Summer of '68: The Season That Changed Baseball – and America – Forever Discussion and Book Signing with Tim Wendel

Saturday, October 27, 2018, 2:00 p.m.

Published : Wednesday, October 10, 2018 | 12:15 PM

Bob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals ace pitcher fires the ball at Detroit Tigers Norm Cash in the ninth inning of the first game of the World Series Oct. 2, 1968 at Busch stadium in St. Louis, Mo. Gibson struck Cash out for the 16th strikeout of the game and set a new World Series record. Looking on are catcher Tim McCarver, home plate umpire Tom Gorman and first base umpire Jim Honochick. (AP Photo)

Tim Wendel

The Baseball Reliquary and the Allendale Branch Library host a discussion and book signing with Tim Wendel, author of Summer of ’68: The Season That Changed Baseball – and America – Forever, on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at 1130 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, California. The event is open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments will be served.

From the beginning, 1968 was a season rocked by national tragedy and sweeping change. Opening Day was postponed and played in the shadow of Dr. Martin Luther King’s funeral. That summer, as the pennant races were heating up, the assassination of Robert Kennedy was later followed by rioting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. But even as tensions boiled over and violence spilled into the streets, something remarkable was happening in major league ballparks across the country. Pitchers were dominating like never before, and with records falling and shutouts mounting, many began hailing 1968 as “The Year of the Pitcher.”

In Summer of ’68, Tim Wendel takes us on a wild ride through a season that saw such legends as Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, Don Drysdale, and Luis Tiant set new standards for excellence on the mound, each chasing perfection against the backdrop of one of the most divisive and turbulent years in American history. For some players, baseball would become an insular retreat from the turmoil encircling them that season, but for a select few, including Bob Gibson and the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, the conflicts of 1968 would spur their performances to incredible heights and set the stage for their own run at history.

Meanwhile in Detroit – which had burned just the summer before during one of the worst riots in American history – 1968 instead found the city rallying together behind a colorful Tigers team led by Denny McLain, Mickey Lolich, Willie Horton, and Al Kaline. The Tigers would finish atop the American League, setting themselves on a highly anticipated collision course with Gibson’s Cardinals. And with both teams’ seasons culminating in a thrilling World Series for the ages – one team playing to establish a dynasty, the other fighting to help pull a city from the ashes – what ultimately lay at stake was something even larger: baseball’s place in a rapidly changing America that would never be the same.

World Series action 1968

In vivid, novelistic detail, Summer of ’68 tells the story of this unforgettable season – the last before rule changes and expansion would alter baseball forever – when the country was captivated by the national pastime at the moment it needed the game most.

A writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University, Tim Wendel is a novelist and author who has had 13 books published. His stories and columns have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Esquire, and other publications. He lives in Vienna, Virginia.

A book signing will follow the discussion. Copies of Summer of ’68 will be available for purchase for $15 each.

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. For further information, phone (626) 791-7647 or (626) 744-7260; or e-mail terymar@earthlink.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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