Major League Baseball has had a long and storied history, but perhaps no era has been as competitive and unpredictable as the past 25 years, with an expanded postseason making for an unexpected and entertaining end to each season.
In America’s Game in the Wild-Card Era: From Strike to Pandemic, Bryan Soderholm-Difatte provides a compelling examination of Major League Baseball since the 1994 players’ strike. He reveals how the last quarter century has been the most dynamic in MLB history and argues that bringing wild-card teams and the division-series round into the postseason mix have fundamentally changed how dynasties should be perceived. Following the major storylines for all 30 teams, along with the division races and state of dynasties over the past 25 years, America’s Game in the Wild-Card Era is a captivating look into a new age of baseball.
America’s Game in the Wild-Card Era, together with Soderholm-Difatte’s America’s Game, Tumultuous Times in America’s Game, and The Reshaping of America’s Game, form the author’s complete, definitive history of Major League Baseball.
Bryan Soderholm-Difatte is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and a regular contributor to The Baseball Research Journal. He is the author of The Golden Era of Major League Baseball: A Time of Transition and Integration, America’s Game: A History of Major League Baseball through World War II, Tumultuous Times in America’s Game: From Jackie Robinson’s Breakthrough to the War over Free Agency, and The Reshaping of America's Game: Major League Baseball after the Players' Strike, all published by Rowman & Littlefield.
Introduction: Back to Baseball—The Wild-Card Paradigm Shift
Part I: Return to Action
Part II: Wrestling With History
Part III: Navigating the Competitive Landscape
Part IV: Paradigm Shifts
EPILOGUE: Baseball in the Year of Coronavirus
Quotes and Notes
About the Author
The game of baseball has been around for well over a hundred years and in that time, it has endured both success and criticism. More specifically, the modern era, which is also called the “wild card era,” has experienced a series of highs and lows. In 1994, Major League Baseball suffered through a player’s strike and, since then, has sought to recuperate and become more dynamic than ever. In this detailed look at the last 25 years of the sport, baseball historian Soderholm-Diffate (Tumultuous Times in America’s Game) takes readers through the wild card era’s many struggles and triumphs. Moments such as the unbelievable pitching trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz of the 1990s Atlanta Braves; the return of the championship of the Chicago Cubs; the struggles of the New York Yankees; the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, and more are highlighted throughout. The author also considers the legacy of dynasties such as the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox, and their paths to the World Series over the years. Baseball fans actively following the sport in the 1990s and 2000s will greatly appreciate this fantastic book and its detailed insight.
The partnership between Soderholm-Difatte and the publisher has already produced some of the best baseball history being written today. This latest volume covers the last 25 years, including the excitement of wildcards, playoffs, and more than a dozen World Series seasons that rank among the most dramatic sporting events in US history. Not since Leonard Koppett has baseball had a chronicler of such breadth, knowledge, historical acumen, and literary grace. This author understands the impact that expanded post-seasons have had on general managers, who must bring different skill sets and judgments to building a winning team, even for one season: no one has been able to repeat a World Series victory within this century. This book is for individuals who understand the subtleties of analytical baseball, clubhouse psychology, and the tools required to build a player roster for victory in a grinding six-month season. All 30 teams have their moments in the sun. The road to victory seems possible for any franchise, and the cursed ghosts of the White Sox, Red Sox, and Cubs teams past now rest in peace because of the strategies that gained the elusive golden ring in the 21st century. This is an exciting and intelligent study of a remarkable historical moment in baseball annals. Highly recommended. All readers.
A spin through recent baseball history – the Wild Card Era, beginning in 1995 – we see 15 different World Series champions over the past 26 seasons. Updated through the year 2020, we are shown the player signings, trades, and business dealings, and how changes in the game of baseball have been reflected in the fortunes of the teams on the field.
The last quarter century produced some of baseball’s most exciting pennant races and post-seasons, along with many changes of the guard among baseball's top teams. With lively and fresh writing, Bryan Soderholm-Difatte captures both the game on the field and the stories behind the changing fortunes of the competing franchises.