Swing Kings: The Inside Story of Baseball’s Home Run Revolution

Date(s) - 09/17/2020
7:00 pm-8:00 pm


September 17, 7-8 p.m.



We are delighted to announce our third free Zoom event in the relaunch of the Great Fenway Park Writers Series, sports’ most celebrated literary forum that continues as the legacy of its founder, the late George Mitrovich.

On Sept. 17 at 7 p.m., we will be featuring “Swing Kings: The Inside Story of Baseball’s Home Run Revolution” by Jared Diamond, the national baseball writer for the Wall Street Journal. Called a “fantastic book” by Hall of Fame baseball writer Jayson Stark, Diamond takes us inside the game’s explosion of home runs to explain that it is not a function of steroids or “juiced baseballs” but the byproduct of players who have remade their swings, guided by a remarkable cadre of renegade swing gurus.

Beyond the new metrics of “launch angle” and “exit velocity,” Diamond offers a remarkable gallery of characters who have emerged as the hitting gurus who have altered the approach of some of the game’s best hitters, including Boston’s J.D. Martinez. The cast includes a swimming pool contractor, the owner of a billiards hall, and an ex-hippie, all of whom have been embraced by a game that historically has been resistant to outliers. But Diamond also connects today’s revolution to ideas originally espoused by perhaps the game’s greatest hitter, Ted Williams.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Jared take us behind the story of what Sports Illustrated’s Ben Reiter calls “an exhilarating story of innovation: how an alchemy of talent, technology, faith and desperation upended seemingly inviolable truths, and expanded the limits of human performance.” Register now at the link provided, and take advantage of the opportunity to purchase the book and make a voluntary contribution to the Red Sox Foundation at the other links you can find on this page.

The Great Fenway Park Writers Series would like to encourage you to make use of the great local bookstores in your community! For this event, we have partnered with Frugal Bookstore in Roxbury.


If you don’t live in Boston, you might consider looking for an independent bookstore closer to home.

*Donations to the Red Sox Foundation are Encouraged


“Jared Diamond has written a fantastic book. It takes us beneath the surface of a fast-changing sport, grabs ahold of a hazy concept like “launch angle” and turns it into a super-entertaining tale of real human beings – people who went searching for the hidden secrets to a better swing and a better future…and found exactly what they were looking for.”
-JAYSON STARK, senior baseball writer, The Athletic

“Swing Kings is a compelling read, shedding light on today’s home run craze through the eyes of rebel coaches and curious ballplayers turned converts.”
-Cardinals Magazine

“Goes deep into the finer details of hitting. … Like the intricacies of the swings, it is custom-made for a certain type of baseball reader.”
-New York Post

“You will become a smarter baseball fan after reading Swing Kings.”
-Utica Observer-Dispatch

“A rollicking account of the recent shift in that most joyous and elemental moment in sports: the home run. … This breezy and engaging history will be a hit with baseball aficionados and casual fans alike.”
-Publishers Weekly

“This is the best baseball book I’ve read in years. Jared Diamond has ripped the cover off an untold chapter in modern baseball history: how a stubborn group of castoffs and outsiders revived the art of power hitting by challenging 100 years of baseball orthodoxy. Swing Kings is a love letter to small people with big ideas.”
-Sam Walker, author of The Captain Class

“Introduces a cast of characters worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster. … Baseball fans who enjoyed Michael Lewis’s Moneyball will embrace Diamond’s account.”
-Library Journal

“With Swing Kings, Jared Diamond offers a remarkable primer on the innovators and innovations that upended modern baseball offensive philosophies and reshaped the game in recent years. Yet the characters who are illuminated by this tremendously reported book also speak to something more far-reaching, namely why and how outsiders typically lead direction-changing breakthroughs in sports and industries.”
-ALEX SPEIER, author of Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up

“Tells the fascinating story of [the] struggle between the establishment and the innovators. A great way for fans to kick off the new decade.”

“They were baseball’s dissidents, outcasts whispering their heretical theories in secret meetings in far-flung basements and warehouses. Now, they’re the sport’s royalty. Swing Kings is, above all, an exhilarating story of innovation; of how an alchemy of talent, technology, faith, and desperation upended seemingly inviolable truths, and expanded the limits of human performance. With Swing Kings, Jared Diamond has blasted an uppercut drive out of the ballpark.”
-Ben Reiter, New York Times bestselling author of Astroball

“Swing Kings is a fantastic read, a wonderful look at the colorful and outright strange characters whose work on the fringes helped redefine the mainstream. … It captures beautifully the foundational divide within the sport – inertia versus innovation. … Smart and narratively compelling with just the right amount of wonkiness, Swing Kings is – apologies for the cliché – an absolute home run.”
-The Maine Edge