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1954

By Bill Madden

De Capo

290 pages, $25.99

By Budd Bailey

NEWS BOOK REVIEWER

Life is good when you get to talk to your childhood heroes … and earn money from those conversations. Bill Madden knows all about that. The veteran New York Daily News baseball columnist had considered for years writing a book about the mid-1950s, when the game was going through its first major upheavals in about a half-century. “1954” is a clear-eyed look back at that time. .

In Chicago, the Cubs debuted the first African-American double play combination in history. Shortstop Ernie Banks would go on to become one of the Cubs’ all-time greats. Second baseman Gene Baker later became the first black man to manage a team in organized baseball in the 20th century when he took over in Batavia in the middle of the 1961 season.

Budd Bailey is a veteran News Sports copy editor