How Baseball Works


64 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 1-894379-61-6
DDC j796.357





Illustrations by Greg Hall
Reviewed by Bob Forsey

Bob Forsey is the education officer at the Newfoundland Museum in St.


How Baseball Works is an insider’s guide to the game as discussed and
hotly debated by managers, coaches, and players. The book, which surveys
the evolution of baseball from 1845 to 2004, focuses on the “inner
games” that take place between managers, pitchers, and batters as well
as between runners and catchers. This is contrasted to the explosiveness
of a slugger’s three-run homer, a speedster stealing home, and a
relief pitcher striking out the side. Thomas recalls how crafty Leroy
“Satchel” Paige confronted slugger Josh Gibson in the ninth inning
of a Negro League game. With two out, Satchel deliberately walked the
bases full to face him. Then the audacious Paige ordered his fielders to
sit down and calmly struck out Gibson with three fastballs. When another
legend of the game, Ted Williams, a lifetime .344 hitter and the last to
hit .400 (.406 in 1941) talked about hitting, everybody listened. He
advised, “Get a good ball to hit in your happy zone.”

Thomas describes what it takes to produce the complete player today.
Off-season workouts were unusual for ballplayers during the era of the
eight-team leagues. Now millionaire players train year-round to get fit,
and many have personal consultants to advise them on physical fitness
and nutrition as well as rituals to make them better hitters. Babe Ruth
would smile if told this while he ate his pre-game monster steak and six
fried eggs on a high mound of potatoes, followed by a pot of coffee and
a quart of whisky.

Greg Hall’s upbeat, amusing, and insightful illustrations enhance
this colourful survey. Highly recommended.


Thomas, Keltie., “How Baseball Works,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 28, 2024,