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The riveting story of four men—Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige—whose improbable union on the Cleveland Indians in the late 1940s would shape the immediate postwar era of Major League Baseball and beyond. In July 1947, not even three months after Jackie Robinson debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers, snapping the color line that had segregated Major Leagu The riveting story of four men—Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige—whose improbable union on the Cleveland Indians in the late 1940s would shape the immediate postwar era of Major League Baseball and beyond. In July 1947, not even three months after Jackie Robinson debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers, snapping the color line that had segregated Major League Baseball, Larry Doby would follow in his footsteps on the Cleveland Indians. Though Doby, as the second Black player in the majors, would struggle during his first summer in Cleveland, his subsequent turnaround in 1948 from benchwarmer to superstar sparked one of the wildest and most meaningful seasons in baseball history. In intimate, absorbing detail, Our Team traces the story of the integration of the Cleveland Indians and their quest for a World Series title through four key participants: Bill Veeck, an eccentric and visionary owner adept at exploding fireworks on and off the field; Larry Doby, a soft-spoken, hard-hitting pioneer whose major-league breakthrough shattered stereotypes that so much of white America held about Black ballplayers; Bob Feller, a pitching prodigy from the Iowa cornfields who set the template for the athlete as businessman; and Satchel Paige, a legendary pitcher from the Negro Leagues whose belated entry into the majors whipped baseball fans across the country into a frenzy. Together, as the backbone of a team that epitomized the postwar American spirit in all its hopes and contradictions, these four men would captivate the nation by storming to the World Series--all the while rewriting the rules of what was possible in sports.


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The riveting story of four men—Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige—whose improbable union on the Cleveland Indians in the late 1940s would shape the immediate postwar era of Major League Baseball and beyond. In July 1947, not even three months after Jackie Robinson debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers, snapping the color line that had segregated Major Leagu The riveting story of four men—Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige—whose improbable union on the Cleveland Indians in the late 1940s would shape the immediate postwar era of Major League Baseball and beyond. In July 1947, not even three months after Jackie Robinson debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers, snapping the color line that had segregated Major League Baseball, Larry Doby would follow in his footsteps on the Cleveland Indians. Though Doby, as the second Black player in the majors, would struggle during his first summer in Cleveland, his subsequent turnaround in 1948 from benchwarmer to superstar sparked one of the wildest and most meaningful seasons in baseball history. In intimate, absorbing detail, Our Team traces the story of the integration of the Cleveland Indians and their quest for a World Series title through four key participants: Bill Veeck, an eccentric and visionary owner adept at exploding fireworks on and off the field; Larry Doby, a soft-spoken, hard-hitting pioneer whose major-league breakthrough shattered stereotypes that so much of white America held about Black ballplayers; Bob Feller, a pitching prodigy from the Iowa cornfields who set the template for the athlete as businessman; and Satchel Paige, a legendary pitcher from the Negro Leagues whose belated entry into the majors whipped baseball fans across the country into a frenzy. Together, as the backbone of a team that epitomized the postwar American spirit in all its hopes and contradictions, these four men would captivate the nation by storming to the World Series--all the while rewriting the rules of what was possible in sports.

30 review for Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball

  1. 4 out of 5

    Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    Jackie Robinson may have been the first Black player to smash the color barrier and play for the major leagues, but his is not the only story in the era of baseball’s desegregation. The second, less frequently discussed Black player to be invited into the majors, Larry Doby, joined the Cleveland Indians mere months after Robinson historically signed with the Dodgers in 1947. With Doby’s help, the Ohio team would go on to win the World Series the next year. Journalist Luke Epplin tells the thrill Jackie Robinson may have been the first Black player to smash the color barrier and play for the major leagues, but his is not the only story in the era of baseball’s desegregation. The second, less frequently discussed Black player to be invited into the majors, Larry Doby, joined the Cleveland Indians mere months after Robinson historically signed with the Dodgers in 1947. With Doby’s help, the Ohio team would go on to win the World Series the next year. Journalist Luke Epplin tells the thrilling story of the Indians’ 1948 World Series win in “Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball.” See the rest of my review in the Christian Science Monitor.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Seigler

    Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947, and his time with the Brooklyn Dodgers that season has rightfully gone down in the history books as a significant event in American history. But Robinson wasn't alone; soon after he began to make an impact as an everyday player, other teams decided to take a chance on signing Black players from the Negro Leagues to help out their rosters. The St. Louis Browns were halfhearted in their decision to sign two Black players who were eventua Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947, and his time with the Brooklyn Dodgers that season has rightfully gone down in the history books as a significant event in American history. But Robinson wasn't alone; soon after he began to make an impact as an everyday player, other teams decided to take a chance on signing Black players from the Negro Leagues to help out their rosters. The St. Louis Browns were halfhearted in their decision to sign two Black players who were eventually let go by the beginning of the next season, but the Cleveland Indians took a chance on Larry Doby in 1947, making him the first Black player in the American League. But it's what he did the next season that is so important. "Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball" delivers on its title, highlighting the story of how Doby, legendary Negro League pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige, pitching savant Bob Feller, and mercurial owner Bill Veeck came together to give Cleveland its first World Series title in decades (and last one as of this writing), as well as secure the notion of Black and white players working together to win in America's premier sport (at the time). Luke Epplin digs in deep to highlight the struggles that each man faced in order to find themselves on the path to a championship in 1948, just one year removed from Jackie Robinson's entry into the major leagues and with the notion of Black players on major league squads still seen as an outlier and not an everyday reality. Epplin conveys in particular the stories of how Doby and Paige, generations removed but held back from MLB by the color line all the same, found themselves in the position of overnight ambassadors for their people in a sport that had famously kept Black players out for half a century. Feller, once a phenom from the Iowa cornfields who could do no wrong on the diamond, wore out his welcome a bit after the war when, concerned about lost income from his wartime service, he mounted expensive and time-consuming barnstorming tours and tried to incorporate himself as a brand with endless extra business deals, stretching himself thin and struggling where it really mattered to be Bob Feller: on the pitching mound. And Veeck, the excitable owner who never met a promotion he couldn't use to sell the people of Cleveland on baseball, was recovering from a freak accident during his own war service that would cost him his leg, and whose workaholic ways would cost him his marriage. All four men came together over the course of the 1948 season to power the Indians to a World Series victory that was a landmark for baseball; the previous year, Robinson's Dodgers had faced the Yankees in the World Series, but the Indians were the first integrated team to take the championship in history. It wasn't easy, it wasn't even always fun (especially for Feller, who struggled down the stretch and whose complaints about financial woes earned him little sympathy from the blue-collar fan base), but it was historic, and Epplin captures the personalities of not just the four men at the center of it but also the player-manager Lou Boudreau (who took a chance on Doby in 1948 that would pay dividends), Effa Manley (a rare female team owner in the Negro Leagues who watched her box office takings wither even as her stars thrived in MLB), and many more. But it's the stories of Veeck, Paige, Feller, and especially Doby that resonate, and that Epplin does a great job of rendering in this interesting tale from baseball's postwar era.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    World Series 1948 Four African American baseball players joined the Cleveland Indians and played so well they won the World Series. A blip in time when segregation fell for a short time before rising again before eventually ending. An endearing story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Barnes

    Very entertaining and interesting book

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andy Grabia

    Baseball rightfully honours Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey for breaking the game’s colour barrier, but the story of Larry Doby, Bill Veeck and Satchel Paige deserves as much recognition. This is a superb book about a team whose importance has too often been ignored

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ken Heard

    While much of the focus in the baseball world of 1947 was on Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers, Larry Doby was crossing the color barrier in the American League at the same time. Luke Epplin has written an excellent, well-researched book about Doby and the Cleveland Indians as they embarked on their 1948 World Series run. It included some of the more well-known things, like Bob Feller's desire for money and his obsession to promote himself. But Epplin shows plenty of examples to further de While much of the focus in the baseball world of 1947 was on Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers, Larry Doby was crossing the color barrier in the American League at the same time. Luke Epplin has written an excellent, well-researched book about Doby and the Cleveland Indians as they embarked on their 1948 World Series run. It included some of the more well-known things, like Bob Feller's desire for money and his obsession to promote himself. But Epplin shows plenty of examples to further develop that. He does include Bill Veeck's attempt to buy the Philadelphia Phillies with the intent of stocking the roster with Negro League players. That's been refuted in other biographies, but Epplin shows more proof of that intent. Finally, I was struck by how sad Doby's season was. He was cheered in the stadium for his exploits, but then not allowed to eat in restaurants or stay in hotels. He spent much of his time alone, all the while leading his team to the American League pennant. Epplin showed that well, and he also wrote of how good Doby was after a rough rookie season. This was one of the better baseball books I've read this year. We all know the story of Jackie Robinson and of Veeck, but Epplin's work expands that in a very enjoyable read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris Jaffe

