There are several things that are just understood in baseball. All players get involved in a brawl. All hitters will go through a slump at some time. And, probably the most understood, all pitchers are strange.

Because of their very strangeness, pitchers certainly have interesting stories to tell. They are equal to the quarterback on a football team. They handle the ball on every play and have the attention of everyone watching.

Seth Swirsky's ongoing love of baseball led him to dive deeper into the game's rich history after writing Baseball Letters: A Fan's Correspondence with His Heroes. For Every Pitcher Tells a Story, Swirsky wrote to nearly 300 pitchers, including some heavy hitters, receiving about 200 replies that demonstrate the degree to which ballplayers have long seen themselves as the custodians of baseball's history. The result is a book with actual letters from players in their own handwriting, along with vivid photos of the players themselves.

The book begins with a letter from Montreal Expos pitcher Carl Pavano. His name may not ring a bell until you remember that he was the one that gave up home run number 70 to Mark McGwire in 1998. Here's a sample of what appears in his letter: I said to myself all along if I get a chance to pitch against McGwire, I will not walk him. I will challenge and beat him! . . . First pitch, CRACK-GONE, #70. And the rest is history. As Swirsky states, This book does not require you to have a great knowledge of the game of baseball. It does ask you, however, to use your imagination to transport yourself to the moment that each player wrote about. Some letters are long, some are short. Each, with the help of imagination, tells a story. Some of the better-known pitchers included are Cy Young, Steve Carlton, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, David Cone, Tom Glavine, and Kerry Wood. In addition, some great sluggers like Reggie Jackson and Jeff Bagwell add their observations about pitchers they've faced.

Every Pitcher Tells a Story is so comprehensive it even includes an appearance from that lovable loser, Charlie Brown. Who knew that he would get nervous pitching in front of his lifelong crush, the little red-haired girl ? Scott Grissom is still waiting to order his Chicago Cubs World Series tickets.

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