A memoir from a former star pitcher in Major League Baseball.
In his first book—written with YES Network analyst Curry (co-author, with Derek Jeter: The Life You Imagine, 2000)—five-time All-Star Cone offers advice on becoming a successful pitcher, recollections of specific games, and professional gossip about teammates and opponents encountered during his long career (1986-2003). From an early age, the author, who grew up in Kansas City, was determined to play baseball professionally—and not just as any player, but specifically as a pitcher, arguably the most important position on the field. In the early pages, Cone discusses the tireless coaching from his father as well as the influences of his mother and siblings. Quickly, however, the author moves on to baseball matters. He focuses on a professional career that began in the minor leagues on teams controlled by his hometown Kansas City Royals—and ultimately included five World Series championships. Cone concedes that sometimes he acted immaturely off the field, but his dedication to the craft of pitching is undeniable—as a student and, later, a teacher. His insights about how pitchers must develop not only physically, but also emotionally and intellectually will be enlightening for all baseball fans. Readers uninterested in the didactic pitching insights should find satisfaction in Cone’s accounts of his stints with the Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox. The author compliments many players, coaches, and managers, but he is also candid about the flaws of many of these individuals. Thematic chapters about the synergy—or lack thereof—between pitchers and catchers, and between pitchers and home-plate umpires, add to the richness of the narrative. Currently a broadcaster for the YES Network, Cone briefly discusses that career, as well. Although the book is mostly chronological, the ordering of the chapters is occasionally puzzling. The narrative will be best digested as individual chapters rather than a connected narrative.
A well-intentioned, competent sports memoir that will appeal most to MLB fans.