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

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  222 Ratings  ·  16 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,
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 2nd 2001 by Harvest Books (first published 2000)
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Brett Thomasson
Roger Kahn, along with Thomas Boswell, is probably one of the top living baseball writers working today. His The Boys of Summer stands next to Boswell's Why Time Begins on Opening Day as one of the best explorations of baseball's appeal, its uniquely American identity and the kind of philosophical speculation that it can inspire among its fans given to thinking about such things.

In 2000, a couple of years after Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased down Roger Maris' single-season home run record bu
Jan 10, 2008 Margaret rated it really liked it
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
Sep 14, 2009 Ty rated it really liked it
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
Oct 10, 2014 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
From the title of the book and the dust jacket, I expected The Head Game to be little more in the vein of something like George Will's Men At Work. I wanted something a little more technical, perhaps looking at how a pitcher in a similar situation (say, a 2-2 count) might employ different strategies against different batters, that sort of thing. While there is some of that in here, this is book is more or less one-half biographical anthology and one-half Roger Kahn's memoir of the great pitchers ...more
Jun 02, 2011 Co2 rated it really liked it
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
Zach Stern
Nov 08, 2009 Zach Stern rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 21, 2012 Pablo rated it liked it
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.
Jenny Brown
May 17, 2012 Jenny Brown rated it it was ok
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.
Sean O'Brien
Aug 08, 2014 Sean O'Brien rated it liked it
Interesting from an historical perspective - an account of different types of pitches invented over time. I was looking for more insight and perhaps quotes, really getting inside the minds of the most brilliant pitchers since the game began. I learned a thing or two but found it to be rather dry. I've read quite a few books on baseball, but there is still much I don't know. George Will's "Men At Work" provides much more of an insider's look even if it is dated now.
Feb 26, 2010 Daimon rated it liked it
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.
Jun 15, 2009 Mike rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball
Good exploration of different eras of pitching and how rules/strategies/attitudes have shifted by generations.
Nov 25, 2008 Bfeyen rated it really liked it
Interesting look at different pitchers approach to pitching through serveral eras of baseball.
Jun 15, 2012 Steven rated it liked it
A good read from and excellent sports writer. Really gets into the pitcher vs batter part of baseball.
Kathy Cramer
Sep 14, 2016 Kathy Cramer rated it did not like it
Kept waiting...
Terry Birkel
Dec 09, 2012 Terry Birkel rated it really liked it
great insights into the subtle art of pitching from one of the keen observers
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