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They Bled Blue is the rollicking yarn of the Los Angeles Dodgers' crazy 1981 season, a watershed campaign that cemented the team's place and reputation as fitting thoroughly within the surrounding LA culture. That it culminated in an unlikely World Series win-during a split season demarcated by a strike, no less-is not even the most interesting thing about this team. The Dodgers were led by the garrulous Tommy Lasorda, whose office hosted a regular stream of Hollywood royalty. They had Steve Garvey, the first baseman with the movie-star good looks. Garvey was teamed with Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, and Bill Russell in the most durable infield in major league history, with 1981 presenting their final chance to win a championship as a unit. The difference maker was entirely unexpected twenty year old and nearly straight out of Mexico, with a wild delivery and a screwball as his flippin' out pitch. Fernando Valenzuela didn't speak much English, but his baseball ability broke down cultural barriers and helped fill Dodger Stadium to the brim with a Southern California Latino population that had been thirsting for just such a success story.Show more
The Oakland A's of the early 1970s were the most transformative team in baseball history. Never before had an entire organization so collectively traumatized baseball's establishment with its outlandish behavior and business decisions-or with its indisputable winning record: five straight division titles and three straight championships. The high drama that played out on the field was exceeded only by the drama in the clubhouse and front office. But those A's, with their garish uniforms and outlandish facial hair, redefined soon...virtually every aspect of the game for coming generations. Under the visionary leadership of Charles O. Finley, the team assembled such luminary figures as Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, and Vida Blue. Finley acted as his own general manager, and, with an insatiable need for control, dictated everything from the playlist of the ballpark organist to the menu for the media lounge. The advent of free agency spelled the end of Finley's reign; within two years, his dynasty was lost. A sprawling, brawling history of one of the game's most unforgettable teams, Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic is a paean to a turbulent yet magical time.Show more