoped, sometimes the seemingly casual nature of the interviews fail us and sometimes the lack of appropriate context and explanation of details (such as the legal wranglings over free agency) hinders what looks like a good story. On the whole a quick read and a decent one. ( )
  ehines | Oct 7, 2013 |
What a great idea, to examine eight events that shaped baseball since 1960 through interviews with people involved in the events or affected by them, baseball players, managers, owners.
Well done and well worth reading. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
Anytime publishers decide to use words like “greatest” or “best” in the title, they’re angling for a fight. The same can be said for the authors of CHANGE UP: An Oral History of 8 Key Events That Shaped Modern Baseball. Larry Burke and Peter Thomas Fornatale interviewed scores of players, managers, writers and other personnel on items that are sure to have some readers scratching their heads. The key word here is “modern,” which the authors decided started in 1962, when the Mets heralded the return of Major League Baseball to the National League, five years after the Dodgers and Giants left for the West Coast. Other “events” include the influx of Latin and Asian players (which counts as two separate items), Frank Robinson as the first African-American manager and Cal Ripken Jr.’s record-breaking consecutive games streak, among others.

The only “key event” with which I agree is the publication of BALL FOUR. When it first came out in 1970, author Jim Bouton was branded a pariah by teammates, baseball’s hierarchy, and many fans who didn’t want their legends depicted in anything other than glowing terms. For better or worse, Bouton created a new and human way of looking at those we would celebrate as role models. And, for better or worse, BALL FOUR opened the door for Canseco and his ilk to benefit from Bouton’s sacrifices.
  RonKaplanNJ | Jun 18, 2008 |
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Draws on the experiences and testimonies of such contributors as Derek Jeter, Cal Ripkin, and David Maraniss to identify eight turning points in baseball, in an oral history that covers such events as the rise of Latino players.

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