A former major league baseball All-Star and MVP—and current TV analyst for the New York Mets—reviews his boyhood and the dawn of his professional career and reveals some of the secrets of his success.
Although Hernandez claims that he doesn’t want his text to be like other baseball memoirs, in fundamental ways, it is exactly that. The author provides game-by-game accounts, descriptions of influences (good and bad and mixed), and details about influential managers such as Ken Boyer and fellow players, including Pete Rose—though the author does not comment on the Rose exclusion-from-the-Hall-of-Fame controversy. We learn about Hernandez’s Spanish heritage (though his teammates called him “Mex”), his flirtation with drugs, his sometimes-excessive drinking, and his struggles with his father, who trained him but ultimately couldn’t let go. But in his style, Hernandez does distinguish himself, offering a variety of chapters: flashbacks to boyhood (italicized), accounts of his current occupation as a broadcaster, and details about his journey through the minor leagues and into MLB, where, after experiencing some difficulties and frustrations, he soon emerged as a major talent. He alternates the chapters, shifting readers from past to present to past again, and he pauses periodically to elaborate on certain elements of today’s game that annoy him: the obsession with home runs and the consequent shrinking of baseball parks and the soaring influence of statistics (see Moneyball). Hernandez concludes one minitirade with this: “Boring, one-base-at-a-time, home-run baseball. Yuck.” We also learn some things about the author that may surprise readers—e.g., he likes to draw, and he collects first editions and works of art. Refreshingly, he also blames himself for the dissolution of his first marriage, confessing that he cheated on his young wife.
Often candid and even self-deprecating memories by an athlete who once stood at the summit of his profession.