Baseball Lifetime Memoir by Dave Baldwin, Snake Jazz
Dave Baldwin
Baseball Memoir by Dave Baldwin, Snake Jazz
About Snake Jazz, a major-league baseball memoir by Dave Baldwin
Introduction and excerpts of baseball memoir Snake Jazz by Dave Baldwin
About David Baldwin
Baseball Paradoxes
Dave's Numbers
Major-league baseball photo gallery
Contact Dave Baldwin


Approach the stands? Judge rules at Fenway
LA's Seager ties Gallo for longest HR of '17
Franco's slam helps Phils win 5th straight
Bucs' Ngoepe MLB's 1st African player
MLB.TV: Watch every night on every device
Tebow finding his groove at the plate
Patient power: Thames shows elite discipline
Statcast of the Day: Paxton looks like an ace
Flaherty uses head to help O's score 2 runs
Teheran, 5-run 1st help Braves thump Mets
Lupica: With Jeter, look out for No. 2
Nats' big bats bring heat to chilly Colorado
Play Beat the Streak for a shot at $5.6 million
Mariners place Felix, Haniger on 10-day DL
Rua's slam caps 8-run 8th in win over Twins
Harrison, Bell homer as Bucs edge Cubs
See them now:'s Top 100 Prospects
Soreness, weather lead to more rest for Pedroia
Start your own season by purchasing R.B.I. Baseball
Paxton blanks Tigers for 7 as Mariners roll
Joe Blogs: The return of Dallas
Brewers pound out 14 hits in sweep of Reds
Tale of the Tape: Robert vs. Moncada
Indians outpace Astros with clutch rallies
On wacky night, O's win in 11 on walk-off walk
A toast to Phil Coyne, the Pirates' 99-year-old usher celebrating his 81st year(!) on the job
Brantley's resurgence impressive by numbers
Francisco Lindor had some fun with his buddy Carlos Correa at second base
Gary Thorne narrated a fan trying to eat an always messy ice pop, then someone brought him one
Phils make it 5 in a row with win vs. Marlins
Hill's finger feels fine, but he needs more work
Trout thanks fans for MLB Award
Appeal dropped, Barnes' suspension begins
Leap Cog! Dive over C part of wild Jays W
Top 2-way talent adds intrigue to Draft class
Backed by bats, Quintana deals a sweep
Wednesday's Blue Jays-Cards game postponed
Miller to seek third opinion on ailing elbow
Go frame-by-frame with Coghlan's insane leap
Morse joins Giants as Span lands on DL
Thames exits with tight left hamstring
Gentleman Jim joins MLB Network
Ngoepe's development a Gift for MLB
Abreu exits with right hip flexor strain
Thames sets club record with 11th April HR
Girardi: Didi will return sometime next series
Dyson rejoins Rangers as return draws near
Frazier expects brief disabled list stint
Avila: Starting pitching, depth behind hot start
Report: Jeter, Jeb Bush close to buying Marlins
Maddon looking forward to Fenway return
Father of Carew's donor throws out first pitch
Statcast of the Day: Keuchel owns low zone
Altuve, Hernandez exit after outfield collision
Dodgers promote top prospect Bellinger
Bumgarner won't need surgery on shoulder
Judge's path to Majors began at Fenway
Bucs unveil 'Team of the Game' initiative
Morosi: M's shouldn't reverse course yet
Giants to miss Crawford for at least 2 days
Duffy can't let balk call 'slide' after tough start
Reddick pulls back homer, stunning Kipnis


“How does it feel?  When you read Snake Jazz, you feel privileged.  You feel at every step of the way that you're reading something real and good.  From the opening sentence to the summary of lifetime statistics at the end, it's a complete and very satisfying story of one baseball life.  How does it feel?  It feels real.”  —Judy Van Sickle Johnson’s Watching the Game

“Baldwin is even more proficient with words than he was with a baseball, and his book is a pleasure to read from start to finish…Widely published in scientific circles, he has turned his analytical eye and wry sense of humor on his own career. I only wish he had added another 100 pages to the 300 or so contained in this volume.”  —Gabriel Schechter’s Never Too Much Baseball

“Gently amusing without being iconoclastic, Snake Jazz is more like Brosnan’s The Long Season and Pennant Race than Bouton’s Ball Four…and miles above what active and former players are coming out with these days.”  —Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf

baseballWhat is Snake Jazz? - The baseball term, “snake jazz”, refers to those squiggly pitches (curve, slider, screwball, etc.) that deviate from a direct path on the way to the catcher.  This could also describe the strange and sometimes amusing twists in Dave Baldwin’s progress toward the big leagues.

Destroying His Elbow 

As a skinny, awkward kid in the 1940s, Dave learned to throw under the searing Arizona sun amidst cacti and snakes.  Despite that modest beginning, his father convinced him success would come with focused hard work, and he became one of the most highly sought-after pitching prospects in the nation.  Scouts and sportswriters said he was a “natural,” “another Bob Feller.”
This seemed true enough until one day during his sophomore year in college he threw a curveball that severely damaged his arm.  All that “natural” ability went out the window.

Struggling Back

The injury would have ended his career except he couldn’t see life continuing without baseball.  Thus, he started an eight year struggle that brought about his transformation into an unorthodox but successful major league pitcher.

Meanwhile, Dave’s baseball odyssey was eventful.

  • He found a roommate who sleepwalked swinging a bat, another who chewed Gillette double-edged razor blades, and still another who was working up to a stretch in prison. 
  • He survived a burning airplane, a death-defying bus trip, epicurean brushes with the criminal underworld, a kamikaze moth, and the bullet that ripped through a taxi window in Indianapolis. 
  • He dodged tornadoes, lightning, and baseball hobgoblins.
  • He got a good look at post-Fidel Havana.

But here’s the plus side.

  • He experienced the bonding effect of minor league pranks and comedy acts.
  • He enjoyed playing baseball askew in the metaphysical whirl of Steppenwolf and the hippie generation, and he learned the irresistible attraction of Janis Joplin and the dry spitball. 
  • But best of all, he played for five seasons in the Termite Palace in Hawai’i.

Tormenting Ted

The odd adventures didn’t end once Dave made it to the major leagues.

  • He was rewarded with a Niagara Falls vacation in mid-summer.
  • He spent a season busily tormenting Ted Williams.
  • He once found himself teaching the knuckleball to Seri Indians in a remote desert village in northern Mexico. 

A Pitcher’s Pictures

Many photographs illustrate Snake Jazz. 

  • A two-year-old Dave tries to get the hang of baseball.
  • Bob Feller gives Dave some pitching instructions.
  • The weird and now extinct Sulphur Dell ballpark in Nashville.
  • Two of Dave’s Topps baseball trading cards – one, his well-known Howdy Doody impersonation and the other, a disgustingly popular card with a smiling brontosaurus on the card’s backside.
Baseball Memoir by Dave Baldwin, Snake Jazz