Books Acquired Recently: Sports History Edition

Katz, Jeff. Split Season: 1981: Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike That Saved Baseball. New York: Dunne, 2015.

1981 was one of the weirdest seasons in Major League history because it was bisected by a players’ strike. Apparently no one has ever written a book on it, though, and I was too young to remember it, so when I heard about Katz’s book I was immediately intrigued.

Michaels, Al, with L. Jon Wertheim. You Can’t Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television. New York: Morrow, 2014.

Al Michaels has been one of my favorite sportscasters since I was old enough to be able to tell different announcers apart. I especially remember him announcing the excruciating 1988 NLCS, and also Monday Night Football, but have enjoyed his work on a number of sports throughout the years. He has announced some of the most important sports moments over the last forty years–way more than any other announcer–thus I am excited to read this memoir.

I missed one of the most famous of these moments, the earthquake during the 1989 World Series (you can watch a clip of Michaels’ call of the earthquake here; the earthquake happens at about 4:38 of the clip), and I am still kicking myself for it. I was nine at the time, and my bedtime was a half an hour after the games would begin (I believe they started at 8:00 and I had to go to bed at 8:30), which was incredibly frustrating. Usually I would watch that first half hour, but I would only get to see the entire first inning if I was lucky, and so I remember that night deciding to watch a sitcom during that time instead. This choice caused me to miss history. I remember flipping to ABC to check on the game during a commercial break and having the screen just be black (I was watching on a small black-and-white television in my parents’ room; I think they were entertaining company, which is why I wasn’t watching the color television in the living room), and thinking “that’s weird, they’re having technical difficulties. I guess I made the right choice.” But when I heard the next day (remember those days before the internet when you had to wait until the next morning to get the news from the paper?) what had happened I realized that I was wrong.

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