The Perfect Season: Why 1998 Was Baseball's Greatest Year

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9780812991710: The Perfect Season: Why 1998 Was Baseball's Greatest Year
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Nineteen Ninety-Eight was the greatest season in baseball history. While Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa engaged in an epic duel for baseball's most coveted individual record -- Roger Maris's 61 home runs, the New York Yankees set new standards for team excellence and established themselves as one of the greatest clubs in the history of the game.
        
Tim McCarver broadcast the climax of each of these extraordinary achievements and is uniquely positioned as a former player, a commentator, and writer to put 1998 into its proper perspective. McCarver is baseball's best analyst and, as he showed with Tim McCarver's Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans, he is as eloquent and witty on the page as he is behind the microphone. In The Perfect Season, McCarver revels in the homer race and the Yankees but shows that the season contained so much more, ensuring it will stand out as the best there has been. Star players performing to the height of their powers broke records set by true legends of baseball, linking today's players with those who exist somewhere between myth and memory: Ruth and Cobb; Gehrig and Mays. The Perfect Season describes the accomplishments of veterans like Juan Gonzalez, Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mike Piazza, and Barry Bonds, and of the exceptional young players who hold the future of the game in their hands: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Kerry Wood. Tim McCarver also laments the passing of some friends and colleagues: Richie Ashburn, Harry Caray, and Dan Quisenberry, and celebrates the careers of some stars who retired after the 1998 season.
        
The Perfect Season is a comprehensive account of 1998 and the perfect souvenir of baseball's greatest year. With it, fans can remember the season in which they got back into the habit of watching the game and reestablished baseball as America's Pastime.  
From the Hardcover edition.

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Review:

One of baseball's most outspoken and articulate voices in the booth, Tim McCarver isn't one to mince words in print either. "The year 1998 wasn't just the greatest in baseball history," he states emphatically in The Perfect Season, "it was the greatest any sport has ever enjoyed." Helluva claim. He then proceeds to make a helluva case to back it.

Leading off with the obvious, McCarver details how the rousing home-run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and the ghosts of Babe Ruth and Roger Maris was the most visibly rousing thrill, but only one of many thrills in a year that overflowed with spectacular accomplishments. His list is a long one: David Wells's perfect game; Kerry Woods's 20-strikeout masterpiece; Barry Bonds creating the career 400-homer-400-steals club; Craig Biggio becoming the first 50-doubles-50-steals man since Tris Speaker; the end of Cal Ripkin's inconceivable streak; another 50-home-run year from Ken Griffey Jr.; the continuing domination of Roger Clemens; the ascendancy of a trio of marvelous shortstops in Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez; the slugging of Mike Piazza; the comeback of Jose Canseco; the Cubs return to post-season play, the 125 Yankee victories, and on and on.

"It wasn't just that records fell or were equalled at an inordinate rate," insists McCarver, it was the context of the achievements themselves; in 1998, baseball came face to face with marks etched in the books by historically significant names. Thus, 1998 was more than a marvelous season; it was a telescope through which fans could focus on both an exuberant present and a living, vivid past. --Jeff Silverman

About the Author:

Tim McCarver is a baseball analyst for the FOX network and for Yankee games on WNYW in New York.

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9780375503306: The Perfect Season: Why 1998 Was Baseball's Greatest Year

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ISBN 10:  0375503307 ISBN 13:  9780375503306
Publisher: Villard, 1999
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