Sportswriter Cook (Electric October) takes an exciting look at the 1979 baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies, in which the two middling teams scored a combined total of 45 runs over 10 innings. In fast-paced, inning-by-inning descriptions, Cook delivers both a play-by-play (13 runs were scored in the first inning) and an insider’s take on key players including Dave Kingman, a powerful home-run hitter who played outfield “with the grace of a falling tree,” and pitcher Donnie Moore, who had revived his career by mastering the split-finger fastball, which became “the Pitch of the Eighties.” Cook bookends his telling of the game with insightful takes on the idiosyncrasies of the players and teams (“Kingman kind of exemplified the Cubs.... He was bad in interesting ways”) and closes with an extended look at the ways baseball has evolved since then—especially the changes in pitching styles, which would make the split-fingered fastball and the screwball all but disappear. This is an excellent look at a momentous individual game, and the long view of the ways baseball has changed during the last 30 years is equally rewarding. (May)
Reviewed on : 04/01/2019 Release date: 05/07/2019 Genre: Nonfiction
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