"Anyone who has love for the game of baseball will enjoy this remarkable book." Library Journal, Starred Review
In Whispers of the Gods, bestselling author Peter Golenbock brings to life baseball greats from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s through timeless stories told straight from the players themselves.
Like the enduring classic The Glory of Their Times, this book features the reminiscences of baseball legends, pulled from hundreds of hours of taped interviews with the author. Roy Campanella talks about life in the Negro Leagues before coming up to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Ted Williams recounts why he believes Shoeless Joe Jackson belongs in the Hall of Fame. Tom Sturdivant provides vivid memories of Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle, and other Yankee icons. Other voices include Phil Rizzuto, Jim Bouton, Monte Irvin, Stan Musial, Ron Santo, Rex Barney, Ellis Clary, Roger Maris, Ed Froelich, Marty Marion, Jim Brosnan, Gene Conley, and Kirby Higbe.
The players interviewed were All-Stars, Hall of Famers, and heroes to many, and their impact on the national pastime is still seen to this day. Baseball history comes alive through the stories shared in Whispers of the Gods, offering a fascinating account of the golden age of baseball.
Peter Golenbock has written more than sixty books, including ten New York Times best sellers. His best-selling books on baseball include Dynasty: The New York Yankees, 1949-1964;The Bronx Zoo (with Sparky Lyle); Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers; Balls (with Graig Nettles); Amazin’: The Miraculous History of New York’s Most Beloved Baseball Team; and Idiot: Beating “The Curse” and Enjoying the Game of Life (with Johnny Damon). He resides in St. Petersburg, FL.
Foreword, by John Thorn
Chapter 1: Jim Bouton
Chapter 2: Ed Froelich
Chapter 3: Marty Marion
Chapter 4: Rex Barney
Chapter 5: Stan Musial
Chapter 6: Tom Sturdivant
Chapter 7: Jim Brosnan
Chapter 8: Ted Williams
Chapter 9: Gene Conley
Chapter 10: Kirby Higbe
Chapter 11: Phil Rizzuto
Chapter 12: Ron Santo
Chapter 13: Ellis Clary
Chapter 14: Roy Campanella
Chapter 15: Roger Maris
Chapter 16: Monte Irvin
Chapter 17: Jim Bouton
About the Author
The so-called “golden age” of American baseball (1940s–60s) produced some of the greatest players of all time. It has seen the likes of the legendary Ted Williams, Roger Maris, Stan Musial, Ron Santo, and Roy Campanella. Sportswriter Golenbock’s book is an oral history of some of the most fascinating players of that era. These extraordinary interviews read casually but are by no means are casual—they are so much more. They tell a great account of what baseball was during this era and give readers an intimate look at the players’ personal and professional lives. Together, the interviews paint a vivid picture that is hard to recreate and is real a treasure to behold. Told from the players’ perspectives, this well-written history is outstanding from the first page to the last. It includes archival photographs of players like Babe Ruth and Marty Marion, which complement their colorful stories both on and off the mound. Anyone who has love for the game of baseball will enjoy this remarkable book. A must-read for all baseball fans, casuals and diehards alike.
Sportswriter Golenbock delivers a fascinating oral history of Major League Baseball in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, as witnessed by legendary players. Drawing on intimate interviews with stars such as Stan Musial—and others whom, like Roger Maris, spoke about their experiences for the first time—Golenbock pieces together an on-the-field look into historic developments that unfolded over those three decades. Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier in 1947 is related from the vantage point of former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Rex Barney, who speaks of the outrage the Black infielder faced by both teammates and opponents (“A lot of players on other teams wanted to strike”). The late Boston Red Sox player Ted Williams offers a maverick take on Shoeless Joe Jackson’s role in the Black Sox scandal, arguing that Jackson’s part in throwing the 1919 World Series wasn’t so simple, and that his achievements still warrant an inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Equally engrossing are the rags-to-riches tales of such players as late Hall of Famer Roy Campanella, who rose from his impoverished childhood to become “one of the greatest catchers in the history of the game.” Sports fans will be captivated.
