“Bad Moon Rising: Baseball and the Summer of ’68” Exhibition To Open at Library

By On August 1, 2012

The Baseball Reliquary presents “Bad Moon Rising: Baseball and the Summer of ’68,” an exhibition chronicling the extraordinary baseball season of 1968, played out against the backdrop of one of the most divisive and turbulent years in American history, marked by national tragedy and sweeping change, from August 4-September 27, 2012, at the Burbank Central Library, 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, California.  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

Moments after the Tigers won Game Seven of the 1968 World Series, the streets of Detroit, where rioting had occurred the summer before, filled with fans celebrating their team’s victory.

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;” baseball’s reaction to the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert 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

Bob Gibson’s Game One performance in the 1968 World Series, with the Cardinals beating the Tigers 4-0, would become one of the most iconic of that period in sports. Images of him in action that afternoon can be placed alongside the famous photographs of Muhammad Ali yelling for Sonny Liston to get off the canvas in 1965, or the moment when sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved fists into the air at the Mexico City Olympics just days after the 1968 World Series concluded.

mourning for Kennedy; 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; 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 Denny McLain; and 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.  And 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; in fact, Hayden, now 72, still plays hardball every Sunday in Los Angeles, competing against players half his age.

Library hours for the exhibition are Monday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; Friday, 9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; closed Sunday.  For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at terymar@earthlink.net.  For directions, phone the Burbank Central Library at (818) 238-5600 during library hours.

The exhibition, which is free of charge, is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.





  In conjunction with the exhibition, “Bad Moon Rising: Baseball and the Summer of ’68,” the Baseball Reliquary and Burbank Public Library present a discussion and book signing with Tim Wendel, author of Summer of ’68: The Season That Changed Baseball—and America—Forever.  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 has appeared on CNN, ESPN, SiriusXM, and NPR, and recently served as an exhibit advisor to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  He lives in Vienna, Virginia.

The program, which is free of charge and will be held in the Burbank Central Library Auditorium, 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, California, is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.