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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For lovers of the game
The things I love the best in the ball game are its histories and the way a whole season may change in a eye blink. In this book, I found each of them: it's the history of the unbelievable 1986 baseball post-season, and the way a single pitch could change a whole season and, why not, a whole lifetime. Not only the Billy Buck ball, but also the Donnie Moore tragedy,...
Published on October 25, 1999 by Fabio Paoleri

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book, but there are better
The 1986 playoffs were some of the best games that baseball has seen. Authour Mike Sowell has tried to capture the excitement and suspense of those playoffs in "One Pitch Away"
While not a bad book, one can't help leaving this book feeling that much more could have been done with it. The problem I have with the book is that 2/3 of it is spent interviewing...
Published on December 10, 2000 by Fan.ca


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book, but there are better, December 10, 2000
By 
The 1986 playoffs were some of the best games that baseball has seen. Authour Mike Sowell has tried to capture the excitement and suspense of those playoffs in "One Pitch Away"
While not a bad book, one can't help leaving this book feeling that much more could have been done with it. The problem I have with the book is that 2/3 of it is spent interviewing the players of those playoffs. I didn't really care about hearing about Doug DeCinces and his investment company. Sowell probably could have gone into greater detail about the whole season and the effect the 86 playoffs had on baseball.
Not a bad book, but there are better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For lovers of the game, October 25, 1999
By 
The things I love the best in the ball game are its histories and the way a whole season may change in a eye blink. In this book, I found each of them: it's the history of the unbelievable 1986 baseball post-season, and the way a single pitch could change a whole season and, why not, a whole lifetime. Not only the Billy Buck ball, but also the Donnie Moore tragedy, the Red Sox curse, the Angels and the Astros: an unbelievable amount of puzzle pieces all in their place for the final picture. If you love the ball game, you'll love this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a dream read for fans who go beyond the game..., December 30, 2009
By 
What baseball fan who lived through the 80s could forget 1986? It's not a short-sighted statement to conclude that '86 featured the greatest post-season ever for the sport. I'm sure some longtimers would wag their finger at me, and we've had a handful of good series the last 15 years or so. But look at the 2000s as they close out: it's gone sweep, sweep, 4-1, sweep, 4-2, and 4-2 the last six years. After being spoiled in 2001 and '02 with 7 game WS, there's been a severe lack of drama (save for a couple of one-game playoff games, ha!). 1986, was another story completely.

This is back when the postseason only featured three series (ALCS, NLCS, WS), and even with that limited schedule, EACH series managed to create its own pychological exhaustion. Houston battled for a 1-0 Game 1 win, there was the Dystra last-gasp homer in game 3, with the two teams depleting themselves in 12-inning and 16-inning back-to-back(!) games, respectively, to finish it.

Boston and California bookended their LCS with a bunch of blowouts, but their two middle games were insanity. The Angels waking up late in game 4, and (of course) Boston's breathless win of game 5. And just to show how powerful that post-season was, the WS really only contained one heart-stopping game. But what a monumental impression it has still left (ohhh, Billy Bucks).

Sowell covers all this capably, but does jump around a bit in terms of his storytelling. It seems the set-up is coming for a particular game, only to have Sowell rewind back to the player's origins. How much you care about each player covered *outside* of that playoff year will make or break that section of the read for you.

But Sowell more than compensates with player thoughts and the impacting effects of their participation in said games. Someone on Amazon whined about Sowell even going beyond '86 to track the player's lives since then. Are you nuts? What a dynamic it adds to the residual trauma of not only fan and city reaction, but by the player's front offices. The mistreatment is really something to behold.

Though Sowell manages to snare many of the key names involved, there was a bit of disappointment at the lack of others. Where are the managers in all of this? Most notably Mauch and McNamara, who never ended up living their decisions down. Davey Johnson would be unscathed because the Mets were the last team standing at the end, but his insight would've been a boon as well. As far as players go, Bobby Grich, Gary Lucas, Jesse Orosco, Keith Hernandez, and Nolan Ryan were unfortunate omissions.

