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In Peter Schilling's The End of Baseball, a team that "almost was" becomes real, and the extraordinary season of 1944 comes vividly to life.

Bill Veeck, the maverick promoter, returned from Guadalcanal with a leg missing and $500 to his name, has hustled his way into buying the Philadelphia Athletics. Hungry for a pennant, young Veeck jettisons the team's white players and secretly recruits the legendary stars of the Negro Leagues, fielding a club that will go down in baseball annals as one of the greatest to play the game.

Here are the behind-the-scenes adventures that bring this dream to reality, and a cast of characters only history's pen could create: the powerful columnist Walter Winchell, who saves the club by whispering in President Roosevelt's ear; the steely commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, hell-bent on preserving the sport as he knows it; J. Edgar Hoover, who sees in Veeck's experiment the sowing of communism in the nation's pastime; the sportswriters and the people of Philadelphia who come to love this team; and, of course, the players themselves—the tragic Josh Gibson, the remarkable but self-centered Satchel Paige, the Cuban wonder Martín Dihigo, the veteran stalwarts Cool Papa Bell, Willie Wells, and Buck Leonard, and the rising stars Roy Campanella, Monte Irvin, Artie Wilson, and Dave Barnhill, whose conscience almost ruins the team.

The End of Baseball is the most rollicking, free-spirited baseball story in years, the unvarnished truth of that incredible season and the men who lived it.

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