The Year of the Pitcher is the story of the remarkable 1968 baseball season, which culminated in one of the greatest World Series contests ever, with the Detroit Tigers coming back from a 3–1 deficit to beat the Cardinals in Game Seven of the World Series.

In 1968, two remarkable pitchers would dominate the game as well as the broadsheets. One was black, the other white. Bob Gibson, together with the St. Louis Cardinals, embodied an entire generation's hope for integration at a heated moment in American history. Denny McLain, his adversary, was a crass self-promoter who eschewed the team charter and his Detroit Tigers teammates to zip cross-country in his own plane. For one season, the nation watched as these two men and their teams swept their respective league championships to meet at the World Series. Gibson set a major league record that year with a 1.12 ERA. McLain won more than 30 games in 1968, a feat not achieved since 1934 and untouched since. Together, the two have come to stand as iconic symbols, giving the fans “The Year of the Pitcher” and changing the game. Evoking a nostalgic season and its incredible characters, this is the story of one of the great rivalries in sports and an indelible portrait of the national pastime during a turbulent year—and the two men who electrified fans from all walks of life.

What they're saying about The Year of the Pitcher

"Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, a transformative season, a fabulous World Series, and a nation undergoing its own radical change - they've all found their perfect chronicler in Sridhar Pappu. His book is both a pleasure and a revelation."
—Daniel Okrent, author of 9 Innings and Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

"I covered Gibson and McClain in the 1968 World Series, but I never grasped what it all meant to the nation and its pastime until I read Pappu's rich, insightful, lively book."
—Robert Lipsyte, author of An Accidental Sportswriter

“Here’s the rare baseball book that succeeds as first-rate sports-writing and dramatic history. Sridhar Pappu tells the story of Bob Gibson and Denny McLain brilliantly, with prodigious reporting and beautiful writing.” 
—Jonathan Eig, author of Luckiest Man and Opening Day

"Capturing baseball and its relationship to society in the 1960s on and off the field through the experiences of two teams and their two star pitchers. ... New York Times “Male Animal” columnist Pappu tells this story, but he explores so much more than the battle between two pitchers and their teams. .. A fine history of a vital period in the history of not only baseball, but America."

"This exciting work by New York Times columnist Pappu is a sophisticated look at the 1968 baseball season ... He skillfully weaves the two players’ contrasting styles—McLain’s brazenness and 'visions of grandeur' and Gibson’s steely gaze and 'fierce persona'—into a larger story about the pitchers’ effect on baseball; changing attitudes about players’ rights; and the shadow of politics and race cast over the sport during the year of the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr."
—Publishers Weekly