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The Pitch That Killed: The Story of Carl Mays, Ray Chapman, and the Pennant Race of 1920 Paperback – October 1, 2015
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Sowell thoroughly explored that horrifying incident in his 1989 book and provided fascinating historical context. (Oregonian)
Splendidly researched and vivid as today....Remarkable. (Roger Kahn)
The best baseball book no one has read. (ESPN the Magazine)
Sowell did a masterful job of research in bringing to life the incident and all the things that were going on in baseball then. (Phil Tatman Orlando Sentinel)
Sowell twirls tragedy with triumph in a thoroughly engaging manner and delivers a book as captivating as it is well-written. (Mark Luce Chicago Tribune)
…An outstanding book…. In short, one hell of a year, which Sowell captures perfectly. (Mudville)
A 2004 Best bet.... Glorious and horrifying baseball book. (Poughkeepsie Journal)
A fascinating study of the circumstances behind the only time a major leaguer was ever killed by a pitched ball. (Baseball Book Survey)
Sowell's outstanding book tells the story of both men and of the thrilling pennant race that followed Chapman's death. (Golfdom)
About the Author
Mike Sowell teaches journalism at Oklahoma State University. He has also written One Pitch Away: The Players' Stories of the 1986 League Championships and World Series. He lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma, outside of Oklahoma City.
Top customer reviews
There are a few Kindle formatting errors, but not so many as to be a distraction.
It is a little known story that grabs your heart because you know that no matter how much you hope for a change in the historical record, Carl Mays the man that everybody found easy to despise was still going to throw a pitch that killed the beloved Chappie.
It is fascinating to read about the personal loss to his teammates and the emotional havoc that it created for them in human terms. Yet we get to feel that Chappie was still celebrating when the pennant is clnched in the form of rookie replacement Joe Sewell who takes it upon himself to embody the spirit of the fallen leader.
This is a book that captures baseball in the early 20th century and makes the game and personalities of the players inriguing.
Sowell manages to transport the reader back to the period in which the story takes place (1910s and 1920s), while still allowing the tale to play out without clutter or unnecessary writing. Unlike the many one-dimensional portrayals of Mays included in other works, Sowell paints him as a complex character, a great pitcher who obviously battled some emotional issues. The death of Chapman doesn't need to be dressed up to be heartbreaking, and Sowell presents the situation in a straightforward manner.
From the first page to the end of the book, it's difficult to find fault with anything. Just a compelling story told by a great writer, this is a book that any fan of baseball should read.