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


Murphy slam leads Nats to 7th straight win
Phils hit 3 straight homers, sweep Braves
Yu know it: Rangers rally to take 4 from Royals
Rox roll to first home sweep of Giants since '02
Benintendi gets 5 hits; scary pitch irks Machado
Starting in 4-run hole, Astros win in 10
Stroman settles in after quick-pitch hiccup
Week Ahead: Opening month winds down
Benintendi's 5 hits lead trip down rabbit hole
Bullpen of the Week: Houston Astros
NL West Coast power outage
Rivalries renewed: 10 things to watch this week
Dodgers, Giants resume rivalry on MLB.TV
Statcast of the Day: Scherzer's spin zone
MLB.TV: Watch every night on every device
Hunter Pence appeared on Bill Nye's new show because of course he did
See them now:'s Top 100 Prospects
A rabbit crashing a Minor League team's Bark in the Park Day almost caused a hare-y situation
Start your own season by purchasing R.B.I. Baseball
MLB News Quiz: Do you remember the week that was?
Joe Blogs: The art of being perfect
A giant flock of seagulls descended upon a fan in Oakland, threatened to carry her away forever
Dodgers' big inning, McCarthy gem sink D-backs
Indians taking shape as contenders in AL
Machado in middle of 8th-inning tiff
Boss-a Nova: Bucs win behind stellar ex-Yank
Darvish comes up Yu-ge with 8-inning outing
Reds reward Arroyo with big hits to rip Cubs
A grand opening for Nationals' Murphy
Catcher Chris Gimenez kept it 'slow, slow, and slower' in his fourth career pitching appearance
Motter's slam lifts Gallardo, Seattle over A's
Allard among top prospect performers Sunday
Marlins surge past Padres with 6-run 6th
Mets hope Cespedes available Tuesday
Big flies seal Stroman's complete-game win
Strasburg set to go on paternity leave
Pujols now at No. 1 on RBI list for Dominicans
Nova's first '17 walk to NYY pitcher -- in first AB
Benintendi singles self out in record books
Miller has forearm tightness; MRI scheduled
Back on track, Price to throw next bullpen
Pitching win then soccer intro for McCarthy


“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