Peter Golenbock’s nostalgic Whispers of the Gods swings for the fences, relating the real stories behind the legends of baseball’s golden age. A home run for baseball fans, this oral history tells the tales of greats like Ted Williams, Ron Santo, Roger Maris, and Stan “The Man” Musial, who remained enshrined in the pantheon of immortals long after the last out was called and the bleachers emptied out. These firsthand accounts bring to life dugouts and locker rooms, sharing the perspectives of some of the greatest to ever grace the ballfield. Dramatic historical photographs add to the book’s sentimental appeal, reviving an earlier era. Whispers of the Gods knocks it out of the park for anyone interested in compelling anecdotes from baseball’s Hall of Famers.
[Golenbock has] mined the tapes he made for a series of team histories and produced a marvelous book that would make a perfect Father’s Day gift for older dads who grew up with great stars like Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Marty Marion and Monte Irvin and lesser lights like Kirby Higbe and Rex Barney. In the book the players seem to be talking among themselves and they emerge as appealing human beings, not stereotypical jocks.
Peter Golenbock’s new book Whispers of the Gods compiles a wide assortment of these memories as dictated by the men who were there. Players remembering their time on the field during the tumultuous and triumphant stretch from the 1940s to the ‘60s — acknowledged by many to be the titular Golden Age of the sport.... Oral histories like “Whispers of the Gods” are engaging reads for those of us who seek to connect our fandom of the now with the deeds of the past. Baseball history is a long and tangled thread — sometimes frayed, sometimes knotted, but never broken. One can draw a line from the earliest days of professional baseball to today – something that can be said about relatively few institutions.
The master of the baseball oral history, Peter Golenbock meanders through the stories of Baby Boom fans’ on-field heartthrobs. Some, like Stan Musial, are generational giants, hobnobbing with Kennedys and kings. Others, like Tom Sturdivant, had a moment or two of glory, then were shot-and-beer types. Whispers of the Gods is for anyone who tried to get a far-away game through the audio haze of KMOX or WHO, for whom WAR and ERA-PLUS were never as important as who wagged his bat at the plate or gave away his pick-off move with a glove-tap on his thigh.
The heartfelt and honest remembrances of Phil Rizzuto’s years with the Yankees and Ron Santo’s years with the Cubs are more than worth the price of this book, Whispers of the Gods, by Peter Golenbock.
A truly wonderful book! Inside info, blasts from the past, great stories. A MUST read for even the most casual baseball fans.
Whispers of the Gods is another fine addition to a baseball historian’s shelf. That goes for the casual fan, too.
Think you know these players? Think again. Golenbock, mostly through the words of those being interviewed, reveals facets of their personalities, encounters behind the scenes, and character strengths and flaws that may not have been apparent on the field.
[O]ne of the beautiful things about Whispers of the Gods is that it is a collection of oral histories that can be digested in any form and does not rely on a continuous reading.... Overall, Whispers of the Gods is a good read and a great book for anyone interested in baseball history.
Peter Golenbock’s Whispers of the Gods is a jewel of a book, with insights from ballplayers of that era that can’t be found anywhere else. Fans of all ages will learn so much about baseball in the 1950s and ’60s. Hopefully, they will want to further explore “Baseball’s Golden Age.”
1/31/22, Sports Business Journal: Page Turners featured the book in a 2022 sports book roundup.
2/3/22, The J & Trey Podcast: Peter was interviewed about the book.
2/4/22, Matt Buff Show: Peter Golenbock talked about highlights from the book.
2/14/22, Edge of Sports Podcast: Peter Golenbock joined The Nation sports editor Dave Zirin to talk about the book.
3/23/22, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: The book is featured in a roundup of new baseball titles.
3/24/22, BLEAV Sports Network: Peter Golenbock discusses the book on the ML Sports Platter show.
4/7/22, Illinois Times: The author and the book were featured in this article about Spring baseball reading.
4/9/22, The Wall Street Journal: This book was featured in a roundup of new baseball titles.
4/26/22, Big Time Talker Podcast: Peter Golenbock discussed the book in this episode.
5/2/22, KSCJ Having Read That Podcast: Peter Golenbock talked about the book with Brian Vakulskas.
5/24/22, People’s World: This book was featured in a roundup of baseball titles.