Brent Soderstrum's Reviews > Fireman: The Evolution of the Closer in Baseball

Fireman by Fran Zimniuch
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Jul 17, 2012

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Read from July 17 to 22, 2012

This book covers the history of the relief pitcher. It discusses how before the 1960s pitchers were expected to finish what they started so relief pitchers were generally failed starters. Starting pitchers even pitched an inning now and then on their off days. This progressed to the point where now we have one inning specialists who only pitch in certain situations. Managing a pitching staff has changed as a result.

What I enjoyed most was the chapter in which the prevalence of pitch counts today was discussed. I tend to be in the Nolan Ryan camp in which I think starters need to build their arms up to the point where 100 pitch limits are no longer an issue. The pitch count debate is interesting.

What I didn't particularly like was the blatant campaign for Lee Smith to be in the hall of fame. I would have been ok to mention this once but the author discussed this at various times throughout the book. I grew quite repetitive.
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