...this is no mere catalog of pitchers who went under the knife. The author tells vivid stories through the eyes of players, doctors, researchers and even faith healers. At times, The Arm reads like a quest, as Mr. Passan scours the country in search of answers for an epidemic that has felled everyone from 10-year-old Japanese pitchers to major-league aces ... Mr. Passan makes you care deeply about pitching arms and the boys and men attached to them. In doing so, he transforms medical jargon and inside-baseball minutiae back into flesh and blood.
...a close, exceptionally well-written look into the game’s epidemic of ruptured elbow ligaments, and the hard fact that medical science still has no real answers for it ... Passan dispels a few myths, offering proof, for example, that the overhand throwing motion is not inherently unnatural for human beings. 'What’s unnatural,' he writes, 'is throwing a five-and-a-quarter-ounce sphere ninety-plus miles per hour one hundred times every five days.'
The Arm should be required reading for youth baseball coaches and parents with a child who appears to have a gift to throw a baseball. It also should be on the list for fans who want to understand why some of most expensive athletes in sports, pitchers, are such a fragile commodity.