Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Platt (Only the Strong Survive: The Odyssey of Allen Iverson, 2002, etc.) tells the story of how Moyer turned a below-average career into the stuff of legend, becoming, at 49, the oldest pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win a game.
Released from the Texas Rangers in 1990 at the age of 28, Moyer’s career might well have been over. Instead, he went on to pitch for six more big-league clubs, win a World Series with his hometown Philadelphia Phillies and rise to No. 35 on the all-time wins list with 269. With a sub–90 mph fastball even in his prime, Moyer’s success is a slap in the face to the number-crunching statisticians manning professional baseball’s front offices. As the book’s title suggests, much of that success is credited to his never-say-die attitude and determination to prove doubters and naysayers—of whom there are many—wrong. Equally as much, if not more, is attributed to his mastery of the mental game, learned through his relationship with baseball psychology guru Harvey Dorfman. Though the book is presented as a memoir by Moyer, it is narrated entirely by Platt, who was there to witness the pitcher’s struggles as he attempted to come back yet again following a 2011 injury that should have ended his career. There’s more than enough drama in Moyer’s unique story to overcome the book’s slightly confusing chronology, and the subject comes across as one of professional sports’ all-too-rare truly good guys. But the real value here is in the portrait of the mind of an elite pitcher, revealing the inner structures of the game in a way that will deepen even a casual fan’s understanding and enjoyment.
A fascinating look at one man’s improbable athletic journey, offering insight into one of sport’s most cerebral positions.