Swinging ’73: Baseball’s Wildest Season
by Matthew Silverman
Lyons Press, 2013
Richard Nixon. The Yom Kippur War. The Atkins Diet. The Mets, Yankees, A’s. Rollie Fingers’ handlebar moustache (and the subsequent facial hair of his teammates). Willie Mays’ retirement. George Steinbrenner’s foray into major league ownership. 1973 had it all, and Matthew Silverman helps recreate the events in Swinging ’73: Baseball’s Wildest Season.
The books follows three of the most colorful franchises in baseball history while mixing in tidbits about pop culture and other notable events. The teams: Charlie Finley’s Oakland A’s, led by Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, and Fingers; Steinbrenner’s New York Yankees, with Thurman Munson, the first DH Ron Blomberg, and the wife swapping Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson; the New York Mets with Willie Mays’ final days and the legendary Yogi Berra at the helm.
In a season when controversies were commonplace, Silverman hits all the high notes. The most interesting is obviously the decision made by Kekich and Peterson to swap families, and the author reports the situation professionally without passing judgment. Pete Rose’s altercation with Bud Harrelson in the NLCS is also retold in detail, as well as the “firing” of Oakland second baseman Mike Andrews during the World Series (a move overruled by commissioner Bowie Kuhn).
Swinging ’73: Baseball’s Wildest Season is a book that should be in every baseball fan’s personal library.