Pits and pieces from the local sports scene.
Library to display exhibition of baseball memorabilia: The Baseball Reliquary presents “Bad Moon Rising: Baseball and the Summer of ’68,” an exhibition chronicling the extraordinary baseball season of 1968, which began today and runs through Sept, 27 at the Burbank Central Library (110 N. Glenoaks Blvd.).
The display is played out against the backdrop of one of the most divisive and turbulent years in American history, marked by national tragedy and sweeping change. The exhibition is based on Tim Wendel’s book, “Summer of ’68: The Season That Changed Baseball — and America — Forever,” published earlier this year by Da Capo Press.
The exhibition utilizes photographs, artifacts and documents to illustrate key elements of Wendel’s research. Much of the signage, including captions for photographs, is excerpted from the book.
In the preface to “Summer of ’68: The Season That Changed Baseball — and America — Forever,” Wendel writes: “In 1968, the gods were angry. It’s been called ‘the year that rocked the world,’ and it rarely showed any mercy. How else to describe a single year in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by an assassin’s bullet and weeks later Robert Kennedy met the same fate? In which riots broke out in the streets in cities across the country, and millions gathered to protest the issues surrounding the Vietnam War and civil rights, often to be met with resistance and in some cases brutality. In which everything boiled over late that summer in the streets of Chicago. Thanks to television, our world in 1968 was shrink-wrapped forever. We were able to view all this on a nightly basis, with much of it cued up for instant replay. Seemingly overnight we had become Marshall McLuhan‘s ‘global village,’ and what we saw was that things everywhere were unraveling, being pulled apart at the seams, often with unbearable force.”
Among the topics examined in the displays are the record-setting achievements of pitchers such as Bob Gibson, Denny McLain and Don Drysdale, which resulted in the 1968 season being hailed as the “Year of the Pitcher.”
It also delves into baseball’s reaction to the assassinations of King and Kennedy, and the refusal of some players to take the field when baseball Commissioner William Eckert decided not to postpone all games during the national day of mourning for Kennedy.
Also covered is the classic World Series matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers, and the importance of Detroit’s championship season in helping pull the city from the ashes of one of the worst riots in U.S. history, as well as the story behind Puerto Rican singer Jose Feliciano‘s controversial rendition of the national anthem during the World Series.
The 18th and final major league season for Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle, and the gift that was given him by one of his biggest fans, Tigers’ pitcher McLain, is also touched upon, as well as the emergence of football as the most popular game in America, symbolized by the public reaction to the “Heidi Game” and sealed by quarterback Joe Namath leading the New York Jets to a stunning upset in Super Bowl III.
Even political activist Tom Hayden, one of the infamous Chicago Seven charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, is featured in the exhibition for his unique connection to the Detroit Tigers and for his love of baseball. Hayden, now 72, still plays hardball every Sunday in Los Angeles, competing against players half his age.
In conjunction with the exhibition, “Bad Moon Rising: Baseball and the Summer of ’68,” the Baseball Reliquary and he Burbank Public Library will present a discussion and book signing with Tim Wendel. Wendel will also narrate a PowerPoint presentation of images from the book.
Tim Wendel is the author of nine books, including “High Heat,” “Far From Home,” “Red Rain” and “Castro’s Curveball.” A founding editor of USA Today Baseball Weekly, he has written for Esquire, GQ and Washingtonian magazines. He teaches writing at Johns Hopkins University and recently served as an exhibit advisor to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He lives in Vienna, Virginia.
The program and exhibition are both free.
Tubert earns academic accolade: Burroughs High graduate Emily Tubert, along with University of Arkansas women’s golf teammates Emily Podzielinski, and Victoria Vela, have been selected to the National Golf Coaches Assn. All-American Scholar Team.
It is Tubert’s second selection to the coaches association team. The criteria for selection to the academic team is among the most challenging in college athletics, and includes a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.50.
“I’m a firm believer that academic success is an indicator of athletic success in golf and these three young women are perfect examples of that,” Arkansas head Coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said on the university’s website. “Pods, Emily and Vicky are committed to everything we do at Arkansas, and that includes a strong emphasis on taking care of business in the classroom and I’m so proud of them for their selection to the coaches association all-scholar team.”
Tubert, who wrapped her sophomore season in the spring, a campaign that included her second All-America and Southeastern Conference First-Team honors, as well as being selected to the United States Spirit International and Curtis Cup teams.
The team leader with a 72.50 stroke average, Tubert played in 10 tournaments with a low round of 68 and 14 rounds of par or better last season. The former Leader All-Area Female Athlete of the Year and two-time All-Area Girls’ Golfer of the Year is a broadcast journalism major.