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Bottom of the Ninth: Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel, and the Daring Scheme to Save Baseball from Itself

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  103 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Fifty years ago, as baseball faced crises on and off the field, two larger-than-life figures took center stage, each on a quest to reinvent the national pastime

In the late 1950s, baseball was under siege. Up-and-coming cities that wanted teams of their own were being rebuffed by the owners, and in response Congress was threatening to revoke the sport's antitrust exemption.
ebook, 320 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Times Books (first published May 12th 2009)
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Jun 13, 2012 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bottom of the Ninth, by Michael Shapiro, is an interesting book. Subtitled Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel, and the Daring Scheme to Save Baseball From Itself, it is actually about two unrelated stories. The early part of the book focuses more on Casey Stengel’s run as manager of the New York Yankees. The other story, which moves to center stage later, is about the attempt by Branch Rickey and William Shea to create The Continental League, a third professional circuit that would work with major lea ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 05, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Shapiro hinges his tale of Major League baseball's gradual but seemingly unstoppable descent to second-rate fan-dom around the most momentous home run in baseball history.

I was 18 months old and a future Pittsburgh Pirate fan when Bill Mazeroski sent his home run out of Forbes Field and stunned the perennially-powerful New York Yankees in 1960. Baseball in my lifetime has been a tale of bitter strikes, backroom scheming, and drug-driven scandals, which have left the game shrinking in popularity
Bill F.
Michael Shapiro's Bottom of the Ninth is fascinating reading for anyone who loves baseball -or football, for that matter. Although it is told as a parallel story - with a distracting and incongruous outlining of Casey Stengel's final years as manager of the New York Yankees - the real story is about Branch Rickey and his proposed Continental League, which he tried to create between 1958-1960. The CL would be a third Major League that would do for baseball what - it turned out - the American Foot ...more
Sep 11, 2016 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Summary: The story of how two legendary figures, Branch Rickey and Casey Stengel, attempted but failed in schemes to transform the game of baseball.

When I first picked up this book, my attention was arrested by the front cover photograph. It shows a group of fans on a high vantage point overlooking a baseball park. I studied it more closely and wondered if the ballpark was Forbes Field, where I'd caught a game as a kid. It was indeed! It turns out that this was a famous photograph taken by Georg
May 18, 2015 Tyler rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quickly was overwhelmed by the amount of characters in the Continental League story. That side of things was not interesting to me so I skimmed basically all of that story past 100 pages other than reading about a few owners. I didn't realize they had to basically renegotiate their salary after every season that couldn't have been much fun. Being on the Yankees couldn't have been much fun either, knowing you were one bad game away from the minors, kind of sad really.
The baseball side was more
Mike Kennedy
Feb 23, 2016 Mike Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
A decent baseball book that takes a look at the failed continental league. This wasn't attempt Led by Branch Rickey to form a third major league. The majority of this book looked at the business aspect of putting together and forming a new league. There was a little bit of on the field action too, as The ups and downs of the New York Yankees led by Casey Stengel were chronicled. The baseball on field action was a little forced and confusing at time. It was odd that only the Yankees were chronicl ...more
Jan 22, 2009 J.C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, arc, 2008-reads
Historical Baseball Moments

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH is a baseball fan's dream. The book is filled to the top with historical moments, lore, and characters that shaped America's national pastime. The books spans several years in one of baseball's defining moments in history.

This book is not for everyone, as it is loaded with players, managers, political figures, prominent city people, cities, states, and their little (or big) stories and motivations. With the sheer volume of stuff going on in this boo
Feb 01, 2009 Samantha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Samantha by: Amazon Vine
I really wanted to enjoy this book, however I couldn't. I found it extremely boring throughout most of it. There were some good biographical pages of players and men around baseball, but most of the time it was about the start up of a new league. The Continential League with Branch Rickey took on the major leagues. This was more about finances and how a league could be created. It's not really a baseball book, but yet it is. It's more of a baseball history book about this particular topic. Not a ...more
Mar 01, 2010 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this book 3 stars for the subject matter more than anything, as I found the writing and clarity to be lacking. That being said, it was a really interesting book about the failed attempt to form a 3rd major league in the late 50s / early 60s. The Continental League was going to field teams in NY (later became the mets), Houston (later became the Astros), Minneapolis (later became the Twins), and 5 other cities, including Dallas, Atlanta, and Denver.

