Synopsis at Good Reads:
Mike Piazza's autobiography—the candid story of the greatest hitting catcher in the history of baseball, from his inauspicious draft selection to his Hall of Fame-worthy achievements and the unusual controversies that marked his career.
Mike Piazza was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 baseball draft as a "courtesy pick." The Dodgers never expected him to play for them – or anyone else. Mike had other ideas. Overcoming his detractors, he became the National League rookie of the year in 1993, broke the record for season batting average by a catcher, holds the record for career home runs at his position, and was selected as an All Star twelve times.
Mike was groomed for baseball success by his ambitious, self-made father in Pennsylvania, a classic father-son American-dream story. With the Dodgers, Piazza established himself as baseball's premier offensive catcher; but the team never seemed willing to recognize him as the franchise player he was. He joined the Mets and led them to the memorable 2000 World Series with their cross-town rivals, the Yankees. Mike tells the story behind his dramatic confrontation with Roger Clemens in that series. He addresses the steroid controversy that hovered around him and Major League Baseball during his time and provides valuable perspective on the subject. Mike also addresses the rumors of being gay and describes the thrill of his game-winning home run on September 21, 2001, the first baseball game played in New York after the 9/11 tragedy. Along the way, he tells terrific stories about teammates and rivals that baseball fans will devour.
Long Shot is written with insight, candor, humor, and charm. It's surprising and inspiring, one of the great sports autobiographies.
My review at Good Reads:
1 of 5 stars
It took me a long time to read this book. I expected to like it a lot. I was a Piazza fan from his rookie year. I watched any game on cable TV that included the Dodgers, listened to night games when the Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates or any team with a radio superstation and a good bounce that could delver the games from LA at night to the Detroit area. I even paid some serious cash to the baseball card store when they got his Bowman rookie card in. I called him my first "adopted rookie," telling everyone about him in 1993 and following his career. I was excited to read his autobiography.
Mike was a great ball player. Mike is a lousy writer.
The wonderful story of the 62nd round draft pick who became a super star became tainted with incessant whining. He had help getting to levels in his minor league days but seemed to find fault because things weren't happening his way or at his pace. He had the talent that drew the media but lacked media savvy and blamed the media when they were critical. And I could have accepted, even belived that, if it wasn't a career-long recurring theme.
Too big a portion of the book was devoted to defending the steroid users. While I do agree that legal supplements and weight rooms contribute to numbers getting bigger and records being broken, that doesn't excuse the use of performance enhancing drugs and in truth makes it more inexcusable.
There is just too much unessesary detail in everything. The book is over 600 pages and it would have lost nothing if it was edited to 400. In the end the books tells that Mike was a great player who didn't get credit for how great he was. He powered through constant adversity because everyone stood in the way. He sure hates the Dodgers. Steroid users aren't so bad and our society would be better if we were all Roman Catholic. My husband asked me if reading Piazza's book changed my mind about him. No, Mike Piazza was an awesome baseball player who had a stellar career. I just don't want to read it if he writes another book and I don't think I'd want to have a beer with him.