The Golden Game


The Golden Game

The Story of California Baseball

Kevin Nelson
Foreword by Hank Greenwald

456 pages
34 photographs


July 2015


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

July 2015


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

July 2015


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Golden Game presents in words and pictures 150 years of baseball history, from sandlot ball in the 1850s and the Pacific Coast League to the western arrival of the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Athletics, and Padres. Here is a stirring, colorfully written narrative about the state that has been the birthplace and proving ground for more Major Leaguers than any other, including Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Jackie Robinson. Blending U.S. and California history as a backdrop to a narrative rich with anecdotes, The Golden Game reveals the significant impact that California has had on baseball history.

Written not just for Californians but for all baseball fans, The Golden Game goes beyond its geographic boundaries to tell the fascinating saga of California baseball and how it has indelibly shaped the national pastime.

Author Bio

Kevin Nelson is the award-winning author of nineteen books. He spent three years researching and writing The Golden Game, traveling around California to uncover the state’s storied baseball past. Hank Greenwald is a former Major League Baseball announcer who was for many years the voice of the San Francisco Giants.


“[This is] the rare baseball book that transcends its regional emphasis to earn a place on the shelf of anyone who loves the game. It reads like a core sample of a polar ice cap, with layer upon informative layer the deeper you go.”—David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle

“[Nelson’s] wholly charming and endearing book allows us to see baseball as a kind of benchmark for the birth and growth of California over the last century and a half. . . . Nelson shows us that baseball was always much more than a form of recreation or entertainment—it was a means of self-definition.”—Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“[An] excellent history. . . . You don’t have to be a Californian to enjoy these important chapters in the game’s history.”—Ron Fimrite, Sports Illustrated

“Nelson has a knack for research and an ear for good anecdotes as he reviews the impact California baseball has had not only on the game in this country but as an ‘export’ to Japan and Mexico as well.”—Publishers Weekly

“A superb blending of United States and California history, plus baseball. Well-illustrated and written in a compelling manner that few books can rightly claim, this is a rare literary sports treasure that can be recommended with great enthusiasm.”—Oakland Tribune

“I’ve read some terrific sports books in recent years . . . but I found none more interesting than Kevin Nelson's current page-turner, The Golden Game: The Story of California Baseball. If you’re a baseball aficionado or even if you aren’t, this is a wonderfully researched narrative about the genesis of the sport in the state.”—Doug Krikorian, Long Beach Press-Telegram

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



1. The Seed Is Planted

2. Stagecoach Baseball

3. Enter the Professionals

4. How Casey Advanced to the Bat

5. Train Ride South

6. From Robinson to Lange to Chance

7. A Brand-New Ballgame

8. A Ballpark Blooms in San Francisco

9. The Los Angeles Mix, Winter 1908

10. Schoolboys

11. Playgrounds

12. A Left-Hander for the Oaks

13. There Was a Crooked Man

14. The Pride of Their Community

15. Babe Ruth in California

16. An Experiment in Sound and Light

17. Barnstormers

18. In the Shadows of War

19. Joe, Ted, Jackie

20. War Games

21. Breakthrough

22. Golden Boys

23. In a Corner of the United States

24. Casey, Billy, and the Yanks

25. Brown Derby Baseball

26. They Changed the Game

27. Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants, April 1958

28. The Last Days of Ty Cobb

29. The Cowboy Rides In

30. The Next Generation

31. 1969



Source Notes



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