They Bled Blue: Fernandomania, Strike-Season Mayhem, and the Weirdest Championship Baseball Had Ever Seen: The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers

They Bled Blue: Fernandomania, Strike-Season Mayhem, and the Weirdest Championship Baseball Had Ever Seen: The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers

by Jason Turbow


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The wildly entertaining narrative of the outrageous 1981 Dodgers from the award-winning author of Dynastic, Fantastic, Bombastic and The Baseball Codes

In the Halberstam tradition of capturing a season through its unforgettable figures, They Bled Blue is a sprawling, mad tale of excess and exuberance, the likes of which could only have occurred in that place, at that time.

That it culminated in an unlikely World Series win—during a campaign split by the longest player strike in baseball history—is not even the most interesting thing about this team. The Dodgers were led by the garrulous Tommy Lasorda—part manager, part cheerleader—who unyieldingly proclaimed devotion to the franchise through monologues about bleeding Dodger blue and worshiping the “Big Dodger in the Sky,” and whose office hosted a regular stream of Hollywood celebrities. Steve Garvey, the All-American, All-Star first baseman, had anchored the most durable infield in major league history, and, along with Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Ron Cey, was glaringly aware that 1981 would represent the end of their run together. The season’s real story, however, was one that nobody expected at the outset: a chubby lefthander nearly straight out of Mexico, twenty years old with a wild delivery and a screwball as his flippin’ out pitch. The Dodgers had been trying for decades to find a Hispanic star to activate the local Mexican population; Fernando Valenzuela was the first to succeed, and it didn’t take long for Fernandomania to sweep far beyond the boundaries of Chavez Ravine.

They Bled Blue is the rollicking yarn of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ crazy 1981 season. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328715531
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 76,212
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

JASON TURBOW is the author of Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic, The Baseball Codes, and the audio book Baseball Forever!, narrated by Bob Costas. He’s written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, and Wired, among many publications.

Table of Contents

Prologue ix

1 The Manager 1

2 Snatched 18

3 Eighty-One 34

4 Mania 51

5 Buried 71

6 Struck 86

7 LA-LA 121

8 Second Act 138

9 Houston-Ho! 175

10 Tundra 196

11 Doodle Dandy 232

12 Aftermath 308

Conclusion 318

Acknowledgments 332

Notes 337

Index 358

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