    Very good book on the 1948 Indians, focusing on four key individuals: Bob Feller, Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, and Satchel Pagie. The four main figures really come to life, especially Doby with his isolation. One especially interesting bit is on how Doby didn't really like Paige much (he thought Paige's persona was too much of a Stepin Fetchit that just made it harder for other black players). One problem: the book is so reliant on previously published secondary sources, that it's not clear how much Very good book on the 1948 Indians, focusing on four key individuals: Bob Feller, Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, and Satchel Pagie. The four main figures really come to life, especially Doby with his isolation. One especially interesting bit is on how Doby didn't really like Paige much (he thought Paige's persona was too much of a Stepin Fetchit that just made it harder for other black players). One problem: the book is so reliant on previously published secondary sources, that it's not clear how much Epplin knows about the figures he's talking about. One example: He has a chapter on how Veeck planned to purchase the Phillies during WWII and stock them with Negro League stars. Epplin notes that scholars have since questioned this tale, but that Veeck always maintained it was true. OK, but the main article debunking this tale didn't come out until a decade after Veeck died, so I'm not sure why his Epplin makes it sound like Veeck denied the debunkers. (To be fair, Epplin does note the article in his endnotes, and he does use some occassional primary sources, but his handling of that issue really bugged me. Still, overall it does a good job weaving the previous tales together into one fine narrative. One thing: the 1948 season covers only the last third of the book. This is not a criticism. Just thought I should note it. He does a good job covering the life stories of Doby, Feller, Veeck, and Paige in the first two-thirds so we see how they all ended up together when they did.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robert Kendall

    This book tells the story of the 1948 Cleveland Indians world champions. It centers on four people: Larry Doby, the first African-American in the American League; Bob Feller, the team's aging pitching ace; Satchel Paige, the 40+ year old Negro Leagues legend who helped win the pennant, and Bill Veeck, the colorful team owner. This story is not well-known, and is a very interesting one on several levels. I'd recommend it to any baseball fan. This book tells the story of the 1948 Cleveland Indians world champions. It centers on four people: Larry Doby, the first African-American in the American League; Bob Feller, the team's aging pitching ace; Satchel Paige, the 40+ year old Negro Leagues legend who helped win the pennant, and Bill Veeck, the colorful team owner. This story is not well-known, and is a very interesting one on several levels. I'd recommend it to any baseball fan.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Macke

    It's a fine book about an unlikely group of teammates - Paige, Doby, Veeck, Feller - and a magical baseball season ... the individual genius of each of these characters is only matched by the genius the author uses in telling the story through these four lenses ... the book is a wonderful baseball discovery and it makes a fan miss the bygone eras of baseball and the one-of-a-kind personalities like Bill Veeck and Satchel Paige It's a fine book about an unlikely group of teammates - Paige, Doby, Veeck, Feller - and a magical baseball season ... the individual genius of each of these characters is only matched by the genius the author uses in telling the story through these four lenses ... the book is a wonderful baseball discovery and it makes a fan miss the bygone eras of baseball and the one-of-a-kind personalities like Bill Veeck and Satchel Paige

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    this is 5 stars for those who enjoy books about baseball. But it should also be interesting on a general level, with its emphasis on two black players -- Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League, and Satchel Paige, who was denied for so many years. And the owner, Bill Veeck, has quite an interesting story of his own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike Ely

    Excellent book about the years leading up to 1948 and the World Series winning Cleveland Indians. The book mainly focuses on Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchell Paige. Well researched book with a full history of each of the 4 men and the Indians team during the 1948 season. There was a lot of information in the book that I didn't know, so this was an informative read about an important period in baseball history with the breaking of the color barrier. I'd definitely recommend this b Excellent book about the years leading up to 1948 and the World Series winning Cleveland Indians. The book mainly focuses on Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchell Paige. Well researched book with a full history of each of the 4 men and the Indians team during the 1948 season. There was a lot of information in the book that I didn't know, so this was an informative read about an important period in baseball history with the breaking of the color barrier. I'd definitely recommend this book to any baseball fan.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robert Kotzen

    Eminently readable account of the integration of the American League and Bill Veeck's building of the Cleveland Indians to the point in which they were able to win a World Series. Eminently readable account of the integration of the American League and Bill Veeck's building of the Cleveland Indians to the point in which they were able to win a World Series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dave Capers

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Well researched and concise. Even though the headline story here is that of the integration of baseball I actually wound up learning more about Bob Feller than Larry Doby or Satchel Paige, not because the latter two were given short shrift but because I've read their stories in other places. The perspective of Feller as a the first modern ballplayer in terms of viewing himself as an entertainment corporation was a new one to me. It's always good to debunk the notion of "the good old days" of the Well researched and concise. Even though the headline story here is that of the integration of baseball I actually wound up learning more about Bob Feller than Larry Doby or Satchel Paige, not because the latter two were given short shrift but because I've read their stories in other places. The perspective of Feller as a the first modern ballplayer in terms of viewing himself as an entertainment corporation was a new one to me. It's always good to debunk the notion of "the good old days" of the mid-20th century and the portrayal of the "greatest generation" as uniformly idealistic.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steven Z.

