Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.


Fastball (10/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 84 minutes.

OK for children.

This is a fascinating movie, especially for someone who played baseball at some time in their lifetime. I was a pitcher outfielder in high school. We had a lousy team. In my senior year, I got the start against Mater Dei, a longtime established school, who was led by the player who was the CIF player the year that year, pitcher Tony Ankerson.

Ankerson had a fastball between 85 and 90 miles an hour and pitched no-hitters virtually every time out. I batted second in the lineup. Our first hitter popped out. I came up and worked the count to 3-2. I didnít know if Ankerson had a curveball (I, myself, didnít have a fastball and threw nothing but curves and knucklers which nobody in high school at that time had ever seen so I was effective), but I hadnít seen one yet and I figured he was coming with yet another fastball. I was right and I swung. Even though the guy was lightning fast, I was a little early but I really hit it solidly, over the left fielderís head for home run, the only home run Ankerson allowed that year.

The result of this was that I really thought that anybody can hit a fastball (I got a single later in the game), no matter how fast. But this film changed my mind because great players, like George Brett, tell what itís like to go up against a 100 mph fastball. They say that itís a lot different than going up against a 92 mph fastball.

The film goes into a lot of fascinating science, pointing out that the difference between a 92 mile-per-hour fastball and a 100 mph fastball is 4 feet or 50 milliseconds and that is a huge difference when the ball is only traveling less than 60 feet.

But thereís really more to this movie than that. Lots of players are interviewed. One, New York Yankee fire-balling  reliever Goose Gossage said he was never more scared than in the 1978 playoff game against the Red Sox. He said he was shaking as he trotted onto the field (he got Hall of Fame Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastremski to pop out to end the game and send the Yankees to the World Series). But he then showed his supreme confidence in himself, saying, ďIf I could change one thing in my career, I wouldnít change a single thing, even the balls that went for home runs.Ē

Ty Cobb said about Walter Johnson, ďHe threw the ball so hard it hissed as it came by.Ē

The film tries to determine who is the fastest pitcher of all time, narrowing it down to Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Nolan Ryan, and present day Cincinnati Reds Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman. It also tells the fascinating story of Steve Dalkowski, whom everyone agrees was the faster pitcher of all time. Steve couldn't get the ball over the plate so never pitched in the big leagues, but there's more to his story than that.

They were all clocked, even Johnson, and the film analyses the clocking and comes up with the fastest. Far be it from me to be a spoiler!

Iíve seen lots of baseball clips but there are clips in this film Iíve never seen, including some fine clips of the legendary Johnson.

This is a film that no baseball fan should miss. (Available on Amazon Video).

 

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