Monday, May 26, 2014

A Pitcher's Story by Roger Angell - Biography of David Cone

             This story is about the career of David Cone, a pitcher who was with the Royals, Mets, and Yankees Red Sox, and Blue Jays throughout his career.  Much of the book is about his declining years with the Yankees although the book opens talking about his no-hitter against the Expos.  

            Getting beyond that, you have flashes of games that David was in and it goes though the 1990’s when the Yankees were winning with Joe Torre at the helm.  If you’re a Yankee fan, you would like this but for others, it seemed to me like the author was just going through the motions.  

             Cone spent a lot of time with the Mets in his early years but that was after The Mets won the 86 world series.  His time came in 1988 when the Mets were battling the Dodgers in the playoffs and lost.  Even though Cone had his best season - 20-3 - he was overshadowed by Orel Hershiser who was considered the Bulldog for going for so many innings. 

              Of course, during the 80’s and early 90’s, this was the era where pitch counts didn’t mean that much.   I remember the Mets having all the momentum in the playoffs against the Dodgers until Gooden went into the 9th inning and let up the home run to Scioscia which was discussed in the book.   Maybe if Gooden was taken out of the game earlier, then the result could have been different although the author doesn’t get into that. 

             As far as pitch counts are concerned, Cone was someone who would go as much as 160 in a game against the Giants under Jeff Torborg in a season where both teams were at the bottom of their divisions.    This was after the championship years when the Mets started on the decline and even had a book written after them called The Worst Team That Money Could Buy.  Again, that era of the Mets wasn’t discussed in the book either. 

             As far as the pitch counts are concerned, I guess you could say that yes, Cone went deep into games many times but in those days, there were probably other pitchers that went just as deep so it was just taken for granted that these pitchers can go for so long and not have the injuries that many young pitchers have today.  It’s hard to understand why that is but it seems to me that older baseball fans say why can’t the young pitchers keep up with the pitchers of the past since they make so much money. 

             I thought it was interesting about Cone’s past with the minor leagues, the Royals,  and all the talk about cocaine.  His past about the rape and the groupie comments was just glossed over.  Nothing was mentioned in the book about steroids though.  

              It’s tough to write a biography when you want to include so much such as Cone’s role in the strike shortened season of 1994, along with Cone’s life and times in the minors.  At 286 pages, this all goes real quick, maybe too quick for me.  

              The one thing I liked about the book was that it gave me a perspective on Cone and the late years with the Yankees.  You really see the frustration the pitcher goes through, trying to hold on for 17 years.  Even when Cone was 4-14 in 2000 and a relief pitcher with the Yankees, he still went on for 3 more years, which wasn’t in the book. 

              In any case, I only give the book 3 stars. 

Ron Hummer

No comments:

Post a Comment