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Publishers WeeklyInstead of focusing solely on a single game-even though the author and others have dubbed the July 1963, 16-inning duel between Marichal and Spahn "the greatest game ever pitched"-Kaplan undertakes a tripartite biography of both pitchers and their famous match-up. That may have been the perfect pitch to Kaplan's publisher, but on paper, the Sports Illustrated veteran swings and largely misses. The narrative darts between Marichal, Spahn, the big game, and the many less-significant games that led up to the famous four-hour affair at pitcher-friendly Candlestick Park. In fact, Kaplan seems to devote fewer time to this game-renowned for both hurlers going the distance without relief-than he does to exploring the plight of Latino ballplayers in the 1960s and the impact of pitch counts on modern-day baseball. Not that this is such a bad thing; this game would never happen today and the author skillfully explains why. Kaplan also breaks from typical sportswriter prose, drawing comparisons between Spahn's final years and a late scene in Shakespeare's "King Lear," for instance, and mostly overcomes his zig-zagging structure.
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