This book is the next best thing to a personal lesson with the man who broke Lou Gehrig's record of playing in 2,632 consecutive games; it's a comprehensive look at all aspects of how to play baseball that will benefit young players and adult weekend warriors. Assisted by his brother Bill, who also is a Major League veteran, and Sports Illustrated
baseball editor Burke, Ripkin presents the training philosophy taught to him by his father, a legendary scout for the Baltimore Orioles. The book's nine chapters, or "innings," offer clearly detailed, precisely illustrated (by photographer Bill Wood) and incredibly helpful advice on all aspects of batting, base running, infielding and outfielding. The best are the chapters on catching, where Ripkin provides numerous insights into how a catcher can be "a true on-field manager," and on pitching, where Ripkin relies on the insights of John Habyanas, a former player and current pitching guru. He also offers short "Cal's Corner" sidebars with teaching tips. Perhaps the most helpful chapter is the "9th Inning" look at how managers need to examine "behavior issues" in the same way as catching and throwing to help players "cope with their failures and their losses." (Apr.)
This volume has the potential to become a classic instructional book, not only because of the well-known Ripkin name but also because of its solid content.