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


Yankees stacked to hit HRs back-to-back
6 reasons Braves are this year's surprise team
Giants, lefty Watson agree on multiyear deal
Ohtani throws live BP, gets used to dry heat
Gleyber 'full go' in pursuit of Opening Day roster
Machado ponders future in Baltimore, at short
LIVE: Follow the Andre Dawson Classic
Santana pushing cars and now Franco
Sources: Rangers' deal with Oh called off
Be a GM with Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball
J-Up happy he re-upped with close-knit Angels
'18 Player Preview: Dominate your fantasy draft
Hinch: Cole only needs 'tweaks,' not overhaul
Trout, Altuve head list of Top 100 Right Now
Long road ahead: Wright hopeful, but realistic
'Big picture' on Pedroia's mind during rehab
Don't stress about your Opening Day closer
Mariners map out plan for fun-loving Felix
Davis reunites with Tribe on Minor League deal
Stanton, delivered: Big G arrives at Yanks camp
Headley picks up where he left off with Padres
Center getting lots of attention at Yanks camp
LeMahieu confident in self, approach to game
Estrada fine-tuning changeup delivery
Conforto a welcome sight in batter's box
Rangers want Bush to refine changeup
J.D. worth Red Sox taking another look
Best and worst comeback attempts of all time
Kimbrel open to entering in non-save situations
At Dawson Classic, pitcher follows father's path
Hamels finds inspiration in Bartolo's drive
Fan-friendly fantasy picks for all 15 NL teams
Twins stretch out Duffey to compete for rotation
Giants impressed by Lincecum's showcase
Ozuna on Fernandez: I 'keep him in my heart'
Gennett rewarded in arbitration case
Svelte Martes impressing with velocity, focus
Dodgers, Utley finalize reunion with 2-year pact
Fran-Sisqo Lindor? Tribe star rocks new 'do
Nats encouraged by Kelley's progress
Rizzo helps begin healing process in Florida
Hurdle: Frazier to see more time in LF in spring
Schoop plans to go all out for fans this spring
Villar looks to Votto's swing for inspiration
Phillies, Abad agree to Minor League deal
Hanley a disciple of -- who else? -- Tom Brady
Singer's gem highlights NCAA Opening Day
Former high school basketball star Austin Jackson drafts an all-MLB pickup team
Podcast: How far can Calhoun's bat carry him?
Luzardo out to help Stoneman Douglas
Manny Pina has adopted Salvador Perez's tradition of secretly recording Lorenzo Cain
Source: Cards set to sign Motte to Minors deal
Sharon Robinson inspires with father's legacy
Want to slow down Byron Buxton? Good luck
Marlins' Straily 'glad' Stanton, others are gone
Analytics convince Twins to bring in Anibal
Red Sox on Pedro's help: 'A great situation'
Sources: Mets ink lefty Vargas to 2-year deal
Yanks prospect Estrada OK after bullet wound
Hoffman imparts wisdom to Padres' relievers
Mozeliak: 'We were pretty active' this offseason
Dawson: Stanton has definite GOAT potential
Maddon lauds Rizzo for speech at prayer vigil
Seager healthy after rehab on elbow, back
Schwarber, Chili find plenty of common ground
Frazier has sights on starting job in Yanks' OF


“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