Black and Blue: the Golden Arm, the Robinson Boys, and the World Series that Stunned America
(2006, Back Bay)
Like The Long Ball, this too is a nonfiction baseball book written as “Tom Adelman.” This one tells the tale of the 1966 season and World Series.
It occurred to me that certain American cities take their teams very seriously, like Boston, like Detroit, like Philadelphia, like Baltimore, working-class cities where sports just seemed to matter an awful lot to everyone, and those were the places, and those were the teams, that I wanted to write about. And I realized that I’d never read a book about Baltimore that explained 1966, the season when the Orioles really became great, when they faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
1966 was a year of some very dramatic baseball, and in the country as a whole there were some big changes. So many things started in that period, I wanted to look at it through the prism of baseball, just to see what it would show me.
1966 was the year that feminism and black power were articulated, the year that Ronald Reagan became governor of California and Spiro Agnew became governor of Maryland, there was a war that fewer and fewer people liked, a race to the moon that was looking pretty sketchy, and more and more kids with long hair taking drugs and listening to loud guitars. It was the year the miniskirt first appeared, it was the year that Hollywood movies first talked graphically about sex, and it was the last year of Sandy Koufax’s career. I grew up near Los Angeles, loving the Dodgers, so like any writer I’d dreamed of getting a chance to compose something about Koufax, and this was my chance.