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“Chili Dog MVP: Dick Allen, The 1972 White Sox and A Transforming Chicago” re-creates a unique time and place in baseball and Chicago history, when the arrival of a controversial slugger lifted the bedraggled Sox out of a daunting hole and briefly united a fractious fan base for the two hours-plus he played.

Lead author John Owens, along with Dr. David Fletcher and George Castle, weave an entertaining narrative of Allen, his teammates and broadcaster Harry Caray bringing pride to a franchise that had one foot out of town to Milwaukee just 2 1/2 years previously and equal status in profile with the dominant Chicago Cubs.

The best baseball books endeavor to re-create the time, place and “feel” of a team and the people around it. “Chili Dog MVP” follows in that tradition to recall a more innocent time in baseball intertwining with the hard truths of a hyper-political city like Chicago. In both baseball and life, for which the game is often a metaphor, past is prologue.

Edited by baseball writer par excellence, George Castle. George has written 21 books, and is a historian for the Chicago Baseball Museum.