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Seasons in Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and "The Worst Baseball Team in History" - The 1973-1975 Texas Rangers
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Seasons in Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and "The Worst Baseball Team in History" - The 1973-1975 Texas Rangers

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  312 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
“Even before the start of spring training, Herzog had said, ‘If Rich Billings is the starting catcher again, we’re in deep trouble.’ When that evaluation was passed along to Billings, he simply nodded and said, ‘Whitey, obviously, has seen me play.’”In early 1973, gonzo sportswriter Mike Shropshire agreed to cover the Texas Rangers for the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, not rea ...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Bison Books (first published June 12th 1996)
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Community Reviews

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Curtis Edmonds
May 02, 2013 Curtis Edmonds rated it it was amazing
This is the funniest baseball book of all time, and maybe the funniest book ever written. I am probably only saying this because I am from Grand Prairie, Texas, one town over from Arlington, and because I spent every summer night of my young life listening to these teams on WBAP 820, the Voice of the Metroplex. Still, it's a hilarious book and you should read it and give away copies to your friends so they will like you better.
Bob Varettoni
May 15, 2015 Bob Varettoni rated it it was ok
Snark without heart... Mike Shropshire's writing is unrelentingly "clever" and a bit of an acquired taste. I didn't acquire it. I was expecting "Ball Four" but got "Hit by a Pitch" instead. If you like to listen to people brag about their drinking exploits or enjoy jokes about alcoholism, this is the book for you. If you like baseball, the one save here is the author's portrayal of Whitey Herzog.
Jan 17, 2015 Lance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, blog, baseball
4 of 5 stars (very good)

When a young sportswriter received the news that he was going to be working on the Texas Rangers’ beat in 1973, he didn’t really know what to expect. That sportswriter, Mike Shropshire, ended up writing about that assignment in this hilarious book about what was arguably one of the worst baseball teams in the history of the game.

That season the Rangers finished with 105 losses and was managed by Whitey Herzog, who would later achieve more success managing
Feb 10, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With all the gnashing of teeth and rending of pinstripes to which the media has been driven by A-Rod's recent steroid "revelations", what could be more refreshing than a book reminding us that the sacred sport of baseball was already plenty lowbrow and disgraced? Luckily that book exists and has just been reprinted: Seasons in Hell, a woozy romp through the hapless inaugural seasons of the Texas Rangers franchise courtesy of gonzo sportswriter Mike Shropshire. SIH is usually likened to Jim Bouto ...more
Shay Caroline
Aug 29, 2016 Shay Caroline rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball
The first third or so of this book is really funny. I mean, tears rolling down my face funny. Shropshire's wry descriptions of the utterly inept 1973 Texas Rangers baseball team is really good reading for anyone who likes baseball and loves schadenfreude. But, as with a lot of books that are funny at the start, this one doesn't maintain it.

I had several problems with this book. For one, the title itself is misleading. Yes, it puts "the worst team in baseball history" in quotes, but only the '73
Jun 27, 2013 Jim rated it did not like it
I was really looking forward to reading this book, but got only as far as page 8 before closing the book and sitting down to write this review. To begin, I love funny baseball books, and I also like books that incorporate the history of sports franchises, thus "Seasons in hell" seemed like the perfect fit for me--but there is one problem--the inaccuracy presented on page 8 ruined the read.

The author spent about half of a page (page 8 and 9) discussing the other teams besides the Texas Rangers i
Jan 03, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, sports, non-fiction
This is a weird one.

Back when Hunter S. Thompson and gonzo journalism was sweeping the reporting landscape a baseball reporter, Mike Shropshire, adapted the first person, reporter as a key protagonist, style. He did so for his book about the 1973 Texas Rangers - a team ripe for exploitation, seeing as they were one of the worst in league history.

What follows is interesting not because of Shropshire's style (I've never read Thompson but I imagine he is a more engaging protagonist) but because o
Aug 02, 2015 Fred rated it liked it
The best word to use for this book is "irreverent." In a world where baseball is often spoken of in hushed, holy terms, this books is decidedly counter cultural. This is not Rodger Kahn, Ken Burns or Buck O'Niell writing about heroic deeds. This is Mike Shropshire reporting on the worst team in baseball. It is direct, irreverent, often crude but also Laugh Out Loud funny. It is not just LOL, it is "laugh out loud, read this section to the person next to you even if it is a stranger on the plane, ...more
Jul 09, 2009 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baseball fan? Gut need a little exercise? Reading Mike Shropshire's "Seasons in Hell" will convulse your tummy like one of those killer ab workouts. It's still the funniest non-fiction book I've read, even if the second half drags a little in comparison to the first half.

