Shaw: The 1981 split season still speaks to us

From Devin Shaw at The Hardball Times on May 4, 2016, with mention of SABR member Jeff Katz:

There are numerous approaches to writing about baseball. There are books that aim to analyze the game, from sabermetrically oriented approaches that explain the relationship between statistics, performance and value to new histories of race and integration in the game or baseball and labor. Then there are baseball narratives, from team histories and player biographies to single-season or multiple-season narratives. The problem remains though, that for each writer success with one style or approach does not guarantee success in the other.

That said, the success and brilliance of Split Season: 1981, published last year, lies in Jeff Katz’s ability to combine the on-field action of the strike-shortened 1981 season with the labor struggle between players and the owners.

Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball deftly interweaves the fraying negotiations between players and owners off the field and the on-field exploits of such players as Fernando Valenzuela, Rickey Henderson and Len Barker. When the season finally grinds to a halt, he follows the efforts not only of Marvin Miller, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, but of player representatives Doug DeCinces, Mark Belanger, Steve Rogers and Bob Boone. When play returns he follows the four through the end of the season and beyond.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 5, 2016. Last Updated: May 5, 2016.