    Spring has arrived, at least in our minds up in New England, and with it the sounds and hopes generated by a new baseball season which hopefully will not be affected by Covid as it was last year. At the same time, we are experiencing the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, in addition to the tumult that fostered the creation of the Black Lives Matter Movement and its continuing relevancy. Based on time of year and the impact of race on the news on a daily basis Luke Epplin’s new book, OUR TE Spring has arrived, at least in our minds up in New England, and with it the sounds and hopes generated by a new baseball season which hopefully will not be affected by Covid as it was last year. At the same time, we are experiencing the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, in addition to the tumult that fostered the creation of the Black Lives Matter Movement and its continuing relevancy. Based on time of year and the impact of race on the news on a daily basis Luke Epplin’s new book, OUR TEAM: THE EPIC STORY OF FOUR MEN AND THE WORLD SERIES THAT CHANGED BASEBALL seems like an excellent choice to navigate the role of race in baseball history and its impact on our current view of the sport. Epplin’s focus is on four individuals who greatly impacted baseball history apart from the Cleveland Indians magical run to the pennant in 1948. Playing in the cavernous Municipal Stadium its owner Bill Veeck, part showman, shrewd businessman, and baseball lifer introduced a number of changes as to how owners approached their teams. The second impact individual was Bob Feller, an Iowa farm boy who became one of the best pitchers in baseball history, though by 1948 he was on the downside of his career. The last two individuals Larry Doby and Satchel Paige have a special place in baseball history when it comes to the integration of the sport. By the time Paige arrived in Cleveland he was in his early forties and had played in the Negro League for years. Possibly the best pitcher, black or white since the 1930s Paige would make significant contributions in 1948. The last person Epplin focuses on Larry Doby became the first negro player in the American League. In 1947, Jackie Robinson who was groomed to be the first negro player in baseball by Branch Rickey made his debut. When one thinks of the integration of baseball. Robinson and his experiences dealing with racists in out of the game comes to mind, and few think a great deal about Doby. The young Cleveland outfielder was playing in Newark in the Negro League when he was called up in 1948 and did not undergo the “grooming” process that Robinson had. Despite this handicap, after a slow start, Doby, along with Paige and a few other Indians players are responsible for the amazing 1948 season. Epplin explains how the Cleveland Indians and these four individuals captivated the American people in 1948 as baseball had recovered its fan base and put their best product on the field since before World War II. In addition to the economic impact, these men focused on social issues facing the American people as the country was moving closer to the civil rights revolution. Epplin gives justice to the legends and myths relating to Bob Feller and Satchel Paige dating to their confrontations on the diamond beginning in 1936. The pre-1947 era was dominated by barnstorming players competing with each other during the off season to supplement their salaries which were kept low by owners due to the reserve clause. Baseball Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis realized that if negro teams defeated white teams on a regular basis, it would be difficult to justify segregation, so he implemented new rules to limit the barnstorming. He wanted people to see them as exhibitions to prove that negro players were inferior to whites. Despite Landis’ attitude players like Lou Gehrig, Dizzy Dean, and Carl Hubbell all believed that Paige belonged in the major leagues. The author effectively integrates the history of Jim Crow laws, and the overt and covert racism that existed in American society throughout the narrative as he focuses on the role race played in these individual lives in addition to the personal competition between Feller and Paige. The subject of race is key. Paige obviously was one of the best pitchers of his generation, but he never had a chance to exhibit his talent because of baseball’s color barrier enforced by its racist Commissioner Judge Keneshaw Mountain Landis who ruled baseball as a dictator after repairing its image following the 1919 Black Sox scandal. When Bill Veeck tried to buy the Philadelphia Phillies in 1942 and Landis learned he would sign negro players he blocked it. When the history of baseball integration is told writers tend to focus on Jackie Robinson and leave out the trials and tribulations highlighted by the demeaning behavior and outright racism suffered by Larry Doby who a year after Robinson broke the color barrier took the field in the American League. Epplin has thoroughly researched his topic and the racist comments by Feller concerning Paige who repeatedly bested him on the mound during the off season are presented clearly and reflect the true character of the Cleveland fireballer. The key figure in integrating the American League and bringing a World Series championship to Cleveland in 1948 was Bill Veeck. Epplin zeroes in on the essence of who Bill Veeck was – his optimism, ingenuity, and ability to convince others of his viewpoints. Ever since I read Ed Linn’s VEECK AS IN WRECK as a boy I have been fascinated by Veeck and his ability to transform baseball franchises be it in Milwaukee, Cleveland, or Chicago. In effect through his desire to sign negro ball players, his promotional creativity, and his willingness to sacrifice his personal life and health Veeck became a sort of “mad scientist” conjuring up new ideas in his baseball laboratory on a regular basis. As Epplin develops his narrative it is interesting as he notes that following World War II part of the reason Veeck signed Paige at the age of forty four was due to the decline of Bob Feller as a pitcher. It was Feller who epitomizes baseball during the era he played. He was baseball’s dominant pitcher in the late 1930s until World War II. Feller was a selfish individual who had difficulty accepting the lost wages because of his four year service in the military. After the war he was hell bent on recouping the money and incorporated himself as RO-FEL Inc. The barnstorming was the key, but his star status meant he had to pitch almost every day, make all arrangements and his commitment to earning as much money as possible and confronting baseball’s hierarchy meant he shortened his career as there are only so many pitches in a person’s arm during the pre-Tommy John surgery era. Feller’s decline and views on race, and his selfishness as viewed by other players detract from his overall reputation as a baseball great. As Epplin correctly points out, “Feller’s swoon, in a sense, facilitated Paige’s rise.” Epplin follows Veeck’s quest to buy the Indians in 1946 in detail. He delves into the roadblocks he faced, his interaction with fans and his promotional ability, and finally deciding to sign Paige and integrate the team with the signing of Larry Doby who after a poor start became one of the dominant sluggers in baseball at that time. Epplin makes the important point that Robinson’s almost immediate success with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 was due to this preparation in the minor leagues for what he was to expect once he stepped on the field as a Dodger. Secondly, Robinson was used to the publicity surrounding his athletic prowess at UCLA, his maturity from serving in the US Army during the war, and the strategy employed by Branch Rickey. On the other hand, Doby, only twenty three, was forced to change positions, had no seasoning in the minors, and was a quiet introverted type who had never been exposed to the type of racism he would confront once Veeck signed him to a contract. Interestingly, according to Epplin, Veeck developed a wonderful relationship with Doby, but Paige and Doby always seemed to be at loggerheads. The book will take the reader through the 1948 season and Cleveland’s ultimate victory in the World Series. Epplin does bring his focus on others aside from his four major characters to reinforce his views, but it is the role of Feller, Paige, Veeck, and Doby and his focus on the Negro Leagues that allows him to develop a narrative that is both interesting and timely as we confront the same type of covert and overt racism today. It is clear that if Veeck had not signed Doby and Paige the Cleveland Indians quest for a pennant and World Series championship would have come up short in 1948. Overall, Epplin has written a fine baseball history of the Cleveland Indians and their quest for a World Series in 1948. However, apart from some interesting ”nuggets” that the author has uncovered, much of what he explores has been presented by other baseball historians which he acknowldges. Despite this minor flaw Epplin writes well and he has produced an interesting read that should satisfy baseball fans of every generations.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beverly Kent

