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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality start
The Mets traded for Ron Darling in April 1982 -- the same month I attended my first game at Shea Stadium. Ronnie made his first start in September 1983, just as the Mets were just starting to show hints of the dominant team they'd be for the next six or seven years. Finally, the Mets traded Darling to Montreal in July 1991 -- just as the wheels were starting to come off...
Published on May 24, 2009 by Jason A. Miller

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interpret Both Ways: Left Me Wanting More
Quick read, well-written, logically presented, the replacement of innings for chapters was creative and facilitated the book's flow.

I was hoping for more strategy, theory and physics behind the various pitches and pitch selection, though, and thought that's what I was getting when I purchased the book; instead, discovered the book to be more "feely" than...
Published on May 22, 2009 by Kelly C. Ward


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality start, May 24, 2009
By 
Jason A. Miller (Brooklyn, New York USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound (Hardcover)
The Mets traded for Ron Darling in April 1982 -- the same month I attended my first game at Shea Stadium. Ronnie made his first start in September 1983, just as the Mets were just starting to show hints of the dominant team they'd be for the next six or seven years. Finally, the Mets traded Darling to Montreal in July 1991 -- just as the wheels were starting to come off the franchise, and just as I moved off to college and lost track of the team for most of the '90s.

Ronnie then went out to Oakland, laboring as an over-the-hill starter with occasional spots of brilliance for the Tony LaRussa Oakland A's (and somehow managing to miss out on all the steroids in that clubhouse). He didn't rejoin the Mets until 2006, in broadcaster capacity, but now he's once again an important fixture to a contending team.

"The Complete Game" is a small book, part of baseball publishing's general trend away from poorly-ghostwritten autobiographies and toward more modest analytical works. The ghostwriter selection here seems a little unusual (Daniel Paisner appears not to be a career baseball writer, and in an odd glitch mis-identifies Don Larsen's 1956 World Series perfect game), but the book does stand out in this year's crop of books about steroid users and steroid dealers.

The theme is that Ron describes ten representative games from his career as pitcher and broadcaster: two games he called during the Mets' lost 2008 campaign, seven games he pitched while a Met or Athletic, and his legendary college finale (previous written up by Roger Angell in Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion). Mixed throughout are other reminiscences from Darling's baseball journey: from his surprising minor league tutelage in the capable hands of Al Jackson (an original 1962 Met), to his early humiliations as a September call-up in 1983, through his end-stage Met appearances, to being released by the A's in mid-summer 1995.

It's nice to report that "Complete Game" gets its research right, that is to say, its game summaries withstand scrutiny on RetroSheet. Even an anecdote relayed about fellow rookie Jose Oquendo's mistreatment by then-Mets manager Frank Howard in 1983 turns out to be correct in all details.

I'm not sure "Complete Game" will hold much appeal to non-Mets fans, and the book doesn't seem to have been accompanied by a massive publicity blitz. It's worth your time, though. As a color commentator, Ron Darling is more Jim Kaat than Tim McCarver (or Keith Hernandez) -- that is to say, he's sober and analytical, only breaking out anecdotes from his own career when directly relevant to the game at hand, and never brash or self-promoting or in dire need of a "delete last thought" button. With a few exceptions (Paisner seems fond of cursing) this book could be a collection of Darling's best broadcast-booth chatter. For Mets fans, or for those who love the art of pitching, this book is indeed a quality start.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insider Details, April 18, 2009
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This review is from: The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book that details both the highlights and lowlights of Ron Darling's career both as a pitcher and a broadcaster. He tells wonderful stories, often self-deprecating, about how different managers handled his tough situations and devotes an entire chapter to the famous college game in 1981 between Yale (Darling) and St. Johns (Frank Viola) where Darling pitched 11 innings of no-hit ball but lost in the 12th.

Great detail about how Darling would pitch different batters in different situations.

This book is almost impossible to put down. A great read!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem from a Darling, April 2, 2009
This review is from: The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound (Hardcover)
A must read for a real depiction of the GAME!!! Ron Darling knows from first hand knowledge and it is the hand of a champion. I challenge you to read this and walk away once you pick it up. YOU CAN'T and YOU WON'T
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interpret Both Ways: Left Me Wanting More, May 22, 2009
By 
Kelly C. Ward (Virginia Beach, VA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound (Hardcover)
Quick read, well-written, logically presented, the replacement of innings for chapters was creative and facilitated the book's flow.

I was hoping for more strategy, theory and physics behind the various pitches and pitch selection, though, and thought that's what I was getting when I purchased the book; instead, discovered the book to be more "feely" than "touchy".

Because it was so well written and edited, I'd look forward to hearing more from Ron in a second book on strategy since he does bring more of the cerebral aspects of the game to life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight in the mind of a major league pitcher - a classic!, June 3, 2010
This book is a must for anyone who closely followed the Mets in the mid to late 1980s and early 1990s. Ron Darling played a major role in those teams and in his book, provides excellent insight into several important games that he started, including game four of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, the September 1987 game against the Cardinals, where the Met fell out of the National League East pennant race, and the 1988 National League East clinching game against the Phillies.

