“Both a pleasure and a revelation.”—Daniel Okrent, author of Nine Innings
In 1968, two astounding pitchers would dominate the game as never before. One was black, the other white. The stoic Bob Gibson, together with the St. Louis Cardinals, embodied an entire generation’s hope for integration at a heated moment in American history. The flashy Denny McLain was a crass self-promoter who lived a life apart from his Detroit Tigers teammates, searching for fame. But for one season, the nation watched as these two men and their teams swept their respective league championships to meet at the World Series.
Gibson set a major-league record that year with a 1.12 ERA. McLain won more than 30 games in 1968, a feat not achieved since 1934 and untouched since. They would reach these heights against the backdrop of assassinations, while boys boarded planes to Saigon and riots swept through American cities, forever changing the fabric of this country.
In the grand tradition of David Halberstam, The Year of the Pitcher evokes a nostalgic season and its incredible characters through the story of one of the great rivalries in sports, painting an indelible portrait of the national pastime during our most turbulent era.