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Pure Baseball Paperback – January 19, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (January 19, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060925914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060925918
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Gold Glove winner Hernandez talks baseball. A 40,000-copy first printing.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An MVP of a guide to the national pastime from a savvy 17-year veteran of the major leagues who remains an ardent fan in retirement. Hernandez (If At First, 1986) or his muse came up with an angle that works to near perfection: tellingly detailed start-to- finish accounts of two games played midway through the 1993 baseball season. The former Met first followed a close encounter between Philadelphia and Atlanta from the stands in the City of Brotherly Love. One week later, he turned couch potato to take in the telecast of a Yankee Stadium contest pitting New York against Detroit. As it happened, the Phillies and Bronx Bombers both won; the final scores, however, are almost beside the points Hernandez wants to and does make. Drawing on pitch-by-pitch recaps and experience gained during a long career, the author (a slick fielder and slugger in his day) offers an insider's astute observations on the mini-matchups and workaday stratagems that cumulatively can determine outcomes or, if need be, give attentive onlookers something to watch for in the late innings of a laugher. Focusing on the primal battle of wills between pitcher and batter, for example, he digresses into ad-rem commentary on the importance of the ball/strike count, defensive placements, base-running tactics, hit-and-run opportunities, the role of the cutoff man, distinctions between American and National League umpires, how managers handle their bullpens, pickoff plays, and a host of allied topics. In particular, Hernandez prizes baseball's lack of secret moves and/or trick plays. ``It's cat-and-mouse out there...not hide-and-seek,'' he says. ``Chess, not poker.'' If his all-star handbook can't make casual fans masters of the game, it could at least enhance their credibility as second-guessers in season and out. (First printing of 40,000) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Be aware that this book was very technical.
Amazon Customer
Based on two games played in 1993, one in the American League and one in the National, Pure Baseball is a pitch-by-pitch analysis that scrutinizes every decision made.
B. Berkowick
As a longtime baseball fan an avid softball/baseball player, I can't think of a sports book I enjoyed more.
M. H. Bayliss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B. Berkowick on June 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
I never knew how much I was missing during a game. Even with twenty years of baseball experience, I learned much about the game after reading Pure Baseball.
Based on two games played in 1993, one in the American League and one in the National, Pure Baseball is a pitch-by-pitch analysis that scrutinizes every decision made. This is not just a replay of two games; it's a text on just about every offensive and defensive strategy in baseball. Known for his insight on and off the field, Keith Hernandez's knowledge of the game flows from the pages.
What modern day baseball writer (other than, perhaps, George Will) would devote several pages to the importance of hitting the cutoff man? The consequences of not executing the proper defense on a long double are detailed. Many baseball commentators claim that the "little things" win baseball games. Positioning the infield and outfield, holding runners on first and pickoff moves are more important than one might think. Mr. Hernandez's attention to the arcane details of the game is what really drives this book.
The most interesting part of Pure Baseball is the explanation of the hit-and-run. The hit-and-run is probably the least understood concept in baseball. Mr. Hernandez believes that "the in's and out's of the hit-and-run go to the heart of baseball strategy, and you have to understand them to understand the game." The author got my attention with this sentence. No fewer than nine pages are devoted to this subject, and I would have liked to see more. Since I now understand the strategy behind the hit-and-run, it's easier to match wits with the manager when the leadoff runner reaches first base.
This is a great book. If you're an aspiring coach or just want to understand more about baseball, you can't go wrong here.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R.J. on August 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
For those of us who like keeping score during a baseball game and trying to get inside the real game, Pure Baseball is highly recommended. Keith Hernandez explores two ballgames, one NL and the other AL, and goes pitch by pitch and analyzes the pitcher/batter confrontation in depth. Perhaps it's in too much depth, one of Hernandez's axioms is that this is the essence of baseball, and devotes little time to fielding and baserunning. No matter, the NL game in particular is fascinating to study, as Atlanta's Pete Smith faces the Phillies under lefthander Danny Jackson. I learned so much reading this section alone. Hernandez does his best work in the first half of the book. The AL section seems rushed and not as in-depth, perhaps because the designated hitter takes out so much of the strategy when it comes to pitching changes. If you see this book and enjoy the inner game of baseball, by all means pick it up. It's a book I've re-read a couple of times, there's so much of value here.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By P.Chen on October 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Pure Baseball is a treat for the serious, and I stress 'serious' baseball fan who wants to delve deep into the minds of pitchers and batters. This is pretty dense reading material, but Hernandez shares his wisdom in an entertaining fashion. I found myself having to re-read portions of the book, sometimes even using it as a reference.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Cantor on September 10, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If ever there was a necessary baseball book, this is it!! I reread it every season (as does at least one other reviewer) and always learn something more from doing so.
I have taken Mr. Hernandez' advice and always turn off the sound when watching a game on TV. I find it to be a major improvement and I'm no longer distracted by the content-free, pointless remarks made by most announcers.
Frankly, judging from the mental errors common to the game today, it should be required reading for each and every player from the rookie leagues to the bigs.
If you're not a serious student of the game, then maybe you should pass on this one!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this book at the start of every baseball season, and I love it. This is the book to read if you want to learn everything about baseball's strategies and complexities and learn why baseball is the greatest game in the world. Hernandez examines two games in the 1993 season in great detail, stopping and explaining each situation. He talks about hit-and-runs, double-steals, fielding techniques, large gaps in the outfield, infield shifts, and much more. But, because Hernandez considers the give and take between the pitcher and batter the heart and soul of baseball, he concentrates on that and shows how the count shifts the odds back and forth. I am a huge baseball fan and know so much more about the game from reading this book. This book is only for a serious fan, but it will give anyone great information.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Lichtman on December 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
It takes time and patience to read this book. The title says "Pitch by Pitch for the Advanced Fan," and it means it literally. Hernandez talks about what goes through a player's mind during a game. His descriptions of how a batter thinks about an at-bat are priceless. It takes a while to plow through all this stuff - there's a *lot* of detail - but if you do you'll have a deeper knowledge of the little in-game strategies and decisions that make baseball so special.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a baseball fan who's trying to get a little more knowledgeable about the game, this book was excellent. This book goes into pages and pages of details and opinions about the minute details of baseball. I already knew the basic principles behind the hit and run and whatnot, but this book allows itself six or seven page tangents, explaining the vagaries of such subjects in far great detail than I could have. The device of doing so through two baseball games was well-concieved, showing not just the strategy behind techniques, but what the fan watching the game should look for when watching a game. Both games were close, and there was some of the same sense of anticipation, wondering who would win, as attending a baseball game.
Be aware that this book was very technical. While I will definitely lend this book to my brother, who wants to become a sports announcer, I was hoping this might be a primer to baseball strategies for my girlfriend. However, it would obviously be over the head of anybody who can't talk baseball already, or is willing to closely study the book.
My only real complaint is that Hernandez quite often predicts strategies, and then watches the manager do something entirely different. I appreciate the honesty, but instead of speculating, re-explaining himself, or better yet calling up Sparky Anderson after the game, he leaves it at "who can tell?" Still an excellent book, I'd recommend it to anybody who wants to expand their knowledge of baseball.
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