The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher's Mound
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The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher's Mound

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  173 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Beyond the techniques and training, baseball begins with one player facing another and the psychological battle that they wage-the head game. In his critically acclaimed and bestselling new book, Roger Kahn presents the story of this supreme war of wits and the people who changed the course of baseball by playing, what he calls, chess at 90 miles an hour. In The Head Game,...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 2nd 2001 by Mariner Books (first published 2000)
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Roger Kahn is one of the greatest baseball writers of all time...he started out covering the Yankees and Dodgers and Giants in New York in the golden age of the early 50's. he used to hang out with Maris and Mantle, covered the end of the Ruth years and the full Jackie Robinson story. Kahn's baseball books are interesting not only because of his insight into the game, but also the anecdotes he provides about all of these fascinating characters. in this book, Kahn looks at the art and science of...more
After an introductory chapter on the physics of pitching and how the different pitches work (much of which is based on the work of Robert Adair, author of The Physics of Baseball), Kahn proceeds to a history of pitching, spotlighting various pitchers along the way, from Old Hoss Radbourn, who won 60 games in 1884, to Bruce Sutter, the master of the splitter, and pitching guru Leo Mazzone (at the time the Braves' pitching coach). Along the way, he offers interesting analyses of various aspects of...more
Zach Stern
This is my favorite book of all time.

I am a nostalgic person who loves baseball. The Head Game combines both of these when describing the art of pitching throughout the history of baseball.

More importantly, after reading this book as a young lad (and blossoming pitcher) my outlook and analysis of the game of baseball and my approach to pitching changed drastically. Baseball instantly became a sport with infinite depth. I no longer watched and played games based on each inning. Instead I became f...more
Roger Kahn writes great baseball. I know most of the pitchers stories use in the book....but he puts them in great context and adds great detail and context. He used his access to some of the greats to interview them about great pitching. For my money, the Don Drysdale section was worth the price of the book. Kahn knows baseball well enough not to get too involved in who was the greatest, (although he does give his list of the greatest at the end of the book) but he highlights the intelligence o...more
Jenny Brown
I was hoping to learn more about pitching from this book than I did. Most of the book dwells on pitchers active in the last 19th century and the first decade of the 20s. There's far more about Christy Mathewson than I had any interest in knowing. There's a bit about the pitchers active in the 1950s-70s, and lots of name dropping by the author ("as Branch Rickey said to me . . . .")

Not a terrible book, just not anything to get excited about.
Kahn is obviously one of the greatest and most prolific baseball writers of all time. This is well-structured, but rambles at times and repeats itself at other times. His chapters on Koufax and Gibson are a little too short for me considering the topic and their undeniable abilities in that arena. Also, I can't understand why there's very little mention of Nolan Ryan, the most intimidating pitcher of my lifetime.
Less a discussion about the art of pitching and more like a history of pitchers as told through Roger Kahn's chats with former players and coaches, the book had some nice stories about the characters in baseball over the years but I came away feeling like there was not nearly as much substance as I wanted.
Good exploration of different eras of pitching and how rules/strategies/attitudes have shifted by generations.
A good read from and excellent sports writer. Really gets into the pitcher vs batter part of baseball.
Interesting look at different pitchers approach to pitching through serveral eras of baseball.
Terry Birkel
great insights into the subtle art of pitching from one of the keen observers
Simply put, Roger Kahn is the best of the best when it comes to baseball.
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