Mazel tov to Michael Leahy, winner of the 2016 CASEY Award presented by Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine, as the best baseball book of the year for The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is certainly one of my all-time favorites; if I ever get a chance to redo 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die, it will certainly be included.
From the Spitball site:
Michael Leahy is the winner of the 2016 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year for The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers (published by HarperCollins Publishers). In garnering two first-place votes and a third-place vote (for a five point total), Leahy handily outdistanced the formidable competition. Spitball Editor Mike Shannon said, “Mr. Leahy gives us such a transformative view of a famous team and the struggles its key players endured that it’s like encountering them for the first time. Even San Francisco Giants fans will experience new appreciation for these admirable Dodgers. The Judges clearly recognized the achievement represented by the book.” As Judge Zach Sanzone said, “The Last Innocents succeeds in mixing history with an examination of important social attitudes that are as relevant today as they were in the 1960s. All the Finalists’ books demonstrated excellent insight into the world of baseball, but the level of scholarship, writing, and depth found in Michael Leahy’s book made it stand out above the others.”
The Arm by Jeff Passan finished second (nine points), while The Selling of the Babe by Glenn Stout finished third (11 points).
Leahy will receive his award at the 34th annual CASEY Awards Banquet on Sunday, March 12, at Crosley’s Sports Bar & Eatery (4901 Vine Street, Cincinnati) in the St. Bernard Square shopping center. Attendance is open to the public; tickets will be available at the door for $10 per person. Admittance includes a one-year subscription to Spitball.
I had the pleasure meeting Leahy at an author event at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in Manhattan last fall. He was also a scintillating guest for a Bookshelf conversation which you can listen to here and here. Finally, here’s the review I wrote for Bookreporter.com.