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Still Pitching: Musings from the Mound and the Microphone Hardcover – April 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Triumph Books; 1ST edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572435186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572435186
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,534,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When he retired in 1983, Kaat had spent more time in a major-league baseball uniform than any other player. That alone merits a memoir. In addition to his ball-playing credentials--he finished just a few wins short of the 300 that would surely have won him a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame--Kaat also served as a coach under the now infamous Pete Rose, and for nearly a decade he has worked as a broadcaster for the New York Yankees. If at times a bit biased in favor of the ballplayers from his heyday (the 1960s), Kaat proves an affable tour guide to the world of big-league baseball. He's insightful when discussing what it was like to work with Rose as the latter's gambling problems worsened, and he offers interesting tidbits on current Yankees and other major-league stars such as Barry Bonds. This is not a tell-all book; there's little in the way of dirt or gossip but plenty of strong and learned opinion from a lifelong student of the game. Kevin Canfield
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Rocks on July 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I found this book an inordinately refreshing change of pace from the usual self-aggrandizing, back-biting, and vituperative drivel that one often finds in books of this nature. Instead of bludgeoning his readers with an endless series of cheap ad hominem attacks on his ex-teammates, or whining incessantly about the "wanton cruelty" of the "mass media" (again, an all too common feature in sports biographies these days), Mr. Kaat conveys to his readers something much more profound here: His undying and unconditional love for the sport he played.
While it may seem almost Kafkaesque to laud an ex-athlete for "doing the right thing" in his memoirs, that is not to say, however, that Mr. Kaat doesn't offer any criticism of some the men that he played with. It is just done tactfully, and in a manner that is devoid of the sort of malignant narcissism that one finds in say, David Wells' Tell-all tale.
Indeed, this book does feature more than its fair share of criticism against those who Mr. Kaat feels could have done more to help themselves, and their respective teams. For example:
- Did you know that Harmon Killebrew, while a great ballplayer, lacked the sort of leadership skills that one would hope for in a star of that magnitude? His passivity, especially with regards to his sheepish acceptance of any contract offered him by ownership, helped to undermine the position of many of his teammates when negotiating contracts.
Remember, this was long before professional athletes earned the sort of money they do today. They measured their financial success, as did most Americans at that time, in the tens of thousands, not the tens of millions that they do today.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you remember the typical sports biography before Jim Bouton wrote Ball Four, arguably the best baseball book -- and the only sports book on the New York Times top 100 books of the last millennium -- this is that "good old days" genre.
Kaat, with Phil Pepe, is a long way from David Wells, who now plays for the team for which Kaat announces, the New York Yankees. And the difference just isn't in the books Wells and Kaat had published this year. Wells will finish with about 80 fewer career wins than Kaat, but most certainly has more headlines than Kaat ever did. Considering the careers of the two, that seems somewhat unfair. Not that Kaat would complain.
You'll have to read between the lines when Kaat dislikes someone, although it's clear everything in his 25-year major league career wasn't a "gee whiz experience." In fact, it could be argued Kaat's book is an exercise in tact. His restraint in personal attacks is almost an education.
If you grew up in the '50s or '60s -- particularly in the Midwest -- you might enjoy Kaat's book immensely. Surely Minnesota Twins' fans who have begun to read "Best Places to Retire" will enjoy it.
For any baseball fan, certainly the most poignant aspect that surfaces is baseball might be a warm game to play if you're in love with the sport, but it's a cold business. Despite his near Hall of Fame credentials, Kaat received his share of poor treatment in his career.
For instance, it certainly would surprise most fans under 25 that despite his statistics in Minnesota, he took a pay cut during 7 of his 13 years with the Twins. And when he details his releases from these teams, well, it doesn't say much about people who run the game.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Stamper VINE VOICE on January 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Jim Kaat's 20+ years on the mound translates into a good understanding of pitching which benefits his announcing and his book writing. Instead of wasting time with gossip, he offers solid and concise analysis of baseball, much of it unconventional.
He thinks that pitchers shouldn't be running before ballgames, because they are strengthening the wrong muscles. Pitchers can best get in shape by pitching and conditioning the same muscles they will need when they are working late in a game. He also thinks that pitchers should be throwing everyday to keep those muscles limber. There must be something to it. When Kaat retired, no one had played as many seasons and his only stint on the DL was when he broke his arm sliding into second base.
He also thinks that pitchers get into trouble over-thinking situations. A good example is Mike Mussina, a Stanford graduate. Kaat makes a good case that there is no substitute for throwing strikes. He points out that even the best hitters can't hit every pitch out in batting practice when they know what's coming. Why do pitchers worry that putting it across the plate is going to be disaster? David Wells is his example of a guy who just battles the hitters with his best stuff.
The book is pretty short, because unlike most authors who go on and on about a subject hitting it at the edges, Kaat aims square in the middle and moves on to something else. The publisher's worry about the book's shortness has lead to a bunch of filler material like Kaat's Teammate All-Star teams and greatest catchers he's seen. There's also a section at the end full of newspaper stories written about Kaat during his playing career.
The main body of the book may be short, but the wisdom contained within is worth more than books twice the size. I think Jim Kaat could write a really good book in the style of George Will's MEN AT WORK if some publisher gave him the opportunity.
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