It's also a book for fans who want to get closer to the game. Unlike typical baseball memoirs, which begin with tales of early childhood and end with retirement from the game, Darling takes a new approach. Each chapter focuses on one inning in 10 different games where he was either player or broadcaster. The result is a book that can't be put down. It is a classic that belongs next to Ball Four and the Bronx Zoo.

If you ever wondered what goes through the mind of a pitcher when the pitching coach or manager walks out to the mound or the communication between pitcher and catcher or when a pitcher faces a tough opponent in a crucial game, this book will tell you.

I also have to confess that I am a big fan of Darling, from his early days with the Mets to his current job as a broadcaster with SNY and TBS. He has one of the best baseball minds and we are fortunate that he likes to share his knowledge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Look at the Mental Side of the Game, September 19, 2009
This review is from: The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound (Hardcover)
Ron Darling's retrospective of what was going on inside the head of one of baseball's most cerebral performers over the course of 9 innings of various games is something any true fan of the game will relish. I loved it.

Darling had a successful career as a big league pitcher, and much of that came from his mental approach to the game. Darling recalls with wonderful clarity some of his memorable moments on the mound, as well as in the broadcast booth, which give great insight into the complexities a pitcher faces when performing his task.

Certainly, the thought process a hitter goes through while trying to solve the mysteries of the pitches being hurled in his direction would be even more daunting. Trying to outfox the pitcher is even more confounding that the pitcher's task at hand; still, Darling tried his hardest to make sure he was using his mental capacities to their fullest to accomplish his mission. His narrative made for a very enlightening and engaging journal.

After completing this book, I couldn't help but think of Yogi Berra's great quote about the complexities of our national pastime when he said, "90% of baseball is half mental!" How true.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best baseball books ever, June 2, 2009
This review is from: The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound (Hardcover)
When I saw that Ron Darling had written a book, I figured it would be another run of the mill autobiography from a pompous New York athlete. Futhermore, as a Cub fan, I hate the Mets and everything to do with them. Then I notice a review or two of it and thought maybe I'd at least try to read it. I read lots of baseball books, some good, many bad, and figured what the hell. Man, am I glad I read this. Darling gives strategies and information I have never ever seen or read before. Hardly a run of the mill book. It is right up there with Men at Work by Will and Nine Innings by Okrent. I have no idea what book the reviewer that called this an "odd, dry book" may have read, but it is not the same one I read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Part autobiography, part baseball analysis: recommended for fans of 1980s MLB, May 9, 2009
By 
This review is from: The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound (Hardcover)
Ron Darling pitched for 13 major league seasons, most notably for the 1980s New York Mets, and currently works as a television analyst. This 255-page narrative is part autobiography and part baseball analysis. After a 35 page introduction, the next nine chapters each focus on one inning (the first through ninth, respectively) of a major league game that Darling either pitched in or broadcasted, from pennant clinchers to maudlin blowouts. He examines general baseball strategy and offers personal reflections within each dissection. Darling relates stories of Mets legends like Seaver and Hernandez but offers none of the headline grabbers of other recent baseball books. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the mediocre and forgotten Phillies teams of my boyhood (unfortunately, Darling's Mets usually beat them). While not essential, this is recommended reading for fans of 1980s baseball.
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4.0 out of 5 stars surprised, July 16, 2014
This review is from: The Complete Game (Kindle Edition)
I was given this book by my wife as a gift. I'm not a Mets fan, just a baseball fan. I thought it was very well written and interesting with a lot of insight into different baseball situations, most from Darling's playing days along with a few from games he called as an announcer. There were a few too many "back when I was a player" asides knocking modern ballplayers, but overall it offered a good look at his life in the game both on the field and in the clubhouse. There were a few times I did peak to see how much longer a chapter was when things got a little drawn out and too wordy, but it's a quick enjoyable read. I thought the last few chapters about a memorable college game Darling was involved in and his decision to finally retire as a player were especially well written. A solid addition to your baseball library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Inside the mind of a pitcher, August 14, 2009
This review is from: The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound (Hardcover)
Ron Darling, a leader of the 1986 World Champion New York Mets, takes us inside the mind of a pitcher in different tough situations from his career, and also from what he has observed about other pitchers in his capacity as a Mets television commentator. He shares with us the mistakes and his triumphs he and other pitchers made. For baseball fans, who want more than a ESPN knowledge of this great game, this book is a must. Ron Darling is so smart; he has chosen these situations well and has obviously done a lot of thinking about their significance. I particularly enjoyed his discussion of a spectacular pitcher's battle he waged against Frank Viola while an undergraduate at Yale. In a baseball era still dominated by the home run, Ron Darling reminds that the pitcher still is the most important player on the field.
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