Mike Sowell is a sports historian and the author of three baseball books, including The Pitch That Killed about Ray Chapman and Carl Mays. Named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times in 1989, and winner of the CASEY Award for best baseball book of 1989, The Pitch That Killed tells the story of the only on-field fatality in major league baseball history, when the Yankees' Mays beaned the Indians' Chapman in the final weeks of the 1920 American League pennant race.
Sowell also wrote about baseball tragedies in his other books. One Pitch Away, about the 1986 baseball postseason and the key players involved, featured Donnie Moore, the Angels pitcher whose suicide two years later was linked to his role in the 1986 ALCS, and Bill Buckner, whose 20-year career was tainted by missing a ground ball in Game 6 of the World Series. July 2, 1903 explored the mysterious death of Hall-of-Famer Ed Delahanty, who died after being swept over Niagara Falls.
In addition to his books and articles on baseball history, Sowell wrote the text for Cardtoons, a set of baseball parody cards that led to a lawsuit with the Major League Baseball Players Association. In Cardtoons v. MLBPA, the court ruled in 1996 that the cards parodying the players and their greed were protected by the First Amendment.
- Casey Award, Spitball: The Baseball Literary Magazine (accessed March 17, 2010).
- Susan Jacoby, "Death on the Mound", New York Times, September 17, 1989.
- Mike Penner, " Angel Fans Can't 86 This From Their Memories", Los Angeles Times, May 17, 1995.
- Phil Jackman, "Mystery of Delahanty's death makes for Hall of Fame book", Baltimore Sun, June 23, 1992.
- David Barron, "Cardtoons set gives baseball's greedmeisters their due", Houston Chronicle, February 25, 1996.
- Dave Anderson, "Sports of The Times;Baseball's New Satire: 'Cardtoons'", New York Times, June 3, 1995.
- Leigh Jones, "Cardtoons parody ruling strikes `Very Minor' hit", The Journal-Record (Oklahoma City), January 7, 1997.
- Cardtoons v. Major League Baseball Players Association, 95 F.3d 959 (10th Circuit 1996).
- "Mike Sowell Giving the Keynote Speech" Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine., SABR website, May 27, 2003 (accessed March 17, 2010).
- Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame[permanent dead link] (accessed March 17, 2010).
- "10 journalists due honors", Tulsa World, March 4, 2007.