• Our Team

  • The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series that Changed Baseball
  • By: Luke Epplin
  • Narrated by: Leon Nixon
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (100 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The riveting story of four men - Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige - whose improbable union on the Cleveland Indians in the late 1940s would shape the immediate postwar era of Major League Baseball and beyond.

In July 1947, not even three months after Jackie Robinson debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers, snapping the color line that had segregated Major League Baseball, Larry Doby would follow in his footsteps on the Cleveland Indians. Though Doby, as the second Black player in the majors, would struggle during his first summer in Cleveland, his subsequent turnaround in 1948 from benchwarmer to superstar sparked one of the wildest and most meaningful seasons in baseball history.

In intimate, absorbing detail, Luke Epplin's Our Team traces the story of the integration of the Cleveland Indians and their quest for a World Series title through four key participants: Bill Veeck, an eccentric and visionary owner adept at exploding fireworks on and off the field; Larry Doby, a soft-spoken, hard-hitting pioneer whose major-league breakthrough shattered stereotypes that so much of white America held about Black ballplayers; Bob Feller, a pitching prodigy from the Iowa cornfields who set the template for the athlete as businessman; and Satchel Paige, a legendary pitcher from the Negro Leagues whose belated entry into the majors whipped baseball fans across the country into a frenzy.

Together, as the backbone of a team that epitomized the postwar American spirit in all its hopes and contradictions, these four men would captivate the nation by storming to the World Series - all the while rewriting the rules of what was possible in sports.

A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books

"Epplin’s epic saga is simultaneously a riveting drama and a searing portrait of the racism that plagued baseball for decades. This sharp and well-documented history will be a hit with baseball lovers and general interest readers alike." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

©2021 Luke Epplin (P)2021 Macmillan Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Our Team

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Who will like this book?

Cleveland Indians fans for sure.
Fans of baseball history.
Those that want to know about baseball’s integration.
I really enjoyed it. It's well researched and well written.

4 people found this helpful

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Instant Classic

A must read for any baseball fan old and new. And frankly, a must read for anyone who bristles at African-American sports figures who kneel for the National Anthem. Today’s players probably don’t face near the injustice of a Larry Doby, but this book sheds crucial light on an historic racism in America that many whites still don’t understand. Blacks today get stopped for having a blinker out and wind up with their hands on the hoods if their cars while the car is searched. That’s why athletes today kneel. This book reminds us of how bad it was for black athletes then and why fans today need to know why there’s still an understandable chip on many black shoulders.

3 people found this helpful

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A Case Study in Racial History

I came of age two decades after 20th Century MLB was first integrated. And I remember Bill Veech only as the elderly yet still promotion-happy owner of a baseball team. This book focuses on four characters: the innovative Veech, American League racial pioneer Larry Doby, Iowa-born white farm boy-pitcher Bob Feller, and Negro League legend Satchel Paige. The book chronicles the lives of all four main characters and their intersection of those lives on the baseball field in 1948.

Kids today presumably still study history in school. That lesson may include a page or two about race relations. But books like this bring the struggles to the forefront. The reader sees the overt and sometimes subtle differences in how people are treated based on nothing more than the color of their skin. Larry Doby was lucky. Although he was the first black player in the modern (1901 onward) American League, he has a supportive owner and was signed as a young man, which gave him a long career in the prime of his athletic life. Nevertheless, he had to play to a different standard to win over his teammates and fans.

Paige had the same supportive owner. And he had a long history of being one of the greatest pitchers of all time, although white audiences saw him only during post-season barnstorming tours that often featured (white) teams of major league start versus "colored" teams of Negro League players. He didn't pitch in the major leagues until deep into his career - at an age at which all but a few players have left the game.

Feller plays in important role in the book. Clearly the most recognizable and accomplished player on the Cleveland roster during this time, he was the informal leader of the team. His comments about the performance of his black teammate reveal the rural background that produced him. And as baseball players were primarily from rural America in this era, his thoughts and comments reflect the general view of these representatives of a new race in the major leagues.

As for Veech, he had the same motive as the Brooklyn Dodgers' Branch Rickey for signing and developing black players: In a competitive game, if you don't put the best players on the field, you don't win. The Dodgers were winning before Jackie Robinson. For Veech, though, dipping into the pool of talented black players at a time when other American League owners didn't represented his best opportunity to turn a moribund franchise into a winner. And he did.

This book is great because we get to know these four men intimately - their life histories, their thoughts, their actions, and their passions. We see the same desire to succeed in each. We see the different obstacles that each faces, as well as the different definition of success that drove each man. Sadly, all are gone now. But their story, their achievements, their thoughts, and their amazing success during the brief time that all four overlapped on a single team, live on.

1 person found this helpful

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Needs a “baseball” narrator

I found the voice of the narrator made the story very hard to follow. There were way too many dramatic inflections given to words that are not so dramatic in the course of baseball story-telling. This made it hard to follow the storyline, given the statistical picture sometimes painted. I would much prefer hearing from a broadcaster or player…someone who lives and communicates baseball. I heard Luke Epplin himself speak, and he would have been excellent! I will buy the printed book and read it myself.

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My favorite book on sports ever

Luke Epplin wrote a book on more than just a baseball season, or baseball or sports. It's a brilliant weaving of the intersecting lives of four individuals whose experiences and personalities were both different and similar. Leon Nixon narrates with a heart and soul that expresses excitement, pathos and happiness in all in the right places.

1 person found this helpful

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If You Love Baseball...

This is the book for you. A terrific telling of the 1948 Cleveland Indians and the integration of the American League. Larry Doby and Bill Veeck made history together.

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Fantastic Book

Epplin does a fantastic job of presenting the world around this team, and the 4 main subjects of the story.

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Wonderful book and narrator!!

A very enjoyable (and educational) book about baseball in the 1940’s following some of the players and the owner of Cleveland’s team during a magical season. Interesting backstories of race, the war, segregation, and the culture of the time. Even if you’re not a fan of baseball this book is well worth the read. The narrator is fantastic. He brings out the best of the story and makes this recording a five-star production!

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Fantastic listen

Great book. Loved learning about the history of the time and the baseball portions were great also. Nice job of weaving the tales of the four main characters together. Highly recommend.

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Remarkable baseball book

I'm a longtime fan of the Cleveland Indians but this book took it to a new level with inside stories about the 48 team and how important it was for the indians, for baseball, and the nation as a whole. Cleveland paid a big part in integration that year and later in 1975 at the 1st African American manager as well. Bill vec is a legendary Figure in his own right as well. What an amazing book.