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Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game Is Really Played

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  103 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Ever Wonder What’s Being Said at Home Plate?How a Team Silently Communicates?What Goes on in the Clubhouse Behind Closed Doors?

America’s pastime has always left fans and amateur players alike yearning for the answers to questions about how pros play the game.

Jason Kendall is an All-Star catcher who has seen just about everything during his years with the Pittsburgh Pirates
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by St. Martin's Press
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(showing 1-30 of 376)
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Mike
Apr 04, 2014 Mike rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: soccer fans
I won it in a giveaway here, but I have to say that it’s one of the worst books I’ve ever read. The writing is atrocious, repetitious, and reads like something a 4th grader might jot down at night before going to bed. Kendall might have a decent personality and undoubtedly some lively stories to tell, but he was saddled with a writer who couldn’t or wouldn’t bring either to the book. As for the supposedly inside scoop on the game, there isn’t any. For someone who actually loves the game the book ...more
Doug Dams
This is a good baseball book. But it was a little repetitive. It did provide some insights into the big league players and how they play the game. I was expecting more baseball stories to illustrate some of the game situations. Also some photographs would have made the book more interesting. Basically, Jason Kendall talks about the situations that occur on every pitch and how those situations relate to what you see on the field. He goes over each player, the coaches and the umpires and what they ...more
Mark Stevens
According to Jason Kendall in “Throwback,” the sport of baseball is non-stop action.

There are always adjustments underway based on the pitcher, the count, the hitter, the time of day. Everything. “Throwback” is about the little things that make baseball fascinating. It’s about the minuscule moments of anticipation most of us don’t appreciate.

If you watch even a half-dozen baseball games a year, you’ll get something out of Jason Kendall’s inside look at the infinite number of complexities that
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Peter Engley
If you have love the sport of baseball, Throwback by Lee Judge and Jason Kendall is the ideal book for you. Kendall played the baseball from 1996-2010 with five different teams. Throwback is how the game is really played from Jason’s point of view. He takes you around the horn, and tells you everything there is to know about everything in baseball from pitchers to outfielders, fielding and hitting, and even takes you into the clubhouse. The book cover topics from “the right way to hit a batter” ...more
Brian E. Spivey
I received this book as part of a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

This may be the best baseball book I have ever read. Jason Kendal breaks the game down to the bare bones and tries to explain the basics in an understandable way. He is mostly successful. He makes the reader really change his way of watching a baseball game by going through and explaining not only but what happens, but also why.
As I read the book, and then watched games, I found myself looking for the things he described and findin
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Claire
I received Throwback as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

A veteran major league catcher, Jason Kendall fills readers in on the finer points of baseball, both on and off the field. He takes you around the horn, exploring the ins and outs of each position from pitcher to outfielder, fielding and hitting, and even into the clubhouse to explore the tiny signs that can turn a game around.

I was hoping there'd be more anecdotes about his career as a player, but it's not really that kind of book--it's more
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Allen
If you are a baseball fan this book is a decent read.The book tells the basics of baseball from the player perspective.I feel this is just a way for Jason Kendall to crack into the book business ,there appears to be some stories that are itching to break out.Overall highly recommended to new baseball fans.
Brandon Forsyth
Not a lot here to recommend, unless you're a casual baseball fan who wants to learn more about the game and doesn't mind a liberal use of cursing to get there. It did make me want to watch a baseball game, though perhaps not in the way its authors intended - namely, instead of reading this book.
Jason
One of my Top 3 favorite books of all time. Kendall takes you on a inside look at the life of an MLB baseball player. While there isn't any selling out teammates or crazy locker room stories (like Jim Bouton's Ball Four), Kendall breaks down every part of a game, and explains in-depth exactly what is happening on an MLB field every moment of the game. From explaining how every defensive player knows what pitch is about to be thrown to how catchers talk to umpires, this book is a great read. Very ...more
Thomas
Throwback has interesting information about how professional baseball games are played, but the author is not a great writer, and I find him to be over confident.
Mike Gabor
As I've been following baseball for over 50 years now I really didn't learn too much from this book but, I think this would be an excellent read for someone who is just starting to get into baseball or for a more casual fan. Kendall covers just about all that needs to be covered here. He breaks things down in a clear and concise manner and does so with some humor. One thing that I did pick up though was why it's better for a pitcher to throw a change up to a batter in a bunt situation rather tha ...more
Jacob Uhl
Throwback is a book written in the view of a major league catcher. His name is Jason Kendall and he is arguably the best catcher in baseball he played for 20 years. He played on multiple major league teams and knows everything there is to know about the life of a major league catcher. Jason talks about everything from the time that you arrive to the ballpark to what you do when you are leaving it. He knows everything there is to know about what you need to do to improve your game and even make y ...more
John Kaufmann
Jason Kendall was a catcher in the major leagues for about 15 years, and a three-time All-Star. He provides an insiders view of the game, coverings all aspects of the game - pitching, catching, infielders, outfielding, baserunning, managing, even what happens as part of players' pre-game routine.

