On April 15, “The Freak Power Ticket” featured an interview with Dan Epstein, author of the lively cultural history, Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging ’70s (Thomas Dunne Books).The book explores how the clean-cut public image of our “National Pastime” was scrambled by the social and cultural forces of the “Me Generation” and the “Now Generation.”
Part One of this baseball special recounted stories of Mark “The Bird” Fidrych”; free-agency pioneer Curt Flood; pitcher Jim Bouton, whose book Ball Four introduced the “modern sport biography”; and “chemically-adventurous” players like Bill “Spaceman” Lee and Dock Ellis.
“The Freak Power Ticket”‘s second Big Hair and Plastic Grass special (Monday, May 6) picked up with:
• Reflections on the decade’s “one true dynasty,” the colorful “Swingin’ A’s” of Oakland, CA.• The impact of the Sexual Revolution on baseball figures in the public eye ‒ spouse-swapping Yankees, the Kekiches & Petersons: Mike & Marilyn & Fritz & Susanne ‒ and outside the lines ‒ gay player Glenn Burke.
• The story of the stormy and well-traveled manager Billy Martin, especially his days in the New York Yankees’ “Bronx Zoo.”
• Why baseball was a particularly rich environment for the “Free To Be… You and Me” attitudes of the decade.
• The idiosyncratic qualities of Baseball Fandom, and more.
Let it all hang out with an eclectic mix of music and other sounds from (and inspired by) the era, interwoven throughout Epstein’s conversation with producer/host Ted Coe.
“The Freak Power Ticket” airs on Mondays in the spring from 11am-12noon PDT.