Almost Perfect by Joe Cox
The Heartbreaking Pursuit of Pitching's Holy Grail

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Heartbreak is a constant companion in the sports world, the notion of just-missed opportunity. Cox captures that sense, even as the men themselves acknowledge that this is how it goes sometimes in the game that they love.
-The Maine Edge

Synopsis

The rich, poignant tales of major league baseball’s most hard-luck fraternity—the pitchers of its Almost-Perfect Games

From 1908 to 2015, there have been thirteen pitchers who have begun Major League Baseball games by retiring the first twenty-six opposing batters, but then, one out from completing a perfect game, somehow faltering (or having perfection stolen from them). Three other pitchers did successfully retire twenty-seven batters in a row, but are still not credited with perfect games. While stories of pitching the perfect game have been told and retold, Almost Perfect looks at how baseball, at its core, is about heartbreak, and these sixteen men are closer to what baseball really is, and why we remain invested in the sport. Author Joe Cox visits this notion through a century of baseball and through these sixteen pitchers—recounting their games in thrilling fashion, telling the personal stories of the fascinating (and very human) baseball figures involved, and exploring the historical American and baseball backdrops of each flawed gem.

From George “Hooks” Wiltse's nearly perfect game in 1908 to “Hard Luck” Harvey Haddix’s 12-inning, 36-consecutive-outs performance on May 26, 1959 (the most astounding single-game pitching performance in baseball history) to Max Scherzer’s near miss in 2015, Joe Cox’s book captures the action, the humanity, and the history of the national pastime’s greatest “almosts.”
 

About Joe Cox

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Published February 1, 2017 by Lyons Press. 280 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, History.
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The Maine Edge

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Reviewed by Allen Adams on Feb 01 2017

Heartbreak is a constant companion in the sports world, the notion of just-missed opportunity. Cox captures that sense, even as the men themselves acknowledge that this is how it goes sometimes in the game that they love.

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