This book recounts the story of one of the most memorable seasons in the history of major league baseball. Drawing on interviews with surviving participants as well as daily newspaper accounts, David Kaiser re-creates the drama of the 1948 American League pennant race and places it within a broader historical context. Unfolding at a time when baseball truly was America's "national pastime, " the '48 season saw three teams vie for a championship that always seemed within reach but was never assured. In Cleveland, under the guidance of maverick owner Bill Veeck and charismatic player-manager Lou Boudreau, the Indians set new attendance records. In Boston, Ted Williams enhanced his already fabled reputation with another extraordinary season, leading a Red Sox team that new manager Joe McCarthy had reshaped during the off-season. In New York, the defending champion Yankees struggled to repeat behind a crippled Joe DiMaggio. In a year in which no team ever led the league by as many as four games, these three teams eventually found themselves in a tie with just nine days to go, and the season had to be extended to decide the race.
David Kaiser is professor of history at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He is author of Politics and War: European Conflict from Phillip II to Hitler and Economic Diplomacy and the Origins of the Second World War and coauthor of Postmortem: New Evidence in the Case of Sacco and Vanzetti.