They Bled Blue: Fernandomania, Strike-Season Mayhem, and the Weirdest Championship Baseball Had Ever Seen: The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers

Houghton Harcourt. Jun. 2019. 384p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781328715531. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781328715579. SPORTS
The year 1981 was unusual for Major League Baseball. A 50-day-long midsummer players strike dampened the spirits of fans around the country. Game attendance and TV ratings suffered as fans dismissed players as greedy and arrogant. Despite this, the Los Angeles Dodgers stood out as the most exciting team in the game, thanks mainly to rookie pitching sensation Fernando Valenzuela. In his newest book, Turbow (Dynastic, Bombastic Fantastic) takes readers back to this abbreviated but unforgettable season. The challenge of writing about a team like the 1981 Dodgers is that, despite ending up as World Champions, they were still a team in transition. Turbow proves more than up to the challenge, providing insight on personalities such as Valenzuela, first baseman Steve Garvey and legendary manager Tommy Lasorda without readers getting lost in a number of tangential narratives. The larger arc of the players strike is threaded throughout without being overbearing.
VERDICT Despite an over-fondness for footnotes, which can be distracting, this work successfully tells the story of a unique team that won it all in the strangest way. An entertaining work for all reading baseball fans.

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