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Hit by Pitch: Ray Chapman, Carl Mays and the Fatal Fastball Paperback


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Hit by Pitch: Ray Chapman, Carl Mays and the Fatal Fastball + The Pitch That Killed + The Best They Could Be: How the Cleveland Indians became the Kings of Baseball, 1916-1920
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 195 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786446099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786446094
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,085,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Molly Lawless grew up in Boston, where she developed a passion for two things: drawing and baseball. After several years working as a freelance illustrator, she found a way to combine the two, publishing her baseball-themed comic art, including the series "Great Moments in Baseball." Molly now resides in Arlington, Virginia. Hit by Pitch is her first graphic novel.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
I can't say it any other way - I was moved by this book and loved reading it.
Chambolle
Intrigued I couldn’t pass up reading of the event in graphic novel style and I downloaded the book on my Kindle.
Richard C. Geschke
This graphic novel tells a compelling story and provides a great deal of information on baseball history.
Cory A. Sekine-Pettite

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason Rodriguez on July 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Molly Lawless' graphic novel about the only ballplayer to ever die during a baseball game is an incredible, well-researched, entertaining read. It documents the lives of Ray Chapman, the loveable ball player and socialite from the Cleveland Indians, and Carl Mays, the workhorse (and occasionally cold) pitcher from the New York Yankees, and how their paths intersected on August 16th, 1920, when Mays beaned Chapman, killing him.

The work really makes you feel for both players. Chapman was so well-liked in Cleveland when he died and whereas Mays was portrayed as a head-hunter and sociopath after the fatal fastball, the work makes an honest and heart-felt attempt to try and put him in a different light; someone with a hall-of-fame pitching career who was villainized by the media and his fellow players and had to deal with the repercussions for the rest of his life.

The story is told in a fun way, too, despite the heavy subject matter. Very in-the-moment, like a newsreel in graphic form that follows the players from their childhood through their deaths. A great story about how one pitch can change the course of history told on a very personal level.

And I LOVE Molly's portrayal of Babe Ruth. Worth it for that alone...

Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RoyHobbs on November 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with the other three 5 star ratings.
This is very well done. The graphics are beautiful and help with the story.
I'm a fan of the early/deadball era so this was a special treat for me.
I could not put this down either.

I hope there are additional stories coming as Ms. Lawless certainly has a talent for these graphic baseball stories.

I would order the next one sight unseen.

Maybe a story on Ed Delahanty - was he thrown off the train or did he fall off the tracks?
Or what about Davy Force? Was he the original Curt Flood?
And did Chick Stahl commit suicide or was it simply a case of not following instructions?

Nice work Molly, keep them coming.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert D Johnson Jr on May 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This isn't a baseball story, it's a Greek tragedy that just happens to play out in a ball park rather than a theater. The writing is accessible to non-baseball and non-literary readers, yet the baseball and literary geeks (I am both) will appreciate it even more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chambolle VINE VOICE on November 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
OK, I'll admit it... I'm a sucker for just about anything baseball, so you can take this review with a grain of salt because of that. But I could not put this book down before I got to the last word of the last frame.

I honestly did not realize when I put this on my iPad that it was going to be a graphic narrative; and that isn't a genre I've been much into since the long ago and far away days of Zap Comix number zero (and the better living through chemistry enhancements that went with it). But the drawings in this book were a great way to tell this compelling story. I knew the bare bones of the Carl Mays/Ray Chapman story - Chapman being the single major league player to be killed by a pitch. (Although we know, of course, of others who have been pretty seriously maimed along the way, including the tragic story of Tony C). This book puts flesh on the bones of Mays/Chapman story and tells it in an even-handed way, developing the character of the two main players from childhood, to the minor leagues, to the fateful day that a Mays fastball hit Chapman on the temple with a crack like a ball off a bat and ricocheted back to first base. It then follows Mays and Chapman's widow through the rest of their lives and chronicles the response of the public, the press and the baseball establishment to the tragic incident.

I can't say it any other way - I was moved by this book and loved reading it.

Just a few quibbles. In the kindle edition, there seemed to be some formatting glitches, at least as read on an iPad, which caused some of the text to 'bunch up' and become difficult to read. There also seemed to be some places where a proofreader could have avoided dropped or misspelled words.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sean Condon on September 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely first-rate book. It's very well-written, funny, poignant and moving in equal measure. The anecdotal asides that Ms Lawless includes are every bit as interesting as the main narrative and add further color, tone and depth to what is already a terrifically interesting story very well told. You don't have to be a fan of either graphic novels or baseball to enjoy this marvelous piece of work.
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