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The Golden Game

The Story of California Baseball

Kevin Nelson

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: Bison Books
Published: 07/2015
Pages: 464
Subject: Sports and Recreation
eBook ISBN: 9780803284234


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.


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