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The '68 Series turned when the Tigers' Freehan stood his ground

Lou Brock (left) and Bill Freehan in the pivotal play of the 1968 World Series.

Jon Warden told me about Bill Freehan's death earlier today. And that, in and of itself, is a touch ironic. Even cruel.

For you see, Jon was the only player on either team -- the Detroit Tigers or St. Louis Cardinals -- not to take the field during the epic 1968 Fall Classic. 

Bill Freehan, of course, was involved in the key play of that epic seven-game series, which I wrote about in SUMMER OF '68: THE SEASON THAT CHANGED BASEBALL, AND AMERICA, FOREVER.

He's the one who took the throw from outfielder Willie Horton and stood his ground to tag the Cardinals' Lou Brock at the plate. In a bang-bang play, home-plate umpire Doug Harvey called Brock out and then the ump gestured to the baserunner's spike marks in the dirt, seemingly inches in front of the plate.

On such plays a series, even the fortunes of a team can shift. Heading into Game Five, St. Louis held a 3-1 series lead, one victory away from securing its third championship in five years. With Brock, Bob Gibson, Orlando Cepeda and other stars, the Cardinals were considered by many to be the best ballclub in baseball at the time.

In comparison, the Detroit Tigers were still battling for respect. They had lost the pennant on the final weekend the season before and until this play at the plate many of them weren't sure they could win in all. At least not in 1968. Until this point, the Tigers were just trying to keep the Cardinals' baserunners, notably the legendary Brock, from making them look like fools.

But once Brock was called out (and there's still debate about that in St. Louis), the Tigers battled back to take Game Five and then Game Six, and they did the improbable, border-line impossible. They defeated Gibson in the seventh and deciding contest.

The summer before there had been riots in Detroit. The worst such demonstrations in America since the Civil War. A year later, when the Tigers somehow won it all, there was celebrations on many of those same city blocks.

"The '84 Tigers like to talk about their 35-5 start (to the season)," Warden once told me. "That's nothing. When we won, we saved the city."


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'Summer of '68' trailer

Below is the trailer for the SUMMER OF '68 documentary. It's currently storyboarded as a five-part series and I think you'll agree that it rocks. Pardon Denny McLain's F-bombs, but he's rapidly becoming the Shelby Foote of this project.

Right now we're looking for a few folks with money who would like to be excutive producers and help us make this a reality.

Here's the link --  https://www.dropbox.com/s/ip1glvc4pdv2617/1968SizzleFinal.mp4?dl=0

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"Summer of '68' returns to L.A., Oct. 25 & Oct. 27

Thrilled to be returning to the L.A. to discuss the "Summer of '68: The Year That Changed Baseball -- And America -- Forever.

On Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m., I'll be at Villalobos Hall, Whittier College (13507 Earlham Drive, Whittier, Calif.) For more information, (562) 907-4803, (626) 791-7647, or terymar@earthlink.net

On Saturday, Oct. 27, 2 p.m., I'll be at the Allendale Branch Library (1130 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, Calif.) For more information, (626) 791-7647, (626) 744-7260, or terymar@earthlink.net

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Summer of '68 exhibit in SoCal

Thrilled to be a part of this new exhibit at the Pasadena Library. Here's the official release:
BAD MOON RISING: We are pleased to share a few photos from today’s installation of the exhibition “Bad Moon Rising: Baseball and the Summer of ’68,” on view from September 3-November 15, 2018 at Whittier College’s Wardman Library.
Presented by the Institute for Baseball Studies and the Baseball Reliquary, the exhibition is based on Tim Wendel’s book “Summer of ’68: The Season That Changed Baseball – and America – Forever,” the research materials for which are in the collection of the Institute.  Read More 

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Bob Gibson in 1968

Bob Gibson in action.

I received an email last week about Bob Gibson's scoreless streak in 1968. In my response, I returned to some of the points I made in SUMMER OF '68: The Season That Changed Baseball, and America, Forever. The scoreless streak belonged to the Dodgers' Don Drysdale in the Year of the Pitcher. Bobby Kennedy's assassination  Read More 

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Heading to the Motor City

Well, the trip was already planned to move my son out of Ann Arbor after another year at college. But I'll be lingering to attended the banquet for the Top Titles of 2013 as decided by the state of Michigan. The gathering is April 27, with Michael  Read More 
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Spring news

We're doing the final edits for HABANA LIBRE: A NOVELLA. I love the cover and that will be posted soon. It has received great advance notice from Holly Goddard Jones, Mike Kimball and Sports Illustrated's Scott Price. Thanks to all of them for the support.
In the meantime, SUMMER OF '68 will be out  Read More 
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'Summer' named a Michigan Notable Book

I'm honored that SUMMER OF '68 was named a Michigan Notable Book for 2013. That's a great way to ring in the new year.
Thanks to all, especially my readers in Michigan.
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Summer tour comes to an end

Thanks to all who came out for the SUMMER OF '68 tour. In recent months, I've been to New York, San Francisco, St. Louis, Chicago and Los Angeles, including three separate swings through the great state of Michigan.
I was in Ann Arbor last weekend, at the Kerrytown Book Festival, catching a football game  Read More 
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Guest on Richard Gazala's blog

Here's the link...http://rgazala.blogspot.com/2012/03/author-spotlight-tim-wendel.html
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