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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times baseball columnist, an enchanting, enthralling history of the national pastime as told through the craft of pitching, based on years of archival research and interviews with more than 300 people from Hall of Famers to the stars of today.

The baseball is an amazing plaything. We can grip it and hold it so many different ways, and even the slightest calibration can turn an ordinary pitch into a weapon to thwart the greatest hitters in the world. Each pitch has its own history, evolving through the decades as the masters pass it down to the next generation. From the earliest days of the game, when Candy Cummings dreamed up the curveball while flinging clamshells on a Brooklyn beach, pitchers have never stopped innovating.

In K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches, Tyler Kepner traces the colorful stories and fascinating folklore behind the 10 major pitches. Each chapter highlights a different pitch, from the blazing fastball to the fluttering knuckleball to the slippery spitball. Infusing every moment with infectious passion for the game, Kepner brings listeners inside the minds of combatants 60 feet, six inches apart.

Filled with priceless insights from many of the best pitchers in baseball history, including 22 Hall of Famers - from Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, and Nolan Ryan to Greg Maddux, Mariano Rivera, and Clayton Kershaw - K will be the definitive guide on pitching and join such works as The Glory of Their Times and Moneyball as a classic of the genre.

©2019 Tyler Kepner (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Tyler Kepner knows his stuff - by which I mean the plethora of possible assaults on the strike zone that have created the modern game: splitters, spitters, sinkers, sliders. It’s all here: Cy Young’s whistler; Sandy Koufax’s 12-to-6 curve; the fadeaway that made Matty famous before it became a screwball and revived Warren Spahn’s career. K is an education in the history, mechanics and language of pitching and as rich with detail as the craft it describes. This is inside baseball at its best. A must read for any fan who aspires to be in the know." (Jane Leavy, New York Times best-selling author of Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy and The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created)

“There has been so much good writing on the subject of baseball that you sometimes wonder if there can be a fresh way to go about it. But Tyler Kepner turns the trick. Analytical and anecdotal, insightful and entertaining, K is a welcome addition to the baseball bookshelf.” (Bob Costas) 

"Kepner puts a new spin on baseball's history that will have even the most avid fans entertained as they learn something new in each chapter." (Publishers Weekly

What listeners say about K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches

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  • Jordan
  • 21-05-2019

The Perfect Baseball Book

Pitching mechanics, grips, history, funny stories, batter accounts, pitcher accounts... this book provides it all! Absolutely terrific read. Bonus point: no social lecturing! The last few sports books I have read all seemed to be going fine, and then out of nowhere, Boom! [insert unnecessary divisive political talking point]. Kepner’s politics-free take on baseball is by far the best sports book I’ve ever read. Well worth your time. You will be entertained and informed.

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  • Mark Erickson
  • 10-07-2019

Attn authors: please use professional narration.

I love baseball, and I loved the book. However, most authors make for terrible narrators...and this is no exception. I can certainly understand why the author would want to read their own work, but I’m sure listeners return books (or don’t by them) based on the narration. I know I do.

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  • JMKIII58
  • 30-06-2019

A comprehensive look

at all 10 pitches. The author uses hall of fame and former pitchers to explain each type of pitch in the game. Each pitch is picked apart from its humble beginnings to who made it famous. Every great pitcher living or dead is highlighted in this wonderful book. A must read for all baseball fans.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Howard Family
  • 02-05-2019

Awesome book with great insights

I absolutely loved reading this book. if you are a baseball fan you will really enjoy this book. Does a great job at intertwining how the different pitches are thrown and the history of the game. Provides great insights into how pitchers adapted and learned from one another how to throw these different pitches.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ray R.
  • 07-08-2020

A Great Unusual Baseball Book

Definitely the best book on pitching I've ever read. Entertaining yet informative and with great context

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  • Eric Hamlin
  • 14-04-2020

A Refreshing Take on a Familiar Subject

Listening to this book during the baseball shutdown due to Covid-19, Kepner filled a void that has yet to be filled by reruns. "K" drew me in with its novelty and hooked me with its depth of research. These chapters flew by and left me wanting more!! Thanks Tyler for so very clearly putting your heart into this work.

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  • JannaMc
  • 16-12-2019

Great exploration through baseball/pitching history

Kepner does a brilliant job weaving the origins and legacies of 10 pivotal pitch types. Really an easy listen for any baseball fan.

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  • Paul Taberner
  • 17-09-2019

Excellent

An absolutely terrific book. A must listen for any avid baseball fan. Kepner is also a very fine narrator.

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  • Mark
  • 02-07-2019

Makes baseball interesting again!

Makes everyday baseball interesting again for the dilettante. More to look for means more to see, if you are going to spend 3 1/2 watching a game that isn’t a play off game. Also creates opportunities to watch other games that are not your team. Go Bosox!

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  • Adam
  • 08-04-2019

Tyler Kepner is a master storyteller.

Tyler Kepner is a master storyteller. His extensive research and passion for the game is unmatched in this must-buy book/audio for any baseball fan.

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