This book can enrich your appreciation of the game. It provides a deeper understanding of all the little details that can make a difference in winning or not, all the details that differentiate the majo
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Tie Kim
If you played the 'word association' game with casual fans of major league baseball baseball and elicit a reaction for Jason Kendall, I think the most common response would be "gruesome ankle injury". However, a baseball devotee might also answer that Kendall was a "warrior", "clubhouse guy", and an old school "throwback".

This is an entertaining book on how to watch the beloved game of baseball, our national pastime, from the unique perspective of someone who played professionally for 16+ seaso
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Dan Ryan
This book will enrich your appreciation of baseball and baseball players. I have always loved baseball, but I am at best a mediocre fan. I can't tell you the complete lineup of my favorite team, and I couldn't list the long relievers in the bullpen. I'm just an average fan who enjoys watching the game.

This book will increase the sophistication of the average fan. It makes you realize that the guy who struck out after fouling off 6 pitches has helped his team a lot more than the knucklehead who p
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Rafael
I am a huge baseball fan and always admired Jason Kendall. He was one of the most badass catchers I have ever watched. This book peeks behind the scenes as well dives into what really goes through a players and managers mind at the major league level. Baseball may seem boring and mundane to the average fan but there’s a lot more that happens that don’t realize unless we pay attention carefully. I really love this quote:

“The brain of a catcher is like a hamster running on a wheel: it’s going all
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Matthew
I was given this book by someone who knows I like baseball and that the Oakland A's are my favorite team. This book is another sports related book that falls into a particular trap. The co-author, Lee Judge, does not provide enough editing and consultation to the athlete, Jason Kendall. I think such co-authors defer to the athlete so that their voice comes through. But when their voice is quoted directly, they can sound pretty boring and without much of a vocabulary. I found pleasure in the book ...more
Marcusl
This Book is written by a baseball player who was a quite superstar. Yielding a strong personality Mr. Kendall tells how ball players don't just react, they are constantly playing mind games with the pitcher. Not a thrill to read, but my knowledge of baseball went through the roof after reading this book. If you are a baseball player, any baseball player, you should read this book. Or maybe you are just a fan of baseball and your friend thinks baseball is boring. tell him to read this book then ...more
Meril
An interesting mix of a mostly useful inside-the-game baseball primer and a retired player's wishes for all the "soft" millennials to get the [bleep] off his lawn. Sadly the latter aspect of retro machismo overpowers the former's usefulness.
Caseylamkin
I thought this was a great book, I just want to start off by saying you need to have a decent grasp of the game of baseball before you start reading. A couple of things I liked how Jason Kendall told me all of the things about the positions and how major league ballplayers see and play the game.The best thing I liked about the book is how I thought I knew the game of baseball after I read the book there were games with inside the game that I didn't know, like the thrid base coach doesn't call t ...more
Mike
Should have thrown it back. Kendall bloviates, in brief, boring paragraphs, about baseball minutiae that would be interesting if presented in a context of some sort. This book was dull as hell.
Donald
Overall, this is a very good book if you want to know how to play the game the "old school way"! Kendall lays it all out there, in almost a technical manual sort of way. He reminds me of the character Crash Davis from the movie "Bull Durham". I would highly recommend this for anyone who really wants to know more, or improve their game, especially an aspiring catcher! As for me, I wanted more of a biography of a player I really admired. He played for my favorite team, the Oakland A's, and I was h ...more
John Schlotfelt
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to review this book. I think, ultimately, the problems come down to Lee Judge. Or maybe the good people at St. Martin's Press. It's nearly unconscionable that former major league ball player Jason Kendall should be given 300 pages to explain the ins and outs of baseball. He is certainly knowledgeable, but knowing how to play mind games with a power hitter on a 3-0 count does not make you a writer.
There's a d
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Greg Henning
As some have noted, the book can be repetitive, but a lot of situations in baseball are dependent on other situations. I enjoyed the book, but I have a fairly hardcore baseball fan. I'm not sure how the casual fan will take this book, but I recommend all baseball fans give this book a chance. I though I knew a lot about the game, but I learned a lot, and it changed my most recent MLB stadium experience.
Scott
A great read on the intricacies of the game. A catcher signaling the pitcher and outfield? A signal to have the pitcher waive off the first signal? Having more than one signal set to throw off the opposition? A great book on the strategy of the game which will make your head spin.
Chris Dean
Entertaining read, although at times a bit repetitive. Fascinating insight from Kendall throughout; interesting to think if much of what he says in this book is not partially responsible for the Royals incredible 2014 season. Many of the things he writes about "playing the game the right way" was embodied at several different points during the 2014 campaign.
John
Being a huge baseball fan, much of the book's content I have learned from watching the game over the years, but the humor and character that Kendall brings to the table is what keeps this book from being dry. Here's a guy you always loved to hate (but yet appreciate). . . until he played for your team, at which point you couldn't get enough guys like him.

What I did come to appreciate much more is the catcher's roll in the game, and how much more is mentally required than I ever realized. I very
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Ray
What a great book from a great man. A hall of game career that will soon add best selling author to the resume. He blocked it with his face!
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