Hairs vs. Squares

Hairs vs. Squares

The Mustache Gang, the Big Red Machine, and the Tumultuous Summer of '72

Ed Gruver

408 pages
12 photographs

Hardcover

May 2016

978-0-8032-8558-3

$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Hairs vs. Squares is an ode to an unforgettable season that began with the first major players’ strike in the history of North American sports and ended with a record-setting World Series played by two of the game’s greatest and most colorful dynasties. In a sign of the times it was Hippies vs. Hardhats, a clash of cultures with the hirsute, mod Mustache Gang colliding with the clean-cut, conservative Big Red Machine on the game’s grandest stage.


When the Oakland A’s met the Cincinnati Reds in the 1972 Fall Classic, more than a championship was at stake. The more than two dozen interviews bring to life a time when controversy was commonplace, both inside and outside the national pastime. In baseball, Willie Mays was traded, Hank Aaron was chasing down Babe Ruth’s home run record, and Dick Allen was helping to save the Chicago White Sox franchise while winning the American League’s Most Valuable Player award. Outside the American pastime the war in Vietnam was raging, campus protests spread throughout the country, and Watergate and the Munich Olympics headlined the tumultuous year.


The 1972 Major League Baseball season was marked by the rapid rise of rookies and young stars, the fall of established teams and veterans, courageous comebacks, and personal redemptions. Along with the many unforgettable and outrageous characters inside baseball, Hairs vs. Squares emphasizes the dramatic changes that took place on and off the field in the 1970s. Owners’ lockouts, on-field fights, maverick managers, controversial trades, artificial fields, the first full five-game League Championship Series, and the closest, most competitive World Series ever, combined to make the 1972 season as complex as the social and political unrest that marked the era.

Author Bio

Ed Gruver is an award-winning sportswriter who has covered the Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles as a columnist and has reported on MLB All-Star Games, playoffs, and the World Series. He is the author of six sports books, including Koufax and The Ice Bowl: The Cold Truth about Football’s Most Unforgettable Game.
 
 

Praise

“Filled with intense detail and the author’s love for his subject.”—Kenneth Sammond, Arete
 

“Gruver sketches some nice profiles of players who were key figures during the 1972 season—and not just those who figured into the pennant races. Stories about Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Rod Carew and others give the reader a more rounded portrait of the season.”—Bob D’Angelo, The Sports Bookie
 

"Hairs vs. Squares is about the heart of the game at one of its more adrenalized moments."—Ron Slate, On the Seawall

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Prologue
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Epilogue
Bibliography

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