Saturday, April 03, 2010

Non-Fiction: Kiss ’Em Goodbye and High Heat

For some fairly obvious reasons, I am not given free rein at January Magazine to indulge in my love for almost all things of a sporting nature. January’s editor has told me on several occasions and in no uncertain terms that the distance between a magazine about sport and one about books might not be intensely different if a lot of the right (or wrong?) kind of words were shed in that direction. As a result, I tend to hold myself back. However, I have recently come across two really superior sports-related books that I wanted to share with you. Since both of them cover a fair bit of ground, I got the all important nod and here I am.

I appreciate everything about Kiss ’Em Goodbye: An ESPN Treasury of Failed, Forgotten, and Departed Teams (Ballantine). I love the light and easy paperback format, the clear and breezy tone but I especially enjoy the material under discussion here: the real stories of the dozens of vanished teams that once graced and disgraced the big leagues of North America. This is history for the sports fan in an easy-to-take-along package. A major league contribution to sports history: it just does not get better than this.

High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time (Da Capo) is an entirely different type of bird.

Tim Wendell, one of baseball’s leading contemporary chroniclers, here dissects the fastball and those who would throw it. Wendell interviews players past and present, baseball historians, managers, scouts and other experts in his quest to demystify the illusive fastball, determine its scientific components and discover who the foremost fastball purveyors of all time might be.

High Heat is a fascinating book written with passion and aplomb by someone who clearly loves the sport nearly as much as he loves writing about it.


Post a Comment

<< Home