Swing and a Hit: Nine Innings of What Baseball Taught Me

Grand Central. May 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781538709610. $29. SPORTS
Throughout 17 seasons in Major League Baseball, O’Neill was an immensely talented hitter, even claiming a batting title in 1994 with an electric .359 average. He also had incredible good fortune, having played with Pete Rose, Dave Concepcion, Don Mattingly, and Derek Jeter while winning five World Series Championships, including four titles in nine seasons as a pillar of several iconic Yankees lineups. O’Neill’s memoir is full of vibrant anecdotes from his charmed life in baseball, but its singular focus is clear: hitting. Across 10 chapters (framed as a nine-inning game with an extra inning), O’Neill writes about the players, coaches, and managers who most influenced his career as a hitter while dispensing his own hitting advice to young players. Baseball fans who aren’t enamored of the modern game’s data-driven preference for home run hitters and fireballers will surely find O’Neill’s hitting insights from a different era of baseball refreshing.
VERDICT This is a book for baseball fans, many of whom will enjoy O’Neill’s unique insights on some of the greatest hitters of all time.
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