Baseball is a simple game; a pitcher throws a ball towards a batter who swings either missing or hitting the ball to put it into play. K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches by Tyler Kepner explores the how the importance of the pitcher and the tools he uses has grown over 150 years of the sport as strategy has evolved along with and against it.
As the title of the book says, Kepner divides the book into ten chapters focusing on the different types of pitches that have endured throughout baseball history and some that have risen in prominence but have nearly faded away by the time of publication of the book. Through interviews and anecdotes from current and past players—both pitchers and hitters—that Kepner conducted himself or researched from past articles written as far back as the first decade of the 20th Century, the story of each pitch’s evolution and the prominent players that used them is discussed through particular careers and game situations that defined baseball history.
Kepner is extensive in his research in showing the history and the importance to the game that each pitch, through the careers of Hall of Famers or players that had spectacular runs for year but not an entire career. Yet Kepner had an issue with distinguish pitches that are very close to one another in one way or another though he tried his best, it wasn’t that I was looking for a tutorial on how to pitch but definitive elements about why pitches that appear similar to the casual fan are completely different and to me he didn’t quiet accomplish that.
K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches is a very good look at one of the most important positions in American sports over the course of 150 years and how the players who played the position were able to gain an advantage over their competitors.