High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time (Paperback)

High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time By Tim Wendel Cover Image
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What is it about a quality fastball that brings us to the edge of our seats? How is it humanly possible to throw more than 100 mph? And the big question: Who is the fastest pitcher ever?

Drawing on interviews with current and former players, managers, scouts, experts, and historians, Tim Wendel delivers the answers to some of the most intriguing questions about the fastball, providing insight into one of baseball’s most exhilarating yet mystifying draws. In High Heat he takes us on a quest to separate verifiable fact from baseball lore, traveling from ballparks across the country to the Baseball Hall of Fame, piecing together the fascinating history of the fastball from its early development to the present form while exploring its remarkable impact on the game and the pitchers who have been blessed (or cursed) with its gift.

From legends such as Nolan Ryan, Walter Johnson, Steve Dalkowski, and Satchel Paige to present-day standard bearers like Tim Lincecum, Billy Wagner, and Randy Johnson, Wendel examines the factors that make throwing heat an elusive ability that few have and even fewer can harness. Along the way he investigates the effectiveness of early speed-testing techniques (including Bob Feller's infamous motorcycle test), explains why today's radar gun readings still leave plenty of room for debate, and even visits an aerodynamic testing lab outside of Birmingham, Alabama, in order to understand the mechanics that make throwing heat possible in the first place.

At its heart, High Heat is a reflection on our infatuation with the fastball—the expectation it carries, the raw ability it puts on display, and, most of all, the feats and trials of those who have attempted to master it. As Wendel puts it, "The tale of high heat can lead in several different directions at once, and the real story has more to do with triumph and tragedy that with the simple act of throwing a baseball."

About the Author

Tim Wendel was a founding editor of USA Today's Baseball Weekly and is the award-winning and highly acclaimed author of eleven books, including Summer of .68. He has served as exhibit adviser to the Baseball Hall of Fame and has been a writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University. He lives near Washington, DC.

Praise For…

Publishers Weekly, 1/24/11
“It's as much about hard science as putting mustard on the ball.”

Toronto Globe and Mail, 3/12/11
“A book rich in the sort of anecdotes that baseball fans crave.”
 WomanAroundTown.com, 3/29/11
“Wendel regales us with the quest for the fastest pitcher of all time.” BiblioBuffet.com, 4/24/11
“A delightful, informative account…High Heat isn’t a precise and orderly book. Like having a conversation with a supremely informed and eloquent fan, you’ll find the usual array of diversions and revelations and personal observations. But damned if you don’t devour the book with a smile on your face and a refreshed perspective.” Viva Tysons, March/April 2011“[An] engrossing nonfiction book exploring the secrets behind baseball’s most formidable pitch.” BaseballReflections.com, 1/17/11High Heat accomplishes the art of story-telling while remaining historically correct and informative…Anyone who is a SABR member, baseball historian, or avid fan of the game would truly enjoy the book…A wonderful read.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9780306819704
ISBN-10: 0306819708
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2011
Pages: 304
Language: English