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A Pitcher's Story: Innings with David Cone Paperback – April 1, 2002

3.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For the four decades he's been writing about baseball for The New Yorker, Roger Angell has led all shortlists of the game's most astute and elegant chroniclers. With A Pitcher's Story: Innings with David Cone, he attempts, with thrilling command, something he's never tried before--devoting a whole volume to one player by spending an entire season at his heels. In pitcher David Cone, a cerebral student of his game and articulate practitioner of his craft, Angell finds a subject as perfect as the perfecto Cone hurled against the Expos on Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium in 1999. Better still, he finds in Cone a partner unwilling to shrink beneath the hot light of what would prove to be an agonizing and introspective year.

One of the game's premier pitchers, Cone came unglued in 2000; his 4-14 season was a disaster. The "wizardly old master" Angell had intended to extol was suddenly "Merlin falling headlong down the palace stairs." There's gold to be spun from that, though, and Angell, the essayist as deft alchemist, spins away. The more Cone struggles--the more he battles age, doubt, injury, and the various curves baseball fate can throw--to regain what he's lost, the more valiant he seems. It gives A Pitcher's Story its depth, its heart, its spirit, and its honor. If Angell entered into the project with the intention of getting a grip on the delicacies of pitching, he does, but he comes away with so much more. Like good battery mates, Cone and Angell work with, and off of, each other. Together, they evoke a canny portrait of a career at the crossroads, and a meditation on the powers of an elite athlete's pride. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This is not the book that master baseball chronicler Angell set out to write, the author acknowledges midway through what is essentially a biography of the well-traveled Cone. Angell had planned an "inside look at a wizardly old master at his late last best," but instead found a "Merlin falling headlong down the palace stairs." Neither Cone nor Angell could have foreseen that after the Yankee pitcher gave Angell full access to him during the 2000 baseball season, Cone would have the worst year of his career, finishing with a 4-14 won-lost record. Although Angell's focal point is Cone's last year with the Yankees, he covers all of Cone's life and career, tracking his baseball journey from his days as a star athlete in Kansas City to his stops with the Mets, Blue Jays, Royals and Yankees. Cone had success with each team he played for, including being one of the core players and unofficial team spokesman for the 1996-2000 Yankees with whom Cone won four World Series. Angell (The Summer Game) not only details Cone's highs and lows on and off the playing field, but does a superb job in recording Cone's anxieties and frustrations as the two men move through the disappointing 2000 season. The combination of Angell's love and knowledge of baseball and his truly fascinating subjects makes for another win in Angell's long list of hits about the American pastime. (On-sale: May 2)Forecast: Given the Yankees' recent dominance, this book will attract a lot of fans despite Cone's disappointing last season and his off-seasonn move to the Red Sox. In addition to radio spots in New York and a TV satellite tour to 25 other markets, fans of America's team of the century will call this book a keeper, not only because of Cone but also because of Angell's deservedly high reputation as a sportswriter.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446678465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446678469
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,364,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's hard to classify "A Pitcher's Story" either as a straight sports autobiography/hagiography, or as a classic Roger Angell essay collection. This, the David Cone story, is Angell's first baseball "bio", so to speak, and it helps to have a strong working knowledge of David Cone's career before you begin. And yet if you go in expecting 300 pages of nothing but Cone, you may have trouble navigating Angell's short trips and side steps around the game he loves so much.
Angell's biggest strength, at least as I've always read him, lies in his descriptions of games and players. David Cone started some of the more memorable ballgames of the past decade, and Angell's game summaries are magnetic. I like the poetic way in which he visualizes players. Even the cameo by former Cone teammate Terry Leach becomes grand opera in the Angell tradition ("[he] made right-handed batters bend and weave like matadors.").
Equally fascinating are Angell's musings on the Yankees' frustrating 2000 season, and his attempts to solve a knotty baseball trivia question involving certain members of the 400 homer club (key hint: Cone is not a member).
Angell also loves technical descriptions, of the way pitches break and of the way Cone's right arm functions (or malfunctions). These are the paragraphs that held less of my interest -- but that's Angell's key asset. He looks at baseball from every angle, and writes something for everyone. You may even find yourself, like Angell, reaching for a baseball to see if you, too, can throw the Laredo.
David Cone is lucky to have found such a biographer as this. His career and his mentality deserve more than the standard cut-and-paste job, and this is a book to be proud of.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book. If you are familiar with Roger Angell's baseball essays that appear regularly in the New Yorker, you know his love of the game and the people who play it. This book traces the year of David Cone, a very good pitcher, who just happens to have probably the worst year of his career. To the author and subjects credit, they go on with the project anyway, and it makes for a much different book than the author was planning on. You must pay attention while reading, because the author is often going back to the past of David Cone, shedding light on how he became a successful pitcher, and the ups and downs of his career, and in his life. It is a must read for anyone who enjoys great writing and loves baseball. I personally would love to see an update on what happened to David after he joined the Red Sox, and what he's doing now that he's no longer in baseball. Thanks, Roger!
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Format: Hardcover
I bought the Pitchers story at half price books for around $5.50, after scanning it I thought it might make a good read. The reality was that at times I had to labor to get through to the end of the book, sort of what David Cone's last year as a Yankee was. The book had some good moments but Angell who wanted to write about Cone's craft as a pitcher ended up instead being a recount of his last season with the Yankees and a reflection of his childhood and baseball life up to that point. Angell like Cone did the best he could and struggled to the end.

When I returned the book to half price books they gave me a dollar back. So I guess you can say it was not a complete lost.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of David Cone since I was a little kid growing up in New York as a Met's fan. Even as my team started to unravel after 1986 and 1988, Cone was stellar, leading the league in strikeouts and being the one constant quality player that the team had. When he was traded out of New York I still tried to follow his career and was happy when he returned to New York, even as a Yankee. It was with great disappointment that I read about his last season where he just fell apart and ended with a 4-14 record. It was a sad ending to a great pitcher.
I wanted to read this book about David Cone. The book was originally supposed to be about the craft of pitching, how a top level pitcher prepares and the mechanics of pitching. That is the book that Roger Angell intended to write. However, when Cone's mechanics broke down and his season fell apart, Angell stayed with him and realized that he had a completely different story. This is the story of David Cone's last season with the Yankees and the collapse of a talented ballplayer.
Baseball is a game of digression. Since the only action in the game takes place during frenzied bursts of motion between long periods of waiting, this gives the sportswriters and broadcasters time to talk about the game at hand as well as games and moments from years past. This is a good thing to think about as you begin to read the book. Roger Angell takes us through the 2000 season of David Cone. He also provides a biography of Cone as well as moments from different parts of his pitching career. This is just like a baseball game where everything is connected to history. What is happening in May might recall David's rookie year, or his high school days.
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