THROWING HEAT: The Autobiography of Nolan Ryan by Nolan & Harvey Frommer Ryan

THROWING HEAT: The Autobiography of Nolan Ryan

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Ryan, one of the greatest power pitchers in baseball history, possessor of a blazing fastball and a scythelike curve, hurls a slow gopher ball in this pedestrian autobiography. What's the problem? Maybe it's his laid-back Texas manner; maybe it's that ever since Ball Four we've grown used to snarling, lusty baseball books. In any case, even old pro Harvey Frommer (Primitive Baseball, p. 256; Baseball's Greatest Rivalry, 1982; etc.) can't put any spin on this pitch. Sure, we learn the facts--Ryan's childhood in Alvin, Tex., where he developed strong wrists by roiling and tying newspapers; his discovery by a Mets scout while still in high school; his happy marriage; his reverence for Sandy Koufax; his spectacular professional career, including major-league records for single-season and lifetime strikeouts. But the story reads with the superficiality of a baseball card (of tire single season record, for example: ""Now that it was over, I savored the moment. That was one of the highlights of my baseball career. . .""). Even Ryan's description of his five no-hitters, sure-fire material for crackling narrative, lies dead on the mound. The only fun here comes in interjected comments by opposing batters, most of whom tend to tremble when describing Ryan's prodigious speed (""I tried to dig a hole behind the batter's box 'cause I was scared to death""--Phil Garner; ""Ryan's the only guy who put tear in me""--Reggie Jackson). Mr. Strikeout strikes out--without even taking a swing.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1988
Publisher: Doubleday