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'Bad Moon Rising' exhibit

August 03, 2012

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.

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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.

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