    I read this book because I lived in Cleveland and went to an occasional game, but followed the team on the radio with my dad. The book does not over play how crazy the city was that year with Feller, Lemon, Doby and Veeck. Even people who weren't baseball fans ended up following the team. Since I was only 13, the significance of civil rights movement was lost on me. I just liked to watch good players play baseball. The book is well researched and entertaining to anyone interesting in major leagu I read this book because I lived in Cleveland and went to an occasional game, but followed the team on the radio with my dad. The book does not over play how crazy the city was that year with Feller, Lemon, Doby and Veeck. Even people who weren't baseball fans ended up following the team. Since I was only 13, the significance of civil rights movement was lost on me. I just liked to watch good players play baseball. The book is well researched and entertaining to anyone interesting in major league baseball history and the nacient beginning of the civil rights movement.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daryl Spitzer

    I loved this book. Luke Epplin's focus on the four men (Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige) makes reading this compelling, entertaining, and enlightening. I feel like I got to know these four men the same way I feel about protagonists in a well crafted novel. I loved this book. Luke Epplin's focus on the four men (Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige) makes reading this compelling, entertaining, and enlightening. I feel like I got to know these four men the same way I feel about protagonists in a well crafted novel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bonniecco cco

    A very enjoyable book about baseball - talent, showmanship, and segregation - in the 1940s. My husband and I both enjoyed it, which is unusual but not unprecedented. Along the way I learned a lot about the Negro leagues and none of it made me feel better about the way we have treated Black people, but it is not an angry book - just matter of fact.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Donald

    Excellent writeup about the 1940's, the history of Baseball and race in our country. My only complaint is at 300 pages it leaves a lot to be desired. 4.25/5 Excellent writeup about the 1940's, the history of Baseball and race in our country. My only complaint is at 300 pages it leaves a lot to be desired. 4.25/5

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This is a fantastic, well-written look at one of baseball’s under-appreciated teams—the 1948 Indians. The author provides a “you are there” feel delving into back stories of Doby, Paige, Feller, and Veeck. He then brings the stories together in the magical 1948 season—still the last time the Indians won the World Series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    An insightful look into four major players on the 1948 world series winning Cleveland Indians team. I really enjoyed reading this book and learning a little more about some big names in Cleveland baseball.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jaime Dickerson

