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


Stanton puts emphatic end to homerless drought
Springer's Little League HR caps 5-run frame
Athletic Suzuki makes diving tag at home
Buehler? Dodgers need a replacement for Hill
Suspension over, Arenado homers in 1st AB
Machado connects off Bauer for 6th homer
Lourdes' first big league hit is a two-run single
Albies homers off Thor's 99.6-mph fastball
LoMo hits 1st Twins HR in return to The Trop
Mancini exits after knee crashes into wall
Thome has plenty to say about Hoskins' swing
Dodgers organist Dieter Ruehle played 'Wake Me Up' in memory of Avicii, who died at age 28
Yadi becomes RBI leader at Busch Stadium III
Odubel Herrera faked a swing not once, but twice before taking a pitch
Mets have yet to decide on struggling Harvey
Boston righty Wright exits rehab start with stiff back
Myers back and healthy after 'freak thing'
These 11 additions are making huge impacts
Royals rookie Hill thriving after beating cancer
Play Beat the Streak for a chance at $5.6 million
Tigers walk off in 10th on JaCoby's 1st homer
Callup O'Neill soaking in big league experience
The Texas A&M baseball team had way too much fun during a postgame interview
Giants place Pence on DL with sprained thumb
Sanchez on passed balls: 'I'm not perfect'
D-backs help launch food pantry at local school
Buck on Betts: 'Best right fielder I've ever seen'
These 10 prospects will make an impact soon
Yuli might not be the best Gurriel we'll see in '18
A's add Bassitt, Lucas; option Coulombe
10 amazing facts from Red Sox's historic start
Salazar among Indians making rehab progress
Here are 7 future managerial candidates
Moose homers as hit streak reaches 11 games
Aggressive Wisler earns another start
Cubs place Butler on DL, recall Farrell
Aguilar's hot bat puts Braun at 1B on hold
Riggleman thankful for managerial opportunity
Pollock, Owings get day off following collision
Miller activated from disabled list, Snyder DFA'd
Reds players express gratitude for Price's role
Weather has been Twins' biggest hurdle
Schebler's return gives Reds a power bat
Marlins lose reliever Despaigne to DL
Hurdle has faith in Cervelli's use of mound visits
Should the Yankees trade Dellin Betances?
Time for these division favorites to wake up
Recall the time Dave Parker wore a goalie mask
Mariners activate slugging catcher Zunino
MLB legends comprise exclusive 3,000-hit club
Profar returns, Andrus rejoins club while on DL
Orioles add prospect Scott to bullpen
Torres joins bullpen as Cole exposed to waivers
Perez, Gordon close to returning to Royals
This is the most entertaining pitcher-hitter rivalry
Blue Jays activate Morales ... and keep Teoscar
Injury updates: Owings, Ohtani, Bumgarner


“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