"STRIKE THREE! My Years in the ‘Pen" is a story of the top strikeout (SO) pitching staff in the history of the American League: the Cleveland Indians of 1964-68. The staff set: 1) individual season SO records; 2)consecutive season SO records; 3) SO records by comparison to the rest of the AL; 4) SO records in comparison to the NL. Moreover, they accomplished these feats principally in Cleveland Municipal Stadium, where the largest foul area post-WW II devoured SO opportunities... and with their young SO stars in the first years of major league service.
STRIKE THREE! is a story of the strikeouts, the staff, the stars, the starters, the stoppers, the stadium, the statistics, and the steroids that contributed to the staff's pitching strikeout records being broken. "Recent acknowlegements by hitters, such as Mark McGwire...and pitchers...such as Andy Pettitte...that they used performance-enhancing drugs raises the specter of a complex interaction of their effects upon the forces of offense and defense in conflict on the field. Accusations by Ferguson Jenkins that McGwire should apologize to pitchers ignores the fact that some pitchers should apologize to hitters, and guarantees that the battle on the field will continue as a war of words for years to come." The indictment of Roger Clemens certainly shifts attention away from the effects of performance-enhancing drugs on hitters and home run records, and onto PEDs' effects on pitchers and strikeout records, and makes the strikeout records of the Indians' staff all the more relevant decades later.
STRIKE THREE! is a mixture of statistics and story. The statistical analysis and conclusions are thrown out for digestion, discussion, and debate... a time-honored enduring tradition of the diamond. STRIKE THREE!'s prove-me-wrong attitude calls for consideration and response from each and every reader, be they die-hard sabermetrician, or casual baseball fan.
As a story, it is a tapestry of recollection, reminiscence, and remembrance of some of the on- and off-the-field antics of the cast, the characters, the clowns who participated in the daily events surrounding the record-setting seasons. This mosaic is interwoven on a framework of personal involvement of the bullpen-catcher author, giving not only structure and substance to observation and opinion, but also painting a novelette-like picture of personal conflict and resolution regarding his career decision. The story is told with the self-deprecating sense of realistic appreciation that many are called, but few are chosen for a career in major league ball baseball. In presenting the above, STRIKE THREE! attempts to reflect the dual mission of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) by fostering the study of baseball past and present, while providing a vehicle for educational, historical and research information about the game. It uniquely satisfies not only the many baseball enthusiasts who enjoy the stories of the characters and the game, but also those interested in the game behind the game, and the statistical analysis that make baseball more than just a game.
But STRIKE THREE! is much more than a story about baseball. It’s a tale of a teenager striking out, failing to achieve one dream, but ultimately hitting a home run with another. It’s a story of patience, persistence, and perseverance: the game will come to you! It’s a warning of the risk of taking for granted objects, occurrences, and opportunities whose true significance might become obvious only years later. It’s an account of the grip a baseball can apply to its holder. To the extent that sports and baseball mirror life, STRIKE THREE! is a reflection on the eras of a man’s life and of the game itself.
Catch STRIKE THREE! today!