    I enjoy reading books about the “golden age” of baseball IMHO 1940-mid sixties. This one covers the 1948 Cleveland Indians’ World Series run and 4 men who were key to that success, Bill Veek, Larry Doby, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige. Everyone knows Jackie Robinson was the first African American to break into the Major Leagues, but Doby was second and faced the same challenges, slights, and indignities. The book covers the post-season “barnstorming” duels between Feller and Paige, and Paige’s ent I enjoy reading books about the “golden age” of baseball IMHO 1940-mid sixties. This one covers the 1948 Cleveland Indians’ World Series run and 4 men who were key to that success, Bill Veek, Larry Doby, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige. Everyone knows Jackie Robinson was the first African American to break into the Major Leagues, but Doby was second and faced the same challenges, slights, and indignities. The book covers the post-season “barnstorming” duels between Feller and Paige, and Paige’s entry into the majors as a coda to his long and storied career. A really good read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joann

    Anyone who enjoys baseball will want to read this well researched account of the 1948 season for the Cleveland Indians. Parts of it were very hard to read, the cruel racism which was so much a part of the scene then. It is hard to imagine the isolation of players like Larry Doby, Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige and the courage it took for them to pursue their dreams.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    This one is for fans of baseball history. Cleveland, 1948. The irrepressible showman Bill Veeck, owner of the Cleveland Indians, relies on his ace (but aging) starter Bob Feller to get the Indians into contention for a pennant. But Veeck also decided in 1947 to break the color barrier in the American League by hiring Black athlete Larry Doby. Finally, Veeck reaches out to add a 42-year-old (maybe, his age is uncertain) Satchel Paige, whose pitches still befuddle hitters. The book is well structure This one is for fans of baseball history. Cleveland, 1948. The irrepressible showman Bill Veeck, owner of the Cleveland Indians, relies on his ace (but aging) starter Bob Feller to get the Indians into contention for a pennant. But Veeck also decided in 1947 to break the color barrier in the American League by hiring Black athlete Larry Doby. Finally, Veeck reaches out to add a 42-year-old (maybe, his age is uncertain) Satchel Paige, whose pitches still befuddle hitters. The book is well structured, providing separate chapters of biography of each man leading up to when they came together on the Indians. The book culminates in a close examination of the games of the 1948 World Series, and how the three players fared. The book especially emphasizes how difficult is was for Doby. Unlike Jackie Robinson who had 18 months in the minors before Branch Rickey called him up to the Dodgers, Veeck yanked Doby directly from the Negro Leagues to the Indians, with little warning for either Doby, the Indians players, or fans. Doby agonized through this time with his treatment by certain other players, fans (especially on away games), and segregation when traveling with the team. Unlike Robinson who received immediate acclaim along with the scorn and soon became a baseball icon, Doby did not receive due recognition for decades. It was a bitter pill to swallow for a man who may have done more than any other single player to propel the Indians to a championship in 1948, and had a long playing career until he retired in 1962. He was not directly elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame but chosen to be inducted in 1998 by the Veterans Committee. Fortunately he received that honor before his death in 2003.

  24. 4 out of 5

    EVAN

    This book is well worth it for any fans of baseball, especially the period immediately following WWII. Mr. Epplin has written a well-researched, informative book that is, as importantly, well-written and fun to read. He really invokes the industrial Midwest in its heyday, and brings to life Bill Veeck, Satchel Paige and especially Larry Doby and Bob Feller, the fulcrums on which the book pivots. You feel Doby's sense of isolation and his burdens, and Feller's drive for financial as well as baseb This book is well worth it for any fans of baseball, especially the period immediately following WWII. Mr. Epplin has written a well-researched, informative book that is, as importantly, well-written and fun to read. He really invokes the industrial Midwest in its heyday, and brings to life Bill Veeck, Satchel Paige and especially Larry Doby and Bob Feller, the fulcrums on which the book pivots. You feel Doby's sense of isolation and his burdens, and Feller's drive for financial as well as baseball success and his blind spots when it comes to his teammate's struggles. Epplin makes you feel like you were at Municipal Stadium in its heyday. A great book and one I unequivocally recommend.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pete

    this was my mowing the lawn/doing chores audiobook - really satisfying work of sports history that follows larry doby, satchel paige, bob feller and bill veeck up to and through the 1948 world series. well-paced and very fresh (to me) in its account of feller and paige's long-standing barnstorming rivalry. felt a little repetitive, which is sort of unavoidable. baseball, it turns out, is pretty repetitive. also repetitive: racial animus. nicely turned portrait of bob feller as a talented but fat this was my mowing the lawn/doing chores audiobook - really satisfying work of sports history that follows larry doby, satchel paige, bob feller and bill veeck up to and through the 1948 world series. well-paced and very fresh (to me) in its account of feller and paige's long-standing barnstorming rivalry. felt a little repetitive, which is sort of unavoidable. baseball, it turns out, is pretty repetitive. also repetitive: racial animus. nicely turned portrait of bob feller as a talented but fatally uptight weenie.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Budd Margolis