Basically MLB was refusing to expand
Jul 20, 2012 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bottom of the Ninth is a must read for all baseball historians, enthusiasts and anyone who is interested in how the modern expansion era of baseball came to be. The book juxtaposes the final years of Casey Stengel with the New York Yankees with Branch Rickey's unexpected quest to bring about the kind of change in baseball unseen since the time when American League and National League joined forces in the early part of the 20th century. Baseball was at a crossroads at this moment, with both the ...more
Larry Hostetler
May 26, 2013 Larry Hostetler rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
An interesting book, I learned a lot about the attempt to form the Continental league in the late 1950s/early 1960s. It was interesting to see the machinations of the owners from an internal perspective. It was enlightening and yet disturbing.

Putting it in the context and timing of the end of Casey Stengel's career with the Yankees is a nice touch, since he became the first manager of the Mets.

While I have never had a great affinity for the owners of baseball teams my estimation of them has su
Mar 30, 2011 Christy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, sports
This fantastic book chronicles baseball between 1958 and 1960 - the years in which both that sport and professional football were faced with the creation of new leagues. Lamar Hunt's AFL survived, but baseball's Continental League is not well remembered by even the most knowledgeable baseball fans. Shapiro posits that this is the moment in which baseball failed to prevent football overtaking it as the national game, and he tells his story through the fascinating characters of Branch Rickey and C ...more
Keith Gerlach
Not bad, but I have read much better baseball books! It does explain why (because of the owners and the owners of the Yankees and Dodgers in particular) baseball owners STILL have their head up their ass as far as parity and revenue sharing!! Which is 1 reason why football passed baseball in popularity.
A look back at the twilight years of Casey Stengel as a Yankees manager, which happened to roughly coincide with an attempt to create a third major baseball league, a project led by former Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey. Shapiro makes a powerful case for the greed and short-sightedness of the American and National League team owners in trying to quash this new league before it could get started as a hinge point in the decline of baseball as America's national pasttime and the rise in p ...more
May 14, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting story for baseball fans of a certain age. Tells the story of Bill Shea and Branch Rickey's battle for expansion in the major leagues in the late 50's. The end result was the birth of the Mets, Astros, Senators and Angels, and ultimately the 1969 expansion. A little too much digression into the Yankee's seasons around that time. I just did not see the relevance to the story.
While the information contained in "Bottom of the Ninth" was interesting, it didn't hold my interest. I plowed halfway through the book, and then adopted the "life is too short to read boring books" position and moved on.

For folks interested in learning about the 1960s, and especially New York baseball, likely this would be an excellent read. The subject left me cold.

May 11, 2013 Allen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is split between the creation of the Continental League and the story of Casey Stengel's last years with the Yankees. The two never really cross. It's really two books and the focus is diluted. Some entertaining sections, but unsatisfying as a whole.
Tj Lange
Oct 24, 2013 Tj Lange rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very impressive piece of writing. The author was able to tie in history of the United States, baseball, and the Rae f the new past art NFL. I found t very fascinating and could hardly put it down.
Greg Perkins
Apr 05, 2014 Greg Perkins rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I enjoy watching baseball in the playoffs but you have to love baseball history, and know a lot of it, to enjoy this book AND follow it. I didn't finish it!
John Benson
A detailed account of a part fo Baseball History that has been overlooked by many of the popular accounts. Yet another reason to dislike the Yankees.
Jul 05, 2013 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about a third major league. This league also helped the NFL become what it is today. You end up feeling sad for Branch Rickey.
Vinnie Vrotny
May 18, 2009 Vinnie Vrotny is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
I am enjoying the discussion of the Continental League, something that I was vaguely aware of but did not know the detail about.
Aug 20, 2009 Goldallen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining and informative. Brought to light a part of baseball history of which I was totally unaware.
Mar 26, 2010 Bryan marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
continental league 6/3/2009
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