From the beginning, ’68 was a season rocked by national tragedy and sweeping change. Opening Day was postponed and later played in the shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral. That summer, as the pennant races were heating up, the assassination of Robert Kennedy was later followed by rioting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. But even as tensions boiled over and violence spilled into the streets, something remarkable was happening in major league ballparks across the country. Pitchers were dominating like never before, and with records falling and shut-outs mounting, many began hailing ’68 as “The Year of the Pitcher".
Recently widowed and now retired, Billy Bryan is “coming to the end of many things.” Then a long-forgotten scrapbook stirs memories of a distant past - and beckons him and his grown daughter on a reluctant journey to relive his role in history. In 1947 Bryan was playing winter ball in Cuba, his future as uncertain as the island country’s. Then one fateful night Bryan witnessed a young student radical named Fidel unleash an amazing curveball. So begins Bryan's tug-of-war with destiny.
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.