May 23rd, 2013
Anyone who has watched baseball in the last 15 year, no matter what team you root for, knows who Mike Piazza is: (Probable) Hall of Famer (He garnered 57.8% in voting his first year on the ballot), probably one of, if not THE best hitting catchers of all time, and, the NY Met whom Roger Clemens threw the broken bat at during the 2000 Subway Series, sparking a lifelong hatred between the players. (And you can’t tell me that in 2004 when Roger got lit up during the All-Star Game and Mike was catching, that he wasn’t tipping Clemens’ pitches…)
And this year, coinciding with his first year on the HOF ballot, Piazza wrote a book, chronicling his VERY unlikely climb from barely making it–he was a 62nd round draft pick in 1988, and probably wouldn’t have made it at all, if it weren’t for the fact that Dodgers icon Tommy Lasorda was his “goomba” (and a good friend of his father’s)—to Rookie of the Year in 1993, and surpassing Carlton Fisk’s home run record of 351 in 2004, and ended up with 427 career homers, and a .308 career batting average.
I really like how the use of another writer was not apparent in the book–you feel that Mike actually sat down and put pen to paper, as his personality comes through, loud and clear. Unfortunately, to some readers, that was a double edged sword, as they felt that he fought too hard to make his case, and actually came off as quite arrogant.
I personally felt that it was more drive and intensity than ego–he wanted it SO bad, and was willing to do anything to make that happen–and only upon reflection, did he realize how it appeared. I also think he was, (and still is to some degree) very insecure, and always felt like he needed to prove himself–to validate that he belonged–and that it wasn’t a mistake.
Overall, it’s a great book–no sugar coating here, you gets the warts and all view of a great player–who really was a long shot…
Available where all good books are sold, Long Shot is the perfect book for any fan of Mike, catchers, or anyone who enjoys a story of overcoming long odds to make it. Check it out!