Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Hit by Pitch: Ray Chapman, Carl Mays and the Fatal Fastball
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon November 28, 2012
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. But heck, it all added to the early 20th century feel of the story; and of the handwritten printing and drawings that tell the story.

By the way, it ends with a reasonable bibliography, should you choose to read more about this incident and the world of baseball at the time.

Definitely a five star.
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on July 9, 2012
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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on November 8, 2012
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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on May 28, 2013
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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on November 4, 2015
First I must tell you that this book is actually a comic. But maybe you think comics are for kids, teens and some not-very-well-grown adults (ha!)... no sir!

There are comics for a certain market. Being a Swiss citizen I have got used to read European comics which lack completely of superheros unlike its American counterparts. If there are books about fiction and non-fiction, often there are comics about the same purport.

Well, I read "Hit by Pitch" and it's very compelling from its drawings and ballons. Sometimes it got very upsetting: the scenes depicting the sadness of the Chapman's buddies after his death. Tris Speaker, one of my favs, was shown there as a very dejected man who, somewhat, could manage a broken team to a sensational victory in the World Series. Tris might be the only winning manager in history that didn't show any joy manner after the triumph: "Tired, very tired" were his words after winning the fat prize. Stengel, Lasorda or Bochy never would uttered those words.

But I got very bad when I read about the untimely fate of the widow and daughter of the infortunated Ray Chapman.

Molly Lawless made a powerful comic book about this special baseball history. I would recommend it to everyone.

It would be an excellent companion to the landmark baseball book "The Pitch That Killed" by Mike Sowell. Indeed Ms Lawless cited it as a must read.
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VINE VOICEon December 29, 2013
First and foremost I am a longtime Indians fan and am well versed in what happened to Ben Chapman at the Polo Grounds in August of 1920. I also am familiar with one of the best written baseball books titled The Pitch That Killed by Mike Sowell. While browsing Amazon I noticed a graphic depiction released in 2012 about the only mortality in Major League baseball history. In fact Molly Lawless the creator of Hit by Pitch based her book on the background provided by Sowell’s book.
Intrigued I couldn’t pass up reading of the event in graphic novel style and I downloaded the book on my Kindle. I don’t regret doing it. The story is worth a replay in graphic form and Ms. Lawless introduced new material on Carl Mays that was not in Sowell’s book. As I went through this wonderful graphic book I have often wondered why this story was never told on the big screen? The story combines the likes of a Greek Tragedy with the human elements of life depicted of life in the baseball world of almost a century ago. It is a terrific and true story of not only of a tragic event but an incredible and fantastic baseball season. Well done!!
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on July 3, 2012
This graphic novel tells a compelling story and provides a great deal of information on baseball history. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. You don't have to be a baseball fan to enjoy Ms. Lawless' work, but if you are a fan of the game, this novel will provide an even deeper appreciation. And the author's illustrations are just terrific. They really bring you into the story and hold you there until the very end. This graphic novel may be the best thing I read all year.
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on July 28, 2016
This book is just wonderful! While not an in depth history of the Ray Chapman incident there is insight into both players' lives and how this might have happened. There also a great timeline of the day of the incident. The really wonderful surprise is that this is a graphic novel....with great artwork. The images of the players, while cartoon-like, are very accurate representations. I loved this book and I think you might as well!
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on June 21, 2014
I'm not a baseball fan, but that didn't prevent me from being engrossed in Molly Lawless's graphic novel "Hit By Pitch." Lawless renders in drawings and text the true, tragic story of two major league ball players: one a happy-go-lucky shortstop, the other a dour, awkward pitcher. A pitch thrown on August 16, 1920 left one of them dead, the other shattered.

Lawless's artwork captures the feel of early twentieth-century America and depicts the characters of old-time baseball (including Babe Ruth) as the larger-than-life personalities that they truly were. The narrative finds the humor in the midst of the tragedy, yet readers will find themselves mulling questions about guilt, redemption, myth-making, and the role of professional sports in American culture.

This book will appeal to baseball fans, American history buffs, comics readers, and anyone who likes to be absorbed by a good story. Highly recommended.
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on September 20, 2012
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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