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Every Pitcher Tells a Story: Letters Gathered by a Devoted Baseball Fan Hardcover – September 29, 1999
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Gods--as John Updike once wrote of Ted Williams--do not answer letters, but it's amazing how many ballplayers actually do. In his previous Baseball Letters, Swirsky mailed off questions to contemporaries and old-timers alike, and then published the medley of mostly handwritten missives he got back. The effort not only resulted in a good autograph collection, it also revealed some personal--and at times unguarded--insights into the game.
In his follow-up, Swirsky focuses on pitchers. The results are actually a little wilder. Roger Clemens writes that he learned the most about pitching from Tom Seaver. Al Hrabosky, the hyper reliever who was forced to shave his menacing Fu Manchu by Cardinals manager Vern Rapp, complains that "as a result the Mad Hungarian"--Hrabosky's alter ego on the mound--"felt like a soldier going to war without a rifle!" Even the reclusive Steve Carlton, who detested media intrusions into players' private lives, speaks out: "I felt it would be better for me and the fans if [reporters] covered me from the pressbox," Carlton writes. "Looking back, I think that the writing was better and definitely more creative after I stopped speaking to the media."
Like in the original volume, photos abound, and Swirsky prints the actual letters (providing transcripts for those whose handwriting is a little leaky). Unlike the original, though, he sweetens the deal by including some historical documents like old notes from Cy Young and Walter Johnson, plus Christy Mathewson's World War I embarkation orders. --Jeff Silverman
From Library Journal
Swirsky has created a neat little book that will be of interest to all baseball fans. In a follow-up to his earlier work (Baseball Letters: A Fan's Correspondence with His Heroes), the author has collected letters that he and others sent to a variety of pitchers, inquiring about the famous and infamous incidents with which they were involved. Amazingly, many of the pitchers Swirsky wrote to actually responded substantively. (In this day, when so many players charge for their autographs, such a response is heartening.) These responses make up the meat of the book. Respondents include everyone from Roger Clemens and Steve Carlton to those whose brush with fame was more brief, such as Jim Rooker and Don Liddle. Not all of the letters are to contemporary players, and for the baseball historian the responses from the old-timers are of particular interest. Overall, this is an original idea and an excellent book. Highly recommended for all libraries.AWilliam O. Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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This natural follow-up to Swirsky's first gem entitled, "Baseball Letters," is an amazing journey through the world of baseball -- via correspondence between the author and numerous past and present All-Star pitchers.
The book includes around 100 letters to, and from, some of the most influential pitchers in the game of baseball. The letters are accompanied by magnificent photographs and spectacular memorabilia. Absolutely fascinating!
Reading this book was truly thrilling for me - as I'm sure it will be for all you baseball fans out there! This riveting book warms your soul, and gives you the opportunity to peek inside the minds of some of the greatest athletes in baseball history.
I highly recommend "Every Pitcher Tells A Story" (Times Books, 1999). It's the perfect gift for a friend, family member, or just about anyone - or just a great "treat" for yourself! Enjoy the magic!