Thursday, July 28, 2016

Review of "One Pitch Away"

While the New York Mets are a team that I follow closely, I don't consider the 1986 baseball postseason one of the best because they won the World Series that year.  I consider it the best postseason because all three series had great drama, heartbreak and exciting baseball. This book has many great stories from players on all four teams involved in that memorable October.  Here is my review of "One Pitch Away." 

“One Pitch Away: The Players’ Stories of the 1986 LCS and World Series” by Mike Sowell

Baseball, professional, history, Mets, Red Sox, Angels, Astros

Publish date:
April 15, 2016 (re-release as e-book – original release 1995)

298 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

The 1986 baseball season ended with three series that had drama, heartbreaks, elation and some of the best baseball played in October in the history of the game.  Whether it was Dave Henderson hitting a home run off of California Angels pitcher Donnie Moore to keep the Angels from appearing in their first World Series, the New York Mets and Houston Astros playing a 16 inning marathon to finish the National League Championship Series or the Red Sox giving their fans another heartbreaking World Series loss, the games and stories from some of the players from all four teams make for terrific reading.

Mike Sowell takes the memories of the games and the players and weaves them together to write a very entertaining book of 17 stories about the entire postseason.  He starts off with three stories, one about each series. While the teams and the games are primary focus of these selections, there are very interesting personal stories as well.  The reader will learn about Gene Mauch, the Angels manager who never made it to the World Series. Read about Roger Craig, the pitching coach who taught Mike Scott the split-finger fastball that made him the best pitcher in baseball that season. Then comes the World Series between the Mets and Red Sox and all the side stories, including the famous game six ending.

If it just stopped there, this would be a very good collection of short stories.  But Sowell then goes deeper and tells the stories of fourteen players from all four postseason teams. These stories are written in an easy, conversational style that is perfect for that evening when a reader wants to do nothing else but hear some great baseball stories. While some may feel that the writing style is talking to someone else other than the reader, I was left with the feeling that the player whose story was featured was opening up some old feelings, whether good or bad, and was letting the reader inside his mind and emotions.

This release of a book from 1995 into electronic book format is perfect for readers who want to relieve that terrific postseason, or for those who have heard some stories about the drama and excitement but wish to learn more.  Each series provided great memories for fans of the Mets.  But for those who were cheering for the Red Sox, Astros, and Angels, the last line in the book sums up their feelings perfectly: 

Baseball is like that. There is no end to the number of ways it can break your heart. It can be torture.

I wish to thank Summer Game Books for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for review. What you think this would be a good gift for my boyfriend? He is a writer in a and I can't find good gift for him!