B Blue Blue von Monsac, Frankreich
Nineteen seventy-three was a memorable year for major league baseball. John Rosengren brings the outsized personalities who populated the game, on and off the field, back to life in the pages of this book. His subtitle, "The Year That Changed Baseball Forever," may seem a bit audacious, but a look at the developments of that remarkable season will back up that claim. It was the year Willie Mays said good-bye to the game. It was the year Hank Aaron pulled to within one home run of Babe Ruth's cherished career home run mark. It was the year the American League introduced the designated hitter, and although the Yankees' Ron Bloomberg went into the books as the first official DH, it was Orlando Cepada, in the last great season of his career, who put his stamp on the job. It was the year when the Mets went from worst to first, manager Yogi Berra declaring "It ain't over until it's over" (sort of). It was the year the swaggering, brawling Oakland A's, resplendent in their green and gold uniforms, took their second consecutive World Championship. That World Series was the first for the A's' budding superstar Reggie Jackson (Reggie had been injured during the '72 series) who began putting together the performances that would earn him the title of Mr. October. It was also a year dominated by two oversized personalities in the owners' box--the A's Charley Finley and the new Boss of the Yankees, George Steinbrenner. Older fans will recall (and younger ones will learn) why the A's won in spite of, not because of Finley. And Yankee lovers and haters will see how the early months of Steinbrenner's reign laid the path for what was to follow in the decades ahead. The larger world of 1973 doesn't intrude too deeply into these pages, with the notable exception of the Watergate scandal that was beginning to engulf the Nixon presidency. However, the nexus with baseball is clear--Steinbrenner ended up being caught in the web of scandal for illegal campaign contributions. Rosengren's narrative is engaging and holds the reader's interest from the first page to the last. His focus is as much on the colorful personalities as in the play on the diamond. Although he was only able to talk to a handful of players, executives and broadcasters from 1973, his research in newspapers, magazines and books has been exhaustive. The result is a must-read for any baseball fan who wants to relieve the memorable summer of '73.