Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another blurb for Summer of '68

This is from my good friend and top Detroit-area author Tom Stanton:
""No book better captures how in 1968 sports changed America -- and vice versa. In splendid fashion, Tim Wendel takes us on a rollicking journey through an unparalleled year of tumult, tragedy and, too, joy. Summer of '68 reads like a novel brimming with surprising action, colorful characters and fresh insights. I enjoyed every page."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

First cover endorsement

This from Ken Burns about the Summer of '68:
“As always, Tim Wendel gets to the heart of this game and the complicated republic it so precisely mirrors.”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book copy edits? Done

I've done with the copy editor's questions/edits for Summer of '68. Now we're hunting down cover blurbs and trying to finish the cover, where we're looking to add some color and perhaps a funky border. 
It's going to get done, it has to, because Amazon and B&N are now taking pre-orders for Summer of '68: The Season When Baseball -- And America -- Changed Forever.
Pub date is mid-March.
Pedal to the metal.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Moving ahead

Just sent off the captions for the 16-pages of photos in the Summer of '68. Next up is reading the copy-edited version. Pub date is officially March 13, 2012.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mr. Holland's Opus

A few summers ago, when I was in Texas researching High Heat, I spoke with Derek Holland about what it was like to have Nolan Ryan as the president of the ballclub he pitched for. What kind of influence did Ryan have, if any?
"We talk a fair amount," said Holland, who was struggling at the time. "The bottom line is he wants me to step up. He wants me to become a pitcher."
It took a while but Holland stepped up in helping the Rangers square this year's World Series.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

RFK in Indianapolis

The night Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, it fell to Robert Kennedy, then running for the Democratic Party nomination for president, to tell a crowd in Indianapolis the bad news. Speaking from the heart, from little notes, he told the crowd that his family had suffered from such a tragedy. Of course, that was a reference to his brother's death in 1963.
That evening in Indianapolis, RFK quoted the Greek poet Aeschylus (Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget/falls drop by drop upon the heart) and closed by telling the crowd, "Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world."
Of course, Kennedy's speech came the night after King gave his "Mountaintop" speech in Memphis. An amazing 24-hour period that's highlighted in SUMMER OF '68, which will be out from Da Capo this spring.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lolich's other commitment in 1968

Mickey Lolich struggled during much of the 1968 regular season. His National Guard obligations often kept him away from the ballclub for weeks at a time. Stationed 200 miles north of Detroit, he tried pitching to anybody who would catch him -- high school players, weekend warriors, even a priest. It did little good as Lolich ended up in the Tigers' bullpen. In fact, Lolich's plight was played out on almost every team, where younger players tried to satisfy their military commitment with the Vietnam War at its height by being in the Guard.
"It wasn't the best of situations," said Nolan Ryan, who was also in the Guard at that time.
Of course, Lolich would go on to great success in the '68 World Series, becoming the last pitcher to throw three complete-game victories.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Photos for new book

I've started to line up photos for the new book about the year 1968 in sports. Here's my favorite so far.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Talking Titles

Editing continues on the new book about the 1968 season, which will be out from Da Capo this spring.
Let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Down in the Valley

Finally made it out to see a game in the Valley League last night. It was great fun, and thanks to Austin and Charlie for letting me join them in the New Market (Va.) Rebels' broadcast "booth." I'm coming back next year for the Full Moon game.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Manuscript Has Been Delivered

Relieved. Exhausted. Excited.
The pretty much sums up where my head is at after I turned in the manuscript for the new book, working title SIXTY-EIGHT: THE YEAR OF THE PITCHER AND WHEN SPORTS SAVED AMERICA. This will be out in Spring 2012 from Da Capo Books.
Of course, there is still much to do. I have a few remaining interviews to finish (with the space allotted for where that information goes), and there are photos to chase down and the whole editing process to now go through. But I believe this book has a lot going for it.
The whole idea of focusing on one of the major watershed years in our nation's history -- 1968 -- from a sports point of view was a lot of fun. Where else can you bring Denny McLain, Bob Gibson, Mickey Lolich, Bobby Kennedy, Vince Lombardi, Jim Ryun, Nolan Ryan and Tom Hayden into the same story?
I'll keep you posted as we begin the next phase of this project.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Walking in Memphis

Just returned from Memphis and some great interviews, including those in Dr. Martin Luther Kings's inner circle, for SIXTY-EIGHT: THE YEAR OF THE PITCHER AND WHEN SPORTS SAVED AMERICA. Along the way, I swung down to Mississippi and have now visited all 50 states.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jim Northrup RIP

Sorry to hear about the death of Tiger great Jim Northrup. Ironically, I was finishing up the section on Game Seven in the new book, SIXTY-EIGHT. Of course, that's when Northrup hits a two-run triple of Cardinals great Bob Gibson to give the Motor City the title. Northrup had a lot of nicknames, but my favorite was Sweet Lips because his teammates said he had an opinion about everything.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Preface for SIXTY-EIGHT

I think this new book will open something like this:

What if we could distill all that we know, what we truly believe, down to a few memorable moments, snippets of motion, short stories set in a particular time or year? When we’re discussing the year 1968 – a period of great upheaval, clamor and divisiveness -- that may be only true approach.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rsearch on Sixty-Eight

The two teams that met in the 1968 World Series -- the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals -- were among the most racially diverse institutions in the land at the time. Willie "the Wonder" Horton was among them. The Tigers' outfielder grew up in the Detroit projects and tried to stop the riots in the Motor City in the summer of 1967.
I asked him recently how he was able to play at such a high level despite rioting and assassinations going throughout the country. He replied, "I didn't go away from home."
I said that was impossible. Ballclubs play have of their games on the road, sometimes spending weeks away from home.
Horton smiled and told me about how he went out of his way to make good friends in every American League city the Tigers visited. Good enough friends that he could have dinner with them, even bunk out on the couch in their homes.
"In that way, I was never away from home," he told me.
The year 1968 was a difficult time in our country's history. But how some of the top athletes of that time persevered can still be a lesson today.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pitching's 'kinetic chain'

I discovered how troublesome this could be on my trip to Dr. James Andrews' bio-mechanics lab in researching High Heat. Stephen Strasburg, I feel your pain.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

High Heat in PW10

Publisher's Weekly named High Heat one of its Top 10 sports titles for this spring. Here's the blurb from PW:
For the hard stuff, Tim Wendel's High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time might suffice. It's as much about hard science as putting mustard on the ball. David Maraniss calls it "brilliantly executed."
To the left is the new cover for the trade paperback edition, due out in March.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Publisher's Weekly item

Da Capo editor Jonathan Crowe acquired two sports books, one on baseball and the other on golf. Crowe took North American rights to Johns Hopkins professor Tim Wendel's Sixty-Eight: The Year of the Pitcher—When Baseball Saved America from Chris Park at Foundry Literary + Media. Wendel focuses on that eponymous season when, thanks to things like a bigger strike zone, pitchers began to dominate the game. The baseball season is then set against what Da Capo called "one of the most divisive and turbulent years in American history." Crowe also bought world rights to The Magnificent Masters.