The Last of His Kind

Clayton Kershaw and the Burden of Greatness

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By Andy McCullough

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$27.99

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Format:

  1. Audiobook Download (Unabridged) $27.99
  2. ebook $17.99 $22.99 CAD
  3. Hardcover $32.00 $41.00 CAD

The definitive biography of Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, based on exclusive interviews with Kershaw and more than 200 others, examining the genesis of his brilliance, his epic quest to win the World Series, and his singular place within the evolving baseball landscape—from the former Los Angeles Times national baseball writer, now a senior writer at The Athletic.

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. 

Genre:

  • “Reading Andy McCullough is like watching Clayton Kershaw: you sit back and savor a master of his craft. In The Last of His Kind, McCullough captures Kershaw as only he can, with graceful prose and lively details that illustrate the forces driving one of baseball’s towering figures. With rare access to the private world of a very public—but very guarded—superstar, McCullough offers a stirring portrait of what it means, what it takes, and what it costs to be an all-time great.”
    Tyler Kepner, author of K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches and The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series
  • “Andy McCullough delivers a masterclass biography of the captivating Dodgers titan. Clayton Kershaw was always chasing something out there, and The Last of His Kind takes you to the depths of his imperfect pursuit of perfection. As worthy heirs go, Kershaw is to Sandy Koufax what McCullough is to Roger Kahn. Mandatory reading for anyone who wants to know what it takes to be great.”
    Ian O’Connor, author of The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter and Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski
  • “Clayton Kershaw comes to life—the good, the great, and the hardball calamities—in this vibrant and soulful rendering by Andy McCullough. When one of the game’s most gifted writers takes on a subject as complex as Kershaw, both the man and the career, the result is an exceptional book.”
    Tim Brown, author of The Tao of the Backup Catcher, Imperfect with Jim Abbott, and The Phenomenon with Rick Ankiel
  • “The colorful life of the best pitcher of his generation, as chronicled by the greatest pure baseball writer of his generation. This is the literary equivalent of a perfect game, filled with the beauty of a Clayton Kershaw curveball and the richness of an Andy McCullough paragraph. It will make your summer sing.”
    Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times columnist and panelist on ESPN’s Around the Horn

On Sale
May 7, 2024
Publisher
Hachette Audio
ISBN-13
9781668641934

Andy McCullough

About the Author

Andy McCullough is a senior writer at The Athletic. He has covered Major League Baseball since 2010, previously for the Los Angeles Times, the Kansas City Star, and The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. His work has been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors on seven occasions for beat writing, explanatory reporting, and feature writing. He lives in New York with his wife, the writer Stephanie Apstein. This is his first book.

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