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The Last Innocents by Michael Leahy

The business of baseball has changed completely since the 1960s. Back then, professional baseball players had very little rights; they were powerless subjects of the club owners. There was no free agency or arbitration for players can find their true worth. This arrangement started to crack in the 1960s. Society has a whole was changing, but the first big crack in baseball operations started with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax. At the time, they were the two biggest pitchers in the sport. Knowing there is power in numbers, they held out together for larger contracts. Owner Walter O’Malley and General Buzzie Bavasi, who usually reigned with total authority, were surprisingly powerless. They knew they could not win without the top two pitchers. And though they attempted some old-fashion mudslinging through the media, the O’Malley and Bavasi relented and they signed Drysdale and Koufax.

This story is just a short example of the Dodgers through the 1960s. It was a very successful decade for the boys in blue but it was also a decade of revolution and evolution. Dodger legend Maury Wills was one of the best players of the decade even though he had to fight racism on and off the field, especially in the midst of the Watts Riots. Wes Parker went from wandering youth in Paris to a golden gloved first baseman.

Baseball has always been a great allegory for life. The Dodgers in the 1960s were a great allegory for the turbulent decade that reshaped American history.

If you love Dodger baseball and you are fond of American history, this is the book for you.