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


Spring in his step, Verlander forces Game 7
Just-win Verlander: Astros loving newest ace
Astros go with Morton for decisive showdown
Dress for October: Get postseason gear
George Springer's catch robbed Todd Frazier of extra bases and possibly saved the Astros season
Happy home? Astros can join history with another win
History of Game 7: Everything you need to know
Yankees' offense stalls vs. crafty Verlander
Justin Verlander's pitch was so good, Todd Frazier thought it was a ball and struck out swinging
Roberts proving Dodgers found right man for job
Glory days here again for Dodgers
Yanks confident giving ball to CC in Game 7
McCann, Altuve awaken Astros' offense
Postseason sked: World Series times set
For Astros, all arms on deck for Game 7
DYK? Records fall in raucous ALCS Game 6
MLB.TV Postseason Package available now
ALCS Game 6: Hinch postgame interview
Take a walk down postseason memory lane
Judge breaks up shutout with massive homer
Postseason Picture: Track the bracket
World Series on FOX: Tune-in, start times set
A's help replace 9-year-old fan's memorabilia
ALCS Game 6: Verlander postgame interview
Missed chances in fateful seventh sink Yanks
Yankees-Astros ALCS Game 6: In Real Life
WATCH: 'Houston's Fortune' details Astros' rise
First pitch glides in for NBA great Drexler
Bar raised on North Side, Cubs begin '18 prep
Murphy has microfracture surgery on right knee
Baker won't return as Nationals manager
Memories of '88 return with LA in World Series
Photo: Vin Scully enjoys Dodgers' big win
Kahnle a postseason force for Yankees
Passion for hitting fuels Martinez's success
Blue Jays' Zeuch puts up more zeros in second AFL start
Hollywood & Vines: LA wins NLCS at Wrigley!
Dodgers latest top seed to reach World Series
Trio grand! Hernandez has 3-HR, 7-RBI clincher
Tigers, Gardenhire finalize 3-year deal
The Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully celebrate team's first pennant in nearly 30 years
Petricka undergoes surgery on right elbow
Cubs' Vosler comes up big with walk-off triple in AFL
Rox prepare prospects for Coors' challenges
Puig: "I want to be an owner of one bar'
Cubs proud of season as repeat quest ends
SF names Bell director of player personnel
Whoooo would show for Game 7? Ric Flair!
Cardinals' Knizner belts two homers in AFL
Inbox: How do Braves plan to navigate winter?
The B.O.A.R.D.: The Dodgers win the pennant
Brewers' Harrison homers twice, including slam, in AFL
Inbox: What will Cron's role be with Angels?
Turner, Taylor share NLCS MVP honors
Magic Johnson watched Enrique Hernandez's grand slam from Staples Center and had an amazing reaction
World cLAss! Epic NL title for Dodgers
A.J. Hinch 'feels horrible' for the Yankees and the fact a day off might affect their momentum
Dodgers 1st to earn home advantage for Series
WS berth one of Kershaw's 'best moments'
Cubs shouldn't hang their heads
DYK: Records toppled in NLCS Gm. 5 clincher
Despite NLCS loss, Cubs still set for future
After Enrique Hernandez hit his third home run, Yasiel Puig was scared to high-five him
Roberts, Dodgers seeing fruits of their labors
Game 5 broadcaster Ron Darling was the losing pitcher the last time the Dodgers won the pennant
LA pleased to beat 'incredibly talented' Cubs
Cubs salute Dodgers after falling in NLCS
Javier Baez fist-bumped Austin Barnes and looked super cool after striking out
Cora in mix for Sox manager, but no decision
Roberts encouraged by Seager's recovery
For 25th anniversary, 'Homer at the Bat' feted
Inbox: Will Cubs' Alzolay enter Top 100?


“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