As a whole, the book is still a great entertainment, flowingly put together by Sowell, with very little to dissatisfy the hardcore fans of '86. Ironically titled as well (although, One *Strike* Away would've been more apt), seeing how uncannily close to a final pitch so many of these games were to giving the other side glory.
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4.0 out of 5 stars well told stories from the amazing 1986 NLCS, ALCS, and WS, April 25, 1998
By 
As a young baseball fan, my memories of the 1986 postseason are fairly vague. This book makes me understand why so many say that the 1986 playoffs were so amazing.

The book begins with recounts of the bad luck of Angel manager Gene Mauch who had already experienced 3 near misses with The Series. Here, we have the 1986 ALCS, with Mauch's California Angels being "one pitch away" from the World Series before losing Game 5 in 11 innings to the Red Sox, and then losing games 6 and 7 10-4 and 8-

1 respectively.

Then the book moves onto the NLCS, telling the story of the Met's preocupation with the split-finger fastball of Mike Scott, who beat them in games 1 and 4, and who they believed to be illegally scuffing the ball. The Met's won the marathon game 6 in 16 innings, 7-6, preventing them from having to face Scott in Game 7.

Finally, the story of the World Series, with The Red Sox being a pitch away in Game 6 before the Mets tied the game. Then the unfortunate error by Bill Buckner, which allowed the Mets to win in the bottom of the 9th, and go on to win Game 7 8-5.

After the stories of the Games, it moves on to in depth looks at the players from the 3 postseason series : their memories from the games and what happened to them after 1986.

For me, as an Astros fan, this book really brought to life how close a team can come to victory only to have it slip away. It happened to every team in 1986; only the victorious Mets avoided the heartbreak.

As Sowell says in his closing, there are so many ways baseball can break a fans heart. But when a team reaches the top, nothing is greater.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, informative piece on 1986 Post Season, March 23, 1998
By 
Librarian (Berlin, (b)east germ money) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book consists of two parts:
The first one is about the American League Championship Series (centered around the Angels and their manager Gene Mauch), the National League Championship Series (centered around the Mets' fear of Houston's splitfinger-fastballing pitcher Mike Scott and their cheating allegations against him), and the World Series (centered around Boston's First Baseman Bill Buckner).
The second part includes chapters on Donnie Moore, Mike Witt, Doug DeCinces, Bob Knepper, Billy Hatcher, Mike Scott, Gary Carter, Ray Knight, Mookie Wilson, Bill Buckner, Dave Stapleton, Calvin Schiraldi, Bob Stanley, and Dave Henderson and the pivotal roles they played during the 1986 Post Season. (Unfortunately, it seems the author wasn't able to get Roger Clemens for an interview.)
In addittion to this the book has 22 black-and-white photographs (some of them are team's promo-portrait-pictures, some are game-photos, and some are recent shots of the players today) and a really good index.
The overall-tone of the book seemed a little too neutral and reserved to me, but on the other hand everything was told in a very exact way. The player-interviews which were worked into the text seamlessly by the author definitely liven the book up.
I liked this book because it had a lot of new information for me. Mike Sowell offers a view of both sides of the games. But at first I was a little bit disappointed because in spite of the exact title of the book I had hoped it would be more about the Red Sox - my favorite team! It wasn't written especially for fans of one of the four teams involved - so be prepared!
All in all I'd say "One Pitch Away" is an informative (even if it's more of a general work) book on one of baseball's post seasons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great book!, June 1, 1999
By A Customer
I loved this book. Even though I'm only 12 and was only a month old during the 1986 playoffs, this book made it seem like I was there watching every single game. It's one of the best books I've read in my short life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars in depth players' accounts of the 1986 postseason, July 18, 2000
By A Customer
Without even being a huge baseball fan I was intrigued by this well told story of the 1986 League Championships and World Series. The history of the games was very dramatic and well written. It also gave very in depth and personal accounts from the players of those series and the impact they had on their lives. It told of the heartbreak and happiness that one postseason could inflict on so many people.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Stories, January 23, 2013
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For anybody who loves baseball this is an excellent book. Full of inside information and great stories. I highly recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, August 17, 2011
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Good book in good condition. This author wrote several outstanding baseball books. I haven't yet read "The Pitch that Killed" but I'm sure that is good too.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, informative and nostaglic all at the same time, February 24, 2009
By 
Great book!! Brought back a lot of childhood memories of watching baseball with my grandparents. This book provided a lot of insight from the players and fans perspectives. Amazing how many series and games that post-season were determined literally by one pitch.
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