Shropshire provides a searing, funny inside look at baseball's worst team, circa mid-'70s. It's all here, from spring training hijinks to the Rangers' unfortunate pushing of young pitching phenom David Clyde up to the bigs far
May 03, 2015 Pete rated it it was ok
i got slightly obsessed with billy martin and his weird battle against the world. this book contains some good details about billy martin, such as the many specific times he punched people in bars or was punched by people in bars during his time as manager of the texas rangers. otherwise i cannot recommend it; shropshire is personable and funny, but there are at least two more adjectives than needed in every sentence. shorter version of this book: the seventies were a weird time, because everybo ...more
Aug 15, 2015 Darrell rated it really liked it
Very funny, somewhat poignant. If you're a baseball fan -- especially a fan of the Texas Rangers -- it's a must-read. One of the funniest baseball books ever. The author has a gonzo journalism type quality to his writing. Shropshire had no love for Fort Worth, or Arlington, and his descriptions of those places are laugh-out-loud funny. The Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin anecdotes are hilarious. Perfectly captures the free-wheeling and innocent excesses of the early 1970's in America.
Sep 08, 2009 Diener rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, texas
Funny. Shropshire writes of his days covering the early 1970s Rangers. The best part of this book is its rich cast of characters, which includes manager Billy Martin, longtime D/FW reporter and columnist Randy Galloway, and Shropshire himself. You'll find yourself doubled-over laughing as Shropshire recounts the shenangins in which these larger-than-life characters engaged.
Ken Heard
Sep 27, 2007 Ken Heard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the Ball Four of sports reporting. Shropshire covered the Texas Rangers when they moved from Washington, D.C., in 1972 (they went 54-100 that first season, and had written a humorous, behind the pen look at baseball, its players and how reporters work. It's an annual must read for baseball fans.
Mark Stratton
Apr 20, 2014 Mark Stratton rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball
Shropshire writes as much memoir as history. Leavened with humor that is by turns crude and hyperbolic, he paints an ineffective portrait of both being a sportswriter and a baseball team. What he does excel at, aside from drinking to excess, is share interesting character portraits. I'm not certain certain, but he may have drafted this in crayon.
Dustin Gaughran
May 11, 2015 Dustin Gaughran rated it liked it
This was a decent baseball book. It's about a drinker with a sports writing problem covering a drinking team with a worse baseball problem. I wasn't alive to witness the Rangers in the 70's, but the author did a great job giving you a feel for what it was like covering the team back then. It's short, but worthwhile.
Apr 09, 2016 Mark rated it it was ok
Ramblings of a wanna be hedonist rock star. Entertaining if I thought 70 percent of it wasn't exaggerated or a lie. Furthermore, it was published in 1997, 23 years after the events of the book. Not only is the subject matter possibly misremembered but probably loses some of its edge. Probably more notable reading of Texas Rangers fans.
Danny Knobler
Oct 09, 2014 Danny Knobler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
Some people think it must be awful to cover a bad team. I disagree, and I've covered plenty of them. The early Texas Rangers were bad, but they were also colorful, as bad teams can be. When you're done with Mike Shropshire's account of three Rangers seasons (one of which wasn't actually bad), you'll agree.
Bill Erosh
Sep 03, 2016 Bill Erosh rated it liked it
Not as good as I was expecting after reading some reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Funny in spots but the writer seems obsessed with his own drinking ability at the expense of the rest of the story. As a baseball fan there are also a few factual errors as to some players and where they actually were located during the period being written about.
Michael Brown
Jul 04, 2015 Michael Brown rated it liked it
It was a good book with some interesting looks at baseball from the view of a sportswriter.

The saddest part about the book is that I could have stopped reading at any point and would have not worried about ever getting to the end of it... To see the payoff pitch so to speak.
Chris Dean
Mar 29, 2013 Chris Dean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this book about the early days of the Texas Rangers . Any fan if the game in the 1970s will enjoy this book about a largely-ignored part of baseball history. David Clyde, Billy Martin, Ted Williams and Ten Cent Beer Night. How can you go wrong?
Apr 20, 2016 Mike rated it liked it
A story that could have been presented in an infinitely more humorous way. There were many terrific anecdotes in this book, but they were sandwiched in the midst of some egregious overwriting. I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did, but all 3 stars are for Whitey Herzog.
Dale Stonehouse
May 28, 2015 Dale Stonehouse rated it really liked it
Good stories and good writing; however, there is no excuse for misidentifying Nickel Beer Night in Cleveland in June 1974 as "10-cent beer night" when the author was in the ballpark that night.
Jul 31, 2010 Sandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, read-2010
The author looks back at his tenure as the beat writer of the Texas Rangers back in the mid-seventies.
May 05, 2014 Jesse rated it really liked it
Stories about the 1973 to 1975 Texas Rangers. Lots of fun, nothing serious. Lenny Randle and Frank Lucchesi...great!
Oct 01, 2008 Brian rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball
Good writing about really bad baseball. Even in the 1970s the tragedy of Billy Martin could be seen.
Mar 22, 2015 Carolyn rated it really liked it
I'm not a Rangers fan at all, but the characters were bigger than life and the writing was clever and often hilarious, so I got a real kick out of this book.
Bobbi Combs brafford
Jul 23, 2013 Bobbi Combs brafford rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite baseball books! I laughed so much through this book. Those were the good old days.
Pellucido rated it really liked it
Nov 02, 2008
Gary Williams
Gary Williams rated it really liked it
Dec 13, 2014
Jamie Wilking
Jamie Wilking rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2016
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“Rumor had it that during the last home stand, someone had called the stadium ticket office asking what time the game started and was told, “What time can you be here?” 0 likes
“Herzog might have been willing to do that. But this season he apparently felt that it was his obligation as a responsible citizen to alert the public back in North Texas that something dreadful was about to happen. Poor Whitey was trying to cry out a warning, like somebody shouting to the captain of the Hindenburg to turn on the “No Smoking” sign.” 0 likes
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