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


Moncada, Rosario lead midseason Top 100 Prospects
Salvy, Moose HRs push KC's streak to six
Two more HRs from Stanton lift Marlins in Texas
Santana homers twice as Tribe rolls vs. Reds
Sources: Rangers leaning toward keeping Yu
Roberts won't give timetable for Kershaw
Royals deal for SD's Cahill, Maurer, Buchter
Sox ride Gonzalez, HRs to down Chi-Town rivals
MLB Buzz: Trade talk, deals and rumors
Leake, Cards' bullpen stifle Rox in opener
McCutchen playing like an MVP again
O's shut out slumping Rays in series opener
Devers thrilled to join Red Sox, eager to learn
Twins wrap deal with Braves for Garcia
Martin, Carrera, Goins power Jays over A's
CBA compensation FAQ: Deadline edition
Deadline countdown: 20 names, 20 predictions
See them now:'s Top 100 Prospects
Manny Machado showed off some insane range and soft hands to start a great double play
Players at EDI get expert instruction
Garcia deal brings Twins closer to postseason
Springer exits with left quad discomfort
TB's Ramos struck with broken bat, exits game
Rumor has it: Trade targets on Deadline frenzy
Watch out, LA and DC: The Cubs are surging
Watch Blake Wood strike out Michael Brantley with a gorgeous, knuckling splitter
Mariners set to enter trade mix for Gray?
Bour exits with right oblique strain
Another Phillies fan made an excellent one-handed catch on a foul ball to the stands
Keuchel, McHugh likely to start this weekend
Davis out for Orioles with stomach bug
Beede joins ranks of injured Giants prospects
Aybar may miss rest of season with broken foot
Liriano: 'I concentrate on what I can control'
Ichiro discusses Beltre's march to history
Pirates open to possible trade for outfielder
Alcides Escobar made a smooth play on a grounder and got some props from Omar Vizquel
LA adds Parades, Ravin, options Thompson
Blair likely for first turn in open rotation spot
Ian Desmond bought his teammates Rockies-themed shirts that were once sported by Tupac
Piscotty not yet ready to come off DL
Mariners sign Espinosa, option Motter
Blister forces Rangers' Ross to DL
Cutch is Bucs' shining star once again
Wheeler to DL with stress reaction in right arm
Swarzak notches long-awaited 1st career save
Padres get Strahm, Wood, prospect from KC
Braves acquire Huascar Ynoa in Garcia trade
At Deadline, Blue Jays looking ahead to 2018
Crew in Deadline mix, but won't 'overcorrect'
MiLB's new initiative: 'Es Divertido Ser Un Fan'
The best trade fits for Yu Darvish
Managers Postgame: Yost on streaking Royals


“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