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Allen St. JohnDid you hear the one about the anthropologist and the relief pitcher? If George Gmelch's Inside Pitch reads like an academic paper, it's because it is. Gmelch, a former minor leaguer, is a professor at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and he was clearly wearing his professorial tweeds while he was doing his, um, fieldwork for this project.
The result is a book that would do an admirable job of explaining the game to his counterparts at the University of New Delhi, to whom a baseball clubhouse would be as foreign as an Inuit village. However, much of the information in Inside Pitch will be old news even to casual fans.
But for readers patient enough to sift through Gmelch's often leaden prose, Inside Pitch contains some interesting snippets of oral history, such as Frank Robinson's harrowing account of the first days of his retirement.
l; The Washington Post