DAN EPSTEIN has written for "Rolling Stone," "MOJO," "Los Angeles Times," "USA Today," "Time Out," produced shows for VH-1, and is the author of "20th Century Pop Culture. "He lives in Southern California and is the Managing Editor of shockhound.com, the music website affiliated with the Hot Topic retail chain. A Q&A with Dan Epstein courtesy of Scratchbomb.com, May 2010 As a kid, I was fascinated by 1970s baseball. The huge afros, the amazing facial hair, the retina-burning uniform designs--it...See more
DAN EPSTEIN has written for "Rolling Stone," "MOJO," "Los Angeles Times," "USA Today," "Time Out," produced shows for VH-1, and is the author of "20th Century Pop Culture. "He lives in Southern California and is the Managing Editor of shockhound.com, the music website affiliated with the Hot Topic retail chain. A Q&A with Dan Epstein courtesy of Scratchbomb.com, May 2010 As a kid, I was fascinated by 1970s baseball. The huge afros, the amazing facial hair, the retina-burning uniform designs--it seemed like such an insane, colorful era, particularly when compared to the heavily moussed 80s, where I spent most of my kid-dom. (Of course, there were some colorful characters then, too, but that's a tale for another time.) Whenever I had some disposable income (which was not often), I would spend it at a baseball card convention or store, usually on a large plastic box filled with completely worthless cards from 1977 or 1975, just so I could savor such sartorial majesties as Willie McCovey's sideburns. My elementary school library had these slim books on each major league team, all published in the mid-'70s, which I borrowed repeatedly. And whenever my grampa took me to Cooperstown, I'd seek out the unbelievable mini-exhibit on the technicolor uniforms from those years (sadly, no longer there). While there are some chronicles of players and teams from the 1970s ("T""he Machine" and "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning" are great, recent examples), there haven't been many (if any) retrospectives about the decade in total. When people speak of a Golden Age of Baseball, they usually save such mythologizing for the 1950s and its stainless, sepia-tone heroes. But now there is finally an evangelist for game as played in the Me Decade. Journalist Dan Epstein has penned a love letter to 1970s baseball entitled "Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride through Baseball and America in the Swinging 70s." ESPN's Rob Neyer has said of this tome, "What the 1960s were to America, the 1970s were to baseball, and Dan Epstein has finally given us the swinging book the '70s deserve." The book drops May 25 from Thomas Dunne Books, and there will be a big ol' release party at the Bell House in Brooklyn on May 26 (I for one am excited to try the Oscar Gamble hot dog that will be served there). Dan was generous enough to take some time out of his busy schedule and answer some questions via email about Astroturf, day-glo erseys, the best Topps card designs, and the worst promotions of all time. Read all about it after the jump. What compelled you to write this book? About ten years ago, I went in search of a good book on '70s baseball; I was born in 1966, so this was the era when I first fell in love with the sport, and I wanted to relive some of those memories, and maybe gain a greater understanding of the period. At the time, the only thing out there that came even close to what I was looking for was Phil Pepe's "Talkin' Baseball: An Oral History of Baseball in the 1970s"; but while that's a highly enjoyable read (and one I would recommend to anyone interested in the era) I didn't feel like it showed as much appreciation for the funkiness and uniqueness of the era as much as I would have liked--nor have any other of the decade-spanning '70s baseball books that have been published since then. I don't come from a sportswriting background--music and pop culture has been my beat for the past two decades--but I felt that, as a baseball fan, a student of pop culture, and a child of the '70s, I could write a love letter to '70s baseball that also truly celebrated the weirdness of the period. I have a theory that some of the excesses of 1970s baseball--huge afros, crazy... See less
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