The Victory Season
The Victory Season
The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball's Golden Age
Little Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316205917, 460pp.
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
The triumphant story of baseball and America after World War II
In 1945 Major League Baseball had become a ghost of itself. Parks were half empty, the balls were made with fake rubber, and mediocre replacements roamed the fields, as hundreds of players, including the game's biggest stars, were serving abroad, devoted to unconditional Allied victory in World War II.
But by the spring of 1946, the country was ready to heal. The war was finally over, and as America's fathers and brothers were coming home, so too were the sport's greats. Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and Joe DiMaggio returned with bats blazing, making the season a true classic that ended in a thrilling seven-game World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. America also witnessed the beginning of a new era in baseball-it was a year of attendance records, the first year Yankee Stadium held night games, the last year the Green Monster wasn't green, and, most significant, Jackie Robinson's first year playing in the Brooklyn Dodgers' system.
The Victory Season brings to vivid life these years of baseball and war, including the littleknown "World Series" that servicemen played in a captured Hitler Youth stadium in the fall of 1945. Robert Weintraub's extensive research and vibrant storytelling enliven the legendary season that embodies what we now think of as the game's golden era.
"Robert Weintraub recounts the game's joyous reacclimatization, duly honoring the fine record of service of many players, shedding light on veteran returns and underscoring significant contemporary events.... Admirably wide-ranging." -- New York Times Book Review
"Weintraub loads the bases with the kind of entertaining anecdotes, minutia and quotes that separate baseball -- and baseball writing -- from other sports, and he skillfully captures the facts and texture of the '46 season with meticulous research and a conversational style. Weintraub is a big-league storyteller." -- USA Today
"Weintraub tells myriad good stories. If you want generous context for a great season of baseball when it was still the national pastime and the country was in fascinating flux, Weintraub is your man." -- Washington Post
"A meticulously researched and elegantly written chronicle of what happened in 1946... From start to finish, The Victory Season is a home run." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"As Robert Weintraub's measured, elegant prose illustrates, "The Victory Season" makes an irrefutable case that baseball's golden age begins in 1946. Grade: Grand slam." -- Mark Hodermarsky, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A beautifully written paean to the 1946 baseball season, when normalcy returned to the national pastime." -- Mike Vaccaro, New York Post
"The Victory Season leaps off the page like a newsreel." -- Allen Barra, Chicago Tribune
"The baseball history makes great reading, but the larger story of our sometimes painful transition to peacetime gives the book its staying power. Fine popular history." -- Booklist (starred review)
"An entertaining read... Scattered among those big stories are little gems about players most of us have never heard of." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune
"We see a lot of baseball books each spring, but few will be more supremely entertaining than The Victory Season... Impossibly charming... A winning account." -- Newsday
"Even if you think you know the history of baseball, Weintraub will surprise you with many gems from his meticulous research. The Victory Season is an important work featuring an all-star cast." -- James Miller, co-author of Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN
"There was more to baseball in 1946 than Ted Williams and Stan Musial marching home from war. The tectonic plates were shifting beneath the game's surface as the color line developed its first cracks and greedy team owners unwittingly inspired baseball's labor movement. With a Halberstam-like sense of purpose, Robert Weintraub captures it all in The Victory Season." -- John Schulian, co-editor of At the Fights, author of Sometimes They Even Shook Your Hand
"Bright writing and the sweat of painstaking research bring baseball's Greatest Generation to life in this tale of a poignant and pivotal season in the game's history. Robert Weintraub's magic trick is to make you feel as if you're watching Leo Durocher, Ted Williams and company in real time." -- John Eisenberg, author of Ten-Gallon War: The NFL's Cowboys, the AFL's Texans, and the Feud for Dallas's Pro Football Future
"In the tradition of Robert W. Creamer's classic 'Baseball in '41,' Robert Weintraub's 'The Victory Season' doesn't merely revisit a pivotal baseball season, it places that season in a larger historical and cultural context. It is a season - and a book - to be relished, as America returns to a very familiar place: at home, at peace, and ready to follow DiMaggio, Musial, Williams, and their compatriots across another glorious summer." -- Michael MacCambridge, author of America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured A Nation
"Rob Weintraub has written a fascinating tale of a pivotal year for baseball and America. The research and storytelling are first-rate." -- Jonathan Eig, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season