Originally written on More Hardball  |  Last updated 3/30/13
Mike Piazza, the greatest hitting catcher in the history of baseball, is best known for his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1992-1998) and the New York Mets (1998-2005). LONG SHOT (Simon & Schuster; February 12, 2013; $27.00) is Piazza’s candid, surprising, and inspiring autobiography, from his inauspicious draft selection tothe achievements that earned him 58% of the vote for the Hall of Fame on his first appearance on the ballot. Full of behind-scenes-stories, LONG SHOT provides invaluable insight on the most controversial era in Major League Baseball. Piazza addresses many of the controversies that dogged his career, including his dramatic confrontation with Roger Clemens at the 2000 World Series, rumors of being gay, and the steroid controversy that hovered over the sport during his time. He describes the thrill of his game-winning home run on September 21, 2001, the first sporting event in New York after the 9/11 tragedy, and adjusting to life after baseball. Who Mike Piazza is: * The long shot: 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. Piazza had other ideas. Through determination and hard work, he became the National League rookie of the year in 1993. * The record holder: Mike Piazza is the greatest hitting catcher in the history of baseball. He has a lifetime batting average of .308 and hit 427 career home runs, 396 of them as a catcher, the major-league record for that position. He was a 12-time All-Star selection. * Popular across the country: Piazza came up through the Dodgers’ organization, and spent nearly half of his career in L.A. Many Dodgers fans still cite the trade of Mike Piazza as one of the worst trades in baseball history. When Piazza joined the New York Mets, he led them to the memorable 2000 World Series with their cross-town rivals, the Yankees.  His hometown is outside Philadelphia, where he is a partner in successful car dealerships. Piazza currently resides in Miami. * Voice of a controversial generation: Piazza played in a new era of baseball when rumors of steroid use erupted and changed the way we judge professional athletes. In LONG SHOT, Piazza is candid about how rumors and controversy impacted the sport during his time and provides valuable perspective on the subject * A product of the American dream: Piazza was a courtesy draft pick with few advocates in his corner. Yet his work ethic and single minded determination allowed him to achieve greatness against the odds. He also had the support of his father, a self-made man and passionate advocate throughout Mike’s career, and a champion in Tommy Lasorda, a family friend and the Manager of the L.A. Dodgers. LONG SHOT tells a classic father-son American-dream story. * New Yorker in the aftermath of 9/11: Piazza lived in lower Manhattan in 2001,just blocks from the Twin Towers, and Shea Stadium became a center for relief efforts. He discusses how the tragedy impacted the ball club, his priorities, and his faith. Piazza’s homerun in the first sporting event played in New York after the attacks is considered one of the greatest highlights in the history of Shea Stadium and the New York Mets * And more: Along the way, Piazza 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.  ABOUT THE AUTHORS:Mike Piazza was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania and grew up in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He was chosen by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 Major League Baseball amateur draft. He was National League Rookie of the Year in 1993 and was a twelve-time All Star selection. He holds the record for most home runs by a catcher (396) and held the record for highest batting average in a season by a catcher (.362) until it was recently broken. He lives with his family in Miami Beach, Florida. Lonnie Wheeler’s numerous books include collaborations on the autobiographies of Hank Aaron (I Had A Hammer) and Bob Gibson (Stranger to the Game), and a baseball dialogue between Gibson and Reggie Jackson (Sixty Feet, Six Inches). He lives in New Richmond, Ohio. ABOUT THE BOOK: Title: LONG SHOTAuthor: Mike Piazza with Lonnie WheelerPublisher: Simon & SchusterPublication Date: February 12, 2013Hardcover price: $27.00Hardcover ISBN: 9781439150221eBook ISBN: 9781439163030
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