Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game Is Really Played

Jason Kendall and Lee Judge. St. Martin’s Press, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-03183-9
Three-time MLB All-Star catcher Kendall, with sports journalist Judge, gives a succinct master class on the art of catching in the big leagues, complete with the inside scoop of calling a game, hand signals, being on the same page with pitchers in their strategies, reading the strengths and weaknesses of opposing batters, and throwing out would-be base stealers. This joint project has its origins with the Christmas gift Judge received from his wife in 1990—a trip to the Kansas City Royals baseball fantasy camp, leading to a two-decade quest to understand the mysteries of pro ball and the career of Kendall, a bald “bad ass” whose 2,000-game career catching with five teams ended after a severe shoulder injury in 2012. Plain speaking and opinionated, Kendall touts catching as “the most difficult, most intriguing position on the field,” due to the game-within-the-game against the batters, saying it took five or six years to figure it how to keep them guessing. Along with bad calls, foul balls, borderline pitches, and pickoffs, he covers the trade secrets of being in sync with the infield, covering the plate, playing the wall, and catching the ball in bright sunlight. More inside info is provided in his crisp analysis of other positions, the manager, and various clubhouse antics. A book that never fails to be very informative, useful, and engaging, especially for baseball fans. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/20/2014
Release date: 05/13/2014
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-250-03182-2
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-250-06866-8
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