The story of four men — Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige — whose improbable union on the Cleveland Indians in the late 1940s would shape the immediate postwar era of Major League Baseball and beyond.
Ably researched and entertainingly presented by Luke Epplin, OUR TEAM is a painstaking look at the difficulties in the lives of all these men --- Feller’s 'lost years,' Veeck’s leg amputation following his own military service, and Paige and Doby trying to make inroads in a sport that did not want 'their kind.' But as they worked together for a common goal, many of these differences were set aside.
The majority of the book builds up to the historic win, with discussion of Veeck’s dedication to jazzing up the baseball-viewing experience, Feller’s extracurricular mogul ambitions, Doby’s feelings of isolation as the only Black player on an otherwise white team, and Paige’s disappointment that his talent didn’t seem to be enough to overcome the racial stereotypes of the day and earn him a place in the majors during his prime ... Masterfully written and edge-of-your-seat good, Our Team is perfect for die-hard baseball fans and casual readers alike ... A simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming tale, Comeback Season gives the spotlight to these talented players whose contributions have long gone unsung.
Our Team's story (like Dewey Defeats Truman's) resonates far beyond ’48, and far beyond baseball ... Of course, this isn't quite the baseball integration origin story we all know and cherish. Jackie Robinson's arrival in 1947 as the first man in the 20th century to cross major league baseball's color line is often heralded as a harbinger of landmark triumphs to follow over the next 20 years as the modern civil rights movement hit its stride and dismantled the system of American apartheid commonly known as Jim Crow ... Those pivotal moments proved only the beginning of the end, on the baseball diamond as everywhere else. Every day he took the field, Robinson confronted the same racism and resistance that had kept his much longer-suffering Negro League forbears off it for decades ... Our Team gloriously chronicles the excruciating birth pains and exhilarating triumph of a ballclub that played an undervalued but coequal role in challenging major league baseball's institutionalized racism, and grabbed the brass ring almost immediately, taking the World Series crown in 1948, following the four-way pennant race of the century ... Our Team is arguably at its most compelling not in Epplin’s account of the ’48 pennant race but in setting up the backstories of its four protagonists, and describing the deflating aftermath of that thrilling season, in which 'the promise of 1948 was not kept.' Much more than the story of a season, Our Team is also much more than a baseball book