Split Season: 1981 (Book Excerpt)

NEW BOOK ALERT! Coming soon to a bookstore near you is Split Season: 1981: Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball.
SPLIT SEASON: 1981 by Jeff Katz, Mayor of Cooperstown and member of The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), is a never-before-seen look at a watershed moment in American sports, when players turned a dictatorship of owners into a game in which they had a real voice. Midway through an epic season, a game-changing strike ripped baseball apart and eliminated 712 games from the schedule. Marvin Miller and the MLB Players Association squared off against Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and the owners in a fight to protect players rights to free agency and defend America’s pastime.  It was the first time a season had ever been stopped in the middle because of a strike and it was a year when the game rose to impressive—and now legendary—heights. Pete Rose chased Stan Musial’s National League hit record and rookie Fernando Valenzuela was creating a sensation as the best pitcher in the majors when the stadiums went dark and the players went on strike. For the first time in modern history, there were first- and second-half champions; the two teams with the overall best records in the National League were not awarded play-off berths. When the season resumed after an absence of 712 games, Rose’s resumption of his pursuit, the resurgence of Reggie Jackson, the rise of the Montreal Expos, and a Nolan Ryan no-hitter became notable events. The Dodgers bested their longtime rivals in a Yankees-Dodgers World Series, the last classic matchup of those storied opponents. Sourcing incredible and extensive interviews with almost all of the major participants in the strike, Split Season: 1981 returns us to the on- and off-field drama of an unforgettable baseball year.
The book is scheduled for release on Tuesday, May 19 by Thomas Dunne Books and will be available wherever books are sold as well as on Amazon.
Strat-O-Matic has obtained an excerpt from the book that recounts the simulated All-Star Game that was played at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium using Strat-O-Matic Baseball during the 1981 MLB players’ strike. Enjoy!