Tuesday, March 31, 2015

TBR Tuesday - Review of "The Greatest Game Ever Pitched"

Continuing to slowly whittle away at the large pile of older books I have yet to read, I picked this one that I have had in my Nook library since 2012.  Just from the title, I was anxious to read this, as a good pitching duel is my favorite type of baseball game.  Here is my review of "The Greatest Game Ever Pitched."

“The Greatest Game Ever Pitched: Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn and the Pitching Duel of the Century” by Jim Kaplan

Baseball, history, Giants, Braves

February 1, 2011

256 pages

3 of 5 stars (okay)

On July 2, 1963 two future Hall of Fame pitchers, Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants and Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves, took the mound at Candlestick Park in San Francisco for a regular season matchup that would become a historic game for many reasons.  Sixteen innings later, the Giants won the game 1-0 on a Willie Mays homer – hit off of Spahn.  He and Marichal pitched all 16 innings, each throwing over 200 innings.  There has not been a pitching duel quite like this before or after.  Given the status of pitchers in today’s game with relief specialists and pitch counts for starters, it is very unlikely we will see another game like this again.

Given this synopsis, I was very interested to read about such a historic game.  The accounts of the game are woven into a duel biography of both pitchers.  The information on Spahn and Marichal, while well-written, was not terribly in-depth as there are more complete biographies for both pitchers, as well as books on Marichal’s famous incident with Dodgers catcher John Roseboro.  In this book, Kaplan gives it some attention, but not as much as other books. 

There are also stories interwoven throughout the book about other famous games that featured great pitching performances on both teams, including game 7 of the 1991 World Series, a double no-hitter in 1917 and Harvey Haddix throwing 12 perfect innings in 1959 only to lose the game in the 13th inning.

While these and the biographies were interesting and showed good writing and research, I felt they took away from the main theme of the book and that was the terrific game on July 2, 1963.  There were times I had to go back to a previous chapter because there were long stretches between mention of the game accounts and what Spahn and Marichal did to get this far.  I don’t think it was a totally bad read, but I would have liked to have seen these each have their own section instead of interwoven like they were.  Especially the other game accounts – those would have been better listed after the main book in an addendum or appendix.  As a result, this book was at best three stars since it wasn’t a nice clean read. It did have good writing and as such, it doesn’t deserve an overall negative rating, but I believe it could have been organized better.  

Pace of the book:
Because of the jumping between the game, biographical information on the pitchers and the frequent stories of other pitching duels in baseball history, I felt that it was a slow read.  Had these all been placed in separate sections, I believe the flow of the book would have been much better.

Do I recommend?
Baseball fans who want to learn more about this game and its significance might want to read this.  Also those who want to learn more about the two pitchers, although there are more complete biographies on both of them available. 

Book Format Read:
Ebook (Nook)

Buying Links:

No comments:

Post a Comment