Rains may have written nothing more than a routine biography, outlining McGwire's growth from Little Leaguer--he naturally hit a homer his first time at bat--to eventual major-league stardom, but his subject is anything but routine. The McGwire that Rains portrays is thoughtful and engaging--a man who, despite his outsized talent, grips priorities as well as a bat. Rains recounts how, on the last day of McGwire's monumental first season with Oakland, with the rookie record of 49 dingers already on the books, his wife went into labor. Instead of staying and going for 50, McGwire immediately flew back to California to take his place beside her. He can always get 50 another time.
McGwire approaches the hallowed home-run record with his trademark poise and perspective. He's only worried about one aspect of chasing the record: even if he fails to break Maris's mark, he will have accomplished something no one, not even Ruth, has done before: hitting 50 home runs in three consecutive seasons. "Is that failure," McGwire asks circumspectly. "Are people going to write that I failed?" Probably. But as Rains observes, "That thought passes after a moment.... Ever since his days growing up playing with friends at the end of a cul-de-sac in Claremont, California, McGwire has been in control of his own fate, just as he is now." --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.