According to baseball hall of famer John Smoltz, The Arm by Jeff Passan is the “most important baseball book in years.” The book was published by HarperCollins in 2016, and is available on Amazon.com for only eleven dollars. For the book, he followed around two MLB pitchers, Todd Coffey and Daniel Hudson to get a first hand experience of what Tommy John Surgery is like and what the rehab process entails. Passan then went to Japan to see how their baseball culture compares to ours. He also went to Driveline Baseball Academy where he met with their directors to see how they are combating the epidemic that is Tommy John surgery.
One of my favorite things from the book is that Passan was actually in the operating room during Todd Coffey’s surgery, which gives the reader insight into what exactly happens in the operating room. Passan does a really good balancing act between science and baseball in the book. He can quickly transition from talking about the medical side of baseball, to the personal/emotional side of baseball that most fans can relate to. Fans usually only see what happens AFTER the surgery, and what Passan did was peek behind that curtain to bring the normal, everyday fan something that he or she may not exactly know about.
This book is not only for baseball fans. This book is great for parents for young kids who want to be or already is a pitcher. At a young age, parents are the last line of defense for making sure that their kids are healthy. The kid is not going to take himself out of the game, and the parent knows their kid better than the coach. This is an educational, fun, and quick read which can pay off big time in the future.
With The Arm, Passan did not only want to write a good baseball book, he wanted to write an important one. And, if you ask me, he achieved both.