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


Vroom when it happens: Hamilton's huge run
Sale's 10-K streak ends; Red Sox rally to win
#ASGWorthy Rizzo stays hot with 2 homers
Fast start, Berrios secure Twins' sweep of O's
MLB wins League of the Year Award
Colon highlights daytime slate on MLB.TV
Ellsbury lands on DL after catch, crash into wall
VOTE: Pick this summer's All-Stars
3 in a row: Trio of HRs caps Bucs' comeback
Pujols homers; now just 3 shy of No. 600 mark
Castrovince: 10 of MLB's biggest club strengths
Thursday's Royals-Yanks matchup postponed
Braves bond over Mario Kart during rain delay
Jose Berrios struck out Caleb Joseph with a curveball that was pure sorcery
Leake dominates as Cards even series
Statcast of the Day: Rare homers in Houston
See them now:'s Top 100 Prospects
Greene lit: 17-year-old throws 102, may go No. 1
Start your own season by purchasing R.B.I. Baseball
MLB.TV: Watch every night on every device
Joe Blogs: Gose stories
Severino pins down KC with 8 shutout frames
Try as he might, the Phanatic just couldn't win this young Phillies fan's approval
Rockies ride seven-run inning in rout of Phils
Tigers' bats come alive late to top Astros
Eduardo Rodriguez and the Red Sox got really into some pregame soccer at Fenway
Rendon, Nats jump out early, cruise vs. M's
Ausmus earns save for Tigers' bullpen
Denard Span hit the Giants' 19th consecutive solo homer and then told his mom he loved her
Lowrie's 4-hit day, Gray's 11 K's top Marlins
The Yuli Gurriel rally wigs are as outstanding as you thought they'd be
Renfroe's 440-ft HR caps Padres' comeback
Can you tell which baseball terms these emojis represent?
Matheny ponders moving Fowler in lineup
Goins' slam powers Blue Jays past Crew
No 10 K's, but to Sale, win more important
D-backs hold off White Sox to seal sweep
Price endures rocky outing in rehab start
Let's watch a montage of Jose Abreu's first 100 homers, plus No. 101 from Wednesday
Souza's big bat boosts Rays past Angels
Travis has two hits, one smile in MLB debut
Cubs planning 'Anchorman' tribute road trip
The Astros have a perfect 'Game of Thrones' bobblehead planned for Chris 'Dragon' Devenski


“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