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


White Sox stun Yankees on 2-out walk-off
Scherzer dominates on mound and at plate
Go, Adrian! Beltre blast in 9th topples Tribe
Joc, Kenta KO Halos, knot Freeway Series
Votto making final #ASGWorthy push
Springer wows, but A's make grand splash
Miggy's blast rallies Tigers after KC's big 1st
Contending clubs could execute early trades
Early offense all O's need in win vs. Blue Jays
Ichi-pro! Vet's pinch-hit finds hole, sinks Mets
Lupica: 4 of a kind -- ace club exclusive
Springer dazzles with sick four-star catch
2017 Draft: Signing and Bonus Tracker
ALL-STAR VOTE: Time running out
Quintana rebounding -- now it's Rodon's turn
Decisions loom as All-Star voting nears end
See them now:'s Top 100 Prospects
Mahtook's amazing catch robs KC's Perez
Start your own season by purchasing R.B.I. Baseball
Storms hit Fenway Park on Tuesday and produced some amazing skies
Joe Blogs: Talking homers and whiffs
Puig's one-game suspension rescinded
Dominant Cobb carries no-no into 7th
Nats run past Cubs: 4 SB's served on Trea
This Japanese league closer rode in from the bullpen atop a sweet sports car
Big chill: The Freeze blazes path to stardom
Hwang headed to Majors to join Giants
Four home runs lift Reds to win over Brewers
Ross sparkles in bounceback, stymies Tribe
Jays' Sanchez makes rehab start, could return soon
Back in 3 hole, Cutch comes through in clutch
Cramp forces LeMahieu to leave game early
Rays blow lead to Bucs in 9th, win it in 10th
Altuve goes from rejection to perennial All-Star
Pride Night a big hit at Chase Field
Allen's one pitch overshadows Clevinger's gem
Giants top Draft pick Ramos eager to advance
A little Reds fan somehow made a foul ball catch among a sea of adults
Giants likely to be in unfamiliar role as sellers
MLB's fastest baserunners by position
3 potential Yanks-Mets trades that make sense
Rays sign two-way standout McKay
Butera impressed by softball pitcher's riser
Adam Jones broke his necklace on a swing and caused a mini-delay
Archer, others encourage kids in RBI program
Source: Cards agree to deal with Hurst
Gsellman pulls up lame, strains hamstring
Seager (hamstring) moves well in agility tests
Called up with Starlin on DL, Wade debuts
Source: D-backs reach deal with Ellis
Stanton looking forward to fun of Miami Derby
Urias undergoes season-ending surgery
Watch a very well-behaved Golden Retriever bring some MiLB umpires fresh bottles of water
Braun, Villar activated from disabled list
Bochy: Pregame stretch report 'a non-story'
Colon will get opportunity to prove himself
Smyly suffers setback, sim game scratched
Hendricks throwing, targets post-break return
DL stint for Finnegan may be 'inevitable'
Dodgers surge to top spot in Power Rankings
V-Mart eyeing return tonight against Royals
Source: Nats, K-Rod agree on Minors deal
Cashner set to rejoin Rangers, start series finale
Hechavarria drives in 2, flashes mitt in debut
Blue Jays designate Grilli, activate Carrera
Top HS Draft prospects in action at Tournament of Stars
Indians place Jackson on DL with quad strain
MLB.TV: Watch every night on every device
Sprint Speed metric now tracks baserunners
Managers Postgame: Girardi on Castro's injury


“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