Markusen, Bruce (Stanley Rodriguez) 1965-
MARKUSEN, Bruce (Stanley Rodriguez) 1965-
PERSONAL: Born January 30, 1965, in Bronxville, NY; son of Stanley and Grace (Rodriguez) Markusen; married Sue Bartow (a pharmacy technician), May 20, 2000. Ethnicity: "Puerto Rican." Education: Hamilton College, B.A., 1987. Politics: Republican. Religion: Catholic.
CAREER: WIBX Radio, Utica, NY, sports director, 1987-95; National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY, senior researcher, 1995-99, manager of program presentations, 2000—. Author, internet writer, collector of baseball cards, volunteer at Bassett Hospital, Cooperstown, Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame, committee member, 1993-95.
MEMBER: Society for American Baseball Research.
AWARDS, HONORS: Seymour Medal, Society for Baseball Research (SABR), 1999, for Baseball's Last Dynasty; McFarland-SABR Research Award, 2002, for article "The First All-Black Lineup."
Baseball's Last Dynasty: Charlie Finley's Oakland A's, Masters Press-Contemporary Books (Indianapolis, IN), 1998, revised and expanded as A Baseball Dynasty: Charlie Finley's Swingin' A's St. Johann Press (Haworth, NJ), 2002.
Roberto Clemente: The Great One, Sport Publishing (Champaign, IL), 1998.
The Orlando Cepeda Story, Pinata Books (Houston, TX), 2001.
Author of introduction to Jonah Winter, Beisbol: pioneros y leyendas del beisbol Latino, Lee & Low (New York, NY), 2001. Contributor of articles on baseball history to major-league team publications, as well as Elysian Fields Quarterly, Baseball Digest, Albany Times Union, Sports Collectors Digest, Freeman's Journal, Vineline: Monthly Newspaper of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Cubs Quarterly, and Oldtyme Baseball News.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Fall Classics: The Ten Greatest World Series; Melting Pots and Pittsburgh Lumber, both baseball books, and a young-adult gothic horror novel, Haunted House of the Vampire.
SIDELIGHTS: Baseball fan Bruce Markusen is the author of several books about famous baseball players. His first book, Baseball's Last Dynasty: Charlie Finley's Oakland A's, is an award-winning account of a triumphant baseball team that appeared to be the beginning of a new trend in American baseball in the 1970s but turned out to be the last of its kind. In 1968 owner Charlie Finley moved his perpetually losing Athletics baseball team to Oakland, California, and through the addition of such future Baseball Hall-of-Famers as Reggie Jackson and "Catfish" Hunter, brought in five division crowns and three World Series between 1971 and 1975. Some fans were shocked at the shaggy appearance of the players and their disdain for the traditions of professional baseball, seeing the players' behavior as another symptom of the cultural upheavals of the time. In fact, according to Markusen's account, Finley's team "was built in the old baseball world of the reserve clause and was disbanded with the onset of free agency," as Booklist contributor Wes Lukowsky put it, a fact which made the Oakland A's of the early 1970s one of the last teams of its kind.
As a portrait of a baseball team, "Markusen has a colorful cast of characters and a wealth of engaging episodes to work with," observed Jules Tygiel in Nine. Finley served as his own general manager effectively, according to the author, but alienated his best players through his excessive frugality. And despite the large personalities sported by the A's star players, "Finley . . . dominates this book as he did the team," according to Tygiel. Yet, however well researched Markusen's portraits of individual teams members and managers, Baseball's Last Dynasty lacks something in placing the team in its proper historical context, some critics remarked. According to Tygiel, Markusen fails to place the team in the broader context of baseball or national history. "The book lacks . . . a historical or biographical thread that would turn this into a compelling narrative rather than five years of baseball statistics and a blizzard of detail," remarked a Publishers Weekly critic similarly. But, despite its flaws, "at his best, Markusen reminds us of how good the 1970s Athletics were," concluded Tygiel.
For his second book project, this Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame researcher presents a full-scale biography of Roberto Clemente, the first Latin American player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. In Roberto Clemente: The Great One, Markusen takes Clemente from his humble birth in Puerto Rico to a professional baseball career that began in the racially turbulent 1950s and ended abruptly in 1972 with the player's untimely death. A contributor to Publishers Weekly noted that, with the rise of Latin American players in the professional baseball leagues in the United States, Markusen has written the story of a "hero to so many modern-day heroes."
Markusen told CA: "As an avid fan of baseball and its history, the genre of horror, and modern-day film and television, I have a wide range of interests that I feel driven to write about and analyze. I am particularly interested in the culture of the 1960s and 1970s, perhaps because those were the years in which I was raised. The culture of that era, particularly how it is reflected in the sport of baseball, serves as a source of inspiration and motivation."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 1998, Wes Lukowsky, review of Baseball's Last Dynasty, p. 1586.
Library Journal, May 15, 1998, Morey Berger, review of Baseball's Last Dynasty, p. 92; December, 1998, William O. Scheeren, review of Roberto Clemente, p. 116.
Nine, fall, 2000, Jules Tygiel, review of Baseball's Last Dynasty, p. 103.
Publishers Weekly, May 25, 1998, review of Baseball's Last Dynasty, p. 77; November 2, 1998, "The Other Great One," p. 68.