Stars and Strikes Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of 76

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2/9/2016
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

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Dan Epstein scored a cult hit with Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s. Now he returns with a riotous look at the most pivotal season of the decade.

America, 1976: colorful, complex, and combustible. It was a year of Bicentennial celebrations and presidential primaries, of Olympic glory and busing riots, of "killer bees" hysteria and Pong fever. For both the nation and the national pastime, the year was revolutionary, indeed. On the diamond, Thurman Munson led the New York Yankees to their first World Series in a dozen years, but it was Joe Morgan and Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" who cemented a dynasty with their second consecutive World Championship. Sluggers Mike Schmidt and Dave Kingman dominated the headlines, while rookie sensation Mark "The Bird" Fidrych started the All-Star Game opposite Randy "Junkman" Jones. The season was defined by the outrageous antics of team owners Bill Veeck, Ted Turner, George Steinbrenner, and Charlie Finley, as well as by several memorable bench-clearing brawls, and a batting title race that became just as contentious as the presidential race.

From Dorothy Hamill's "wedge" haircut to Kojak's chrome dome, American pop culture was never more giddily effervescent than in this year of Jimmy Carter, CB radios, AMC Pacers, The Bad News Bears, Rocky, Taxi Driver, the Ramones, KISS, Happy Days, Hotel California, and Frampton Comes Alive!---it all came alive in '76!

Meanwhile, as the nation erupted in a red-white-and-blue explosion saluting its two- hundredth year of independence, Major League Baseball players waged a war for their own liberties by demanding free agency. From the road to the White House to the shorts-wearing White Sox, Stars and Strikes tracks the tumultuous year after which the sport---and the nation---would never be the same.

Author Biography

DAN EPSTEIN is an award-winning journalist, pop culture historian, and avid baseball fan who has written for Rolling Stone, SPIN, Men's Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, MOJO, Guitar World, Revolver, LA Weekly and dozens of other publications. He is the author of the acclaimed Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Play That Funky Music

Prologue: More Than A Feeling (October 14, 1976)

1. Let's Do It Again (November-December 1975)

2. Take It To The Limit (January 1976)

3. Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (February 1976)

4. Let 'Em In (March 1976)

5. The Boys Are Back In Town (April 1976)

6. More More More (May 1976)

7. Strange Magic (June 1976)

8. Afternoon Delight (July 1976)

9. You Should Be Dancing (August 1976)

10. Don't Go Breaking My Heart (September 1976)

11. Still The One (October 1976)

12. Take the Money and Run (November 1976 and Beyond)

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