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More than any baseball player of his generation, Clayton Kershaw has embodied the burden of athletic greatness, the prizes and perils that await those who strive for it all. He is a three-time Cy Young award winner, the first pitcher to win National League MVP since Bob Gibson, and a surefire, first-ballot Hall of Famer. Many of his peers consider him the greatest pitcher to ever climb atop a big-league mound.
In an age when baseball became more impersonal, a sport altered by adherence to algorithms and actuarial tables, Kershaw personified the game’s lingering humanity, with his joy and suffering on display each October as he chased a championship. He pitched through pain, placing his future at risk on the game’s grandest stages. He endeared himself to teammates and foes alike with his refusal to make excuses, with his willingness to shoulder the blame when he failed. And he only further impressed them when he returned, year after year, even as his body broke down from the strain of his profession. The journey captivated fans in Los Angeles and beyond, so much so that when the Dodgers finally won a title in 2020, the baseball world exulted in his triumph.
The Last of His Kind traces Kershaw’s path from a boyhood fractured by divorce to his development as one of the most-heralded pitching prospects in Texas history to his emergence in Los Angeles as the spiritual heir to Sandy Koufax. But the book also charts Kershaw’s place in baseball’s changing landscape, as his own stubbornness butted against the game’s evolution. The story of baseball in the 21st century can be told through Kershaw’s career, from his apprenticeship with icons like Joe Torre and Greg Maddux, to his wary relationship with the implementation of analytics, to his victimhood in the 2017 sign-stealing scandal at the hands of the Houston Astros. The game has changed so much during Kershaw’s illustrious career. To understand how baseball is played today, and how it got that way, you must understand the journey of Clayton Kershaw.
- On Sale
- May 7, 2024
- Page Count
- 368 pages
- Hachette Books