A New York Times sports writer traces the colorful stories and fascinating folklore behind baseball's ten major pitches. Each chapter highlights a different pitch, from the blazing fastball to the fluttering knuckleball to the slippery spitball.
K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches uses an ingenious microscope through which to scrutinize baseball (K is scorekeeping shorthand for a strikeout). The author elevates trivia and manages to make it consequential ... Looking at baseball pitch by pitch cleverly conjures the wonders of the game and how it has changed ... Kepner’s book...captures both the glory and vagaries of the sport he loves, past and present.
...delightful ... K is a work of history but not a narrative in the traditional sense ... The interviews can be at once revealing and occasionally moving ... There are no windy discussions here of analytics or insights derived from data-driven information. The book is well-written, anecdote rich and filled with seldom-shared insights by players. By the end, the reader will understand the exact nature of the 10 pitches and have a much better grasp of the dynamics of baseball. Read it to find out why throwing a change-up takes courage.
Kepner’s book lacks a compelling narrative and well-developed characters. His descriptions of how to throw various pitches can be hard to visualize; detailed illustrations would have helped. Accordingly, this volume will appeal more to hardcore fans than to casual readers, but for us baseball believers, there are plenty of nourishing nuggets here, starting with the essential nature of the pitching profession.