    Wonderful story of the early days and the development of baseball by a marketing genius and three ball player legends whose careers were impacted by segregation of the sport & American society. These four, along with Brooklyn Dodgers Rickey & Robinson, broke the race barrier but what a struggle it was. If you love baseball then this is a must, if you are from Cleveland then it fills in a lot of Cleveland history. Hats off to Luke Epplin, well done!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    While certainly not exhaustive concerning Black ball players, this is an informative volume on those players in the early to mid 20th century as they opened up the game.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    It's easy to forget about some of the amazing players from mid-century MLB. Especially when they played for the Cleveland Indians. Today, and for the past several years, everything is on TV. Watch Fernando Tatis Jr.'s latest game-tying home run in the ninth on Twitter seconds after it happens. That awesome LeBron James three-point shot to win the game is on Facebook within minutes. Scroll through sports TikTok and you'll find highlights from any sport, anytime, anywhere. Not so much in 1940s Clevel It's easy to forget about some of the amazing players from mid-century MLB. Especially when they played for the Cleveland Indians. Today, and for the past several years, everything is on TV. Watch Fernando Tatis Jr.'s latest game-tying home run in the ninth on Twitter seconds after it happens. That awesome LeBron James three-point shot to win the game is on Facebook within minutes. Scroll through sports TikTok and you'll find highlights from any sport, anytime, anywhere. Not so much in 1940s Cleveland. But Our Team by Luke Epplin brings it all to life in modern fashion. After reading this book, it won't be easy to forget that Bob Feller was a giant both before and during his pitching career with the Indians. It won't be easy to forget that Indians owner Bill Veeck was an public relations genius who willed people into packing the park for Indians games. It won't be easy to forget that Satchel Paige was one of the most underappreciated superstars in baseball history. And it won't be easy to forget that Larry Doby was an unheralded superstar who was the final piece of the puzzle that brought the 1948 World Series title to Cleveland. Meticulously researched -- there are nearly 100 pages of footnotes and acknowledgements representing hundreds of people, books, and articles that Epplin distilled into this book -- Our Team follows the foursome of Feller, Veeck, Paige, and Doby who came together in the 1940s to lead the Indians to their most recent World Series victory. It's a chronological treatment, starting with schoolboy Bob Feller's exploits amid the Iowa cornfields, jumping to Larry Doby's backstory, then moving onto Satchel Paige's Negro League Baseball and barnstorming history before linking them all through Bill Veeck. Epplin alternates chapters with each person's story before they unite with the Indians in 1948. Though Our Team chronicles events that happened more than 70 years ago, it's not hard to read this book through a modern day lens. Bob Feller really was a LeBron James of his time, earning the hype while still in high school and living up to it the moment he reached the bigs. While Indians games especially don't draw big crowds any longer, it's something to read about 70,000-people crowds for games back before games were televised or even broadcast regularly on the radio. People found interesting ways to follow the action, even Bill Veeck who at times resorted to yelling out his car window in traffic jams to find out the score of the game. And knowing that players make millions of dollars a year playing baseball makes it all the more fascinating to know that the biggest stars of the 1940s and earlier could make many times their salaries playing barnstorming exhibition games after the regular season ended -- sometimes making even more than they would have if their teams made the World Series. It was a different era even though Fellers, Paige, Veeck, and Doby were involved in the same game being played in Cleveland and around the country today. Someone jumping into a time machine and plopping down in 1948 probably wouldn't even recognize the world. But thanks to Epplin's time machine of a book, any baseball or Cleveland Indians fan will especially recognize and appreciate the detailed reporting of an era long gone.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    Readers who enjoy baseball history, or history of life in America immediately after WW II should enjoy Luke Epplin's book " Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball". Eplin weaves together the story of four important men in baseball (Bill Veeck, pitchers Bob Feller and Satchel Paige, and outfielder Lary Doby) in a way that both baseball fans and non-fans can enjoy. The story culminates with the Cleveland Indians chase for the American League pennant in 1948 Readers who enjoy baseball history, or history of life in America immediately after WW II should enjoy Luke Epplin's book " Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball". Eplin weaves together the story of four important men in baseball (Bill Veeck, pitchers Bob Feller and Satchel Paige, and outfielder Lary Doby) in a way that both baseball fans and non-fans can enjoy. The story culminates with the Cleveland Indians chase for the American League pennant in 1948. It's a great baseball story, but the book also looks at what life was like in the old Negro baseball leagues, and how segregation and Jim Crow laws impacted the black ball players in mid-20th century America. Baseball fans across the country are frequently reminded about Jackie Robinson's historic impact on the game when on April 15th each year, players throughout the league don uniforms with Robinson's number 42 to mark the anniversary of the day