Review: Mike Sowell's "The Pitch That Killed."

Title: The Pitch That Killed: Carl Mays, Ray Chapman and the Pennant Race of 1920

Author: Mike Sowell.

Buy it on Amazon (available as an ebook and hard copy).

On August 16, 1920, with the Cleveland Indians locked in a tight pennant race with the New York Yankees, Carl Mays “beaned” Indians shortstop Ray Chapman at the top of the fifth inning. Chapman slowly collapsed to his knees, blood dripping from his ear. Chapman regained his feet and began to walk off the field, but he collapsed. He died twelve hours later, on the morning of August 17, becoming to date the only major league baseball killed playing baseball.

I’m an Indians fan and grew up in the CLE so I had to pick this book up. The Pitch That Killed is a fair, excellent story which focuses on the 1920 pennant race, Carl Mays, and Ray Chapman. The author did a good job of being fair to Mays, and Chapman, of course, comes across as a tragic figure and an all-around good guy. As a bonus, the book has a fair amount of nice information about Cleveland in the teens and twenties.

Recommended to baseball fans, history buffs, and readers who enjoy books about sports.