October 1964 – David Halberstam

“The 1964 baseball season didn’t happen just so David Halberstam could come along and write about it, but it certainly seems that way, especially 30 years later. At the time, the 1964 baseball season, which culminated in a memorable seven-game series between the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals, was considered a good one, but over the years the series and the season have taken on greater stature. Some World Series may have featured more great players–though two Cardinals and three Yankees from the ’64 teams eventually made it into the Hall of Fame–but not one has featured a more fascinating collection of vivid personalities, individualists who left lasting imprints on the game and who go right on being an important part of it today. Perhaps a book on the players who shared the ’64 season was inevitable considering how many books the players themselves wrote. Jim Bouton, the iconoclastic Yankees’ right-hander, went on to write ‘Ball Four,’ perhaps the most influential baseball book of the modern era; Curt Flood, the Cardinals’ center fielder, wrote an autobiography that detailed his heroic and doomed assault on the ‘reserve clause,’ which bound players to one team for life; and even Mickey Mantle, who didn’t seem to have even one book in him back when he expressed himself by slamming bats into water coolers, has nearly a dozen volumes with his name on them. The Yankees’ Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra and the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson and Lou Brock have all produced books; even Bob Uecker, St. Louis’ second-string catcher, was able to parlay the season into two books (and a movie career). These two teams may have written more books than any other two teams have read.  … What were they putting in the water in 1964 to produce players of this kind? Halberstam answers the question with what was in the air: questions of race in the wake of civil rights victories, the anxiety following the death of J.F.K., the increased liberalism of American society, the escalating war in Vietnam. Halberstam doesn’t belabor any of these points but shows how the changes in baseball reflected changes in America. …”
LA Times
The Great Yankees-Cardinals World Series of 1964
YouTube: October 1964 – Side 1, Side 2, Side 3, Side 4

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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