the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Famer broke baseball's color barrier. There are also books and movies about Robinson being the first black player in the Major Leagues. But much less is known about Lary Doby, the second player from the old Negro baseball league to integrate Major League Baseball. Like Robinson, Doby had to endure racial taunts and indignities, and struggled to be accepted, especially early in his career. But he never seemed to receive the accolades for what he achieved and endured. "Our Team" helps offset those slights, and addresses these issues. The book shows that there were some that did accept him and try to help him, especially team owner Bill Veeck. And Epplin points out that depsite the hardship Doby endured, Doby did ultimately achieve success and on-field acceptance by the fans of the Cleveland ball team. Satchel Paige is another star from the Negro Baseball Leagues who was denied the opportunity to play in the major leagues until he was in his late 40s and well past his prime. Nonetheless, Paige also was signed by Bill Veeck to play for the Cleveland Indians, and did play a part in helping the Indians win a World Series. It's interesting to compare how different major league pitchers are treated today compared to the pitchers of the mid-20th century. Modern pitchers are on strict pitch count and rarely pitch a full nine innings. But as Epplin reminds readers, pitchers in early baseball were expected to pitch complete games, often on only two days (or less) of rest. I also found it interesting to see that the recent cheating scandal of the 2017 & 2018 Houston Astros, stealing signs to aid their batters, isn't brand new. Teams had been stealing the catcher's signs off and on for years, as Epplin notes, with little or nothing being said. Bob Feller was also a key player for the Cleveland Indians, but surprisingly wasn't the key pitcher in the World Series year of 1948. He did have a remarkable career, and was likely the first baseball player to be popular enough to incorporate himself and become a true visionary and star. There were many interesting anecdotes like that about people, places, baseball games, barnstorming, and life in the era - I found surprises and enjoyment in every chapter.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    Four men, inextricably linked. Two white, two Black. Bob Feller, Satchel Paige, Bill Veeck and Larry Doby. All of them could be said to be pioneers, and each had his own triumphs and disappointments. Bob Feller, signed by the Cleveland Indians, was a “phee-nom,” as they used to say. This teenage farm boy from the heartland of America (Van Meter, Iowa) had a fastball that made grown men beg out of the lineup. Realizing his value --- as well as the short lifespan of an athlete, especially having lo Four men, inextricably linked. Two white, two Black. Bob Feller, Satchel Paige, Bill Veeck and Larry Doby. All of them could be said to be pioneers, and each had his own triumphs and disappointments. Bob Feller, signed by the Cleveland Indians, was a “phee-nom,” as they used to say. This teenage farm boy from the heartland of America (Van Meter, Iowa) had a fastball that made grown men beg out of the lineup. Realizing his value --- as well as the short lifespan of an athlete, especially having lost some prime years to World War II --- he was the first to incorporate himself. He sought endorsement opportunities and produced barnstorming trips, gathering a collection of major leaguers who would travel around the country after the end of the season, giving many fans the only opportunity to see them in person. Feller’s troupe would take on local teams, but the real story was their engagements with players from the Negro Leagues in the years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. It was on these trips that Feller would encourage mano-a-mano duels with Satchel Paige, a beanpole of a pitcher whose speed rivaled Feller’s (Paige also had exceptional control, which Feller did not). These games often showed that players from the Negro Leagues were just as good, if not often better, than their big league counterparts, with Paige up front and center in all of this. Bill Veeck was the P.T. Barnum of baseball. The game was in his blood. His father had been an executive with the Chicago Cubs, and as soon as he was able, he bought himself a team, which turned out to be the Indians after a couple of false starts elsewhere. Veeck was a maverick, bucking tradition with his plans to bring people out to the ballpark, but with the ultimate goal of winning a pennant. That included looking for talent where no one else would (except for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Branch Rickey, who signed Robinson to a professional contract in 1946). He made Larry Doby, who had been a star with the Newark Eagles in the Negro Leagues, the second African American in the Majors. Despite their renown, Paige and Doby had to deal with the discrimination of their time, the Jim Crow laws of the Deep South, and the attitudes of white teammates, media and fans who perceived Black players as somehow deficient in what it took to be in the Majors. Doby, more than a decade younger than Paige, was more introspective and introverted, while the older man had developed a thicker skin and knew how to “go along to get along.” Like Feller, he was always on the lookout for a bigger paycheck, willing to break contracts and jump from team to team for that larger payday. Ably researched and entertainingly presented by Luke Epplin, OUR TEAM is a painstaking look at the difficulties in the lives of all these men --- Feller’s “lost years,” Veeck’s leg amputation following his own military service, and Paige and Doby trying to make inroads in a sport that did not want “their kind.” But as they worked together for a common goal, many of these differences were set aside. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan

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