Long Shot

( 8 )

Overview

In this remarkably candid autobiography, superstar Mike Piazza takes readers inside his life and career to show what it takes to make it to the major leagues and to stay on top.

Piazza was drafted in the sixty-second round of the 1988 MLB draft, a courtesy pick because of a family connection to Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. No one expected Mike Piazza to play in the major leagues except Mike and his dad—not even the Dodgers. But with talent, determination, and a ...

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Long Shot

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Overview

In this remarkably candid autobiography, superstar Mike Piazza takes readers inside his life and career to show what it takes to make it to the major leagues and to stay on top.

Piazza was drafted in the sixty-second round of the 1988 MLB draft, a courtesy pick because of a family connection to Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. No one expected Mike Piazza to play in the major leagues except Mike and his dad—not even the Dodgers. But with talent, determination, and a formidable work ethic, long shot Piazza learned the demanding position of catcher and not only made it to the majors, he became one of the great players in the history of the game.

With resolute honesty Piazza addresses the issues that swirled about him during his career: the rumor that he was gay, the infamous bat-throwing incident with Roger Clemens, and the accusations of steroid use that plagued nearly every power hitter of his era. But above all, Long Shot is the story of a superstar who rose to the top through his talent and his deep drive to succeed.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In the 1988 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, Mike Piazza wasn't on any general manager's wish list. In fact, he was selected as the 1,390th player chosen only because Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda was doing it as a favor for his old childhood friend Vince Piazza, Mike's father. No one, perhaps not even his dad, expected Mike Piazza to become a major leaguer, much less a Rookie of the Year, a perennial All-Star, and one of the best hitting catchers of all time. In Long Shot, this popular retired superstar writes candidly about his hard-won struggle to fame. (P.S. Most fans think of Piazza as a Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets standout; many of them don't know that he also played for the Florida Marlins, the San Diego Padres and the Oakland Athletics.)

The New York Times Book Review - Ada Calhoun
"Piazza applies the single-minded drive he showed at the plate to making the case for his legacy. . . . [He] is forthright and often quite funny. . . . Mets fans will find insights, if not solace, in Piazza's account of the team's woes."
The Wall Street Journal - Tim Marchman
"Mr. Piazza has had one of the stranger and more inspiring careers in baseball history. . . . [Long Shot] explain[s] how this non-prospect blossomed into a legendary hitter."
The New York Post - Michael Gartland and Cynthia R. Fagen
"Beloved Mets catcher Mike Piazza comes out swinging in a new memoir—confronting rumors about being gay and taking steroids, detailing his romantic home runs and finally setting the score with his hated rival, Roger Clemens."
From the Publisher
"Piazza applies the single-minded drive he showed at the plate to making the case for his legacy. . . . [He] is forthright and often quite funny. . . . Mets fans will find insights, if not solace, in Piazza's account of the team's woes."

"Mr. Piazza has had one of the stranger and more inspiring careers in baseball history. . . . [Long Shot] explain[s] how this non-prospect blossomed into a legendary hitter."

"Beloved Mets catcher Mike Piazza comes out swinging in a new memoir—confronting rumors about being gay and taking steroids, detailing his romantic home runs and finally setting the score with his hated rival, Roger Clemens."

Kirkus Reviews
Arguably the game's greatest offensive catcher recounts his controversial career. Of all the Hall of Fame–worthy catchers of the past 40 years, few names start an argument more quickly than Mike Piazza. Chosen 1,390th by the Dodgers in the 1988 draft, a courtesy pick engineered by family friend Tommy Lasorda, Piazza went on to set the all-time home-run record for his demanding position, playing, as one observer remarked, "as if he is tearing somebody's head off." With the assistance of Wheeler (co-author: Sixty Feet, Six Inches: A Hall of Fame Pitcher and a Hall of Fame Hitter Talk About How the Game is Played, 2009, etc.), Piazza explains the reasons for this intense single-mindedness, an anger ballplayers describe as "a chronic case of the red-ass. " The stink of his low draft position never really dissipated, he insists, retarding his progress in the minors, opening him up to charges of nepotism and leaving him at the mercy of the game's politics. Jealousy over his family's vast wealth, resentment of his interfering father's widespread baseball connections and enduring skepticism over his defensive skills (a bum rap, he says) all conspired to deprive him of honors due--at least a couple of MVP awards--or even simple credit for the hard work he put in to excel. That unrelenting dedication is well-documented here, along with the season-by-season highlights of his sterling career, principally with the Dodgers and Mets. He addresses his famous confrontations with Roger Clemens, writes movingly about playing in New York when the twin towers fell and adamantly denies performance-enhancing drug rumors that threaten his Hall of Fame candidacy. A curious mix of fervent metal head and devout Catholic, Piazza appears to understand how his self-centeredness needlessly alienated many, but his apologies can barely be heard over the loud and constant rehashing of grievances. A superior ballplayer, still a work-in-progress as a human being.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439150238
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 2/18/2014
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 130,445
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Piazza grew up in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, and was chosen by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixty-second 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.

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Read an Excerpt

Long Shot


  • Including Pudge Rodriguez, who was dressed for work in his Detroit Tigers uniform, the greatest living catchers were all gathered around, unmasked, on the grass of Shea Stadium. From the podium, where my stomach tumbled inside the Mets jersey that I had now worn longer than any other, the Cooperstown collection was lined up on my right. Yogi Berra. Gary Carter. Johnny Bench, the greatest of them all. And Carlton Fisk, whose home run record for catchers I had broken the month before, which was the official reason that these illustrious ballplayers—these idols of mine, these legends—were doing Queens on a Friday night in 2004.

I preferred, however, to think of the occasion as a celebration of catching. Frankly, that was the only way I could think of it without being embarrassed; without giving off an unseemly vibe that basically said, hey, thanks so much to all you guys for showing up at my party even though I just left your asses in the dust. I couldn’t stand the thought of coming across that way to those four. Especially Johnny Bench. As far as I was concerned, and still am, Johnny Bench was the perfect catcher, custom-made for the position. I, on the other hand, had become a catcher only because the scouts had seen me play first base.

Sixteen years after I’d gladly, though not so smoothly or easily, made the switch, the cycle was doubling back on itself. Having seen enough of me as a catcher, the Mets were in the process of moving me to first. It was a difficult time for me, because, for one, I could sense that it signaled the start of my slow fade from the game. What’s more, I had come to embrace the catcher’s role in a way that, at least in the minds of my persistent doubters and critics, was never returned with the same level of fervor. As a positionless prospect who scarcely interested even the team that finally drafted me, catching had been my lifeline to professional baseball—to this very evening, which I never could have imagined—and I was reluctant to let it go. To tell the truth, I was afraid of making a fool of myself.

It was a moment in my career on which a swarm of emotions had roosted, and it made me wish that Roy Campanella were alive and with us. Early on, when my path to Los Angeles was potholed with confusion, politics, and petty conflict, Campy, from his wheelchair in Vero Beach, Florida, was the one who got my head right. Back then, I hadn’t realized what he meant to me. By the time I did, I was an all-star and he was gone. I surely could have used his benevolent counsel in the months leading up to my 352nd home run as a catcher, when detractors who included even a former teammate or two charged me with overextending my stay behind the plate in order to break the record (which I ultimately left at 396).

That, I think, was the main reason I wanted to understate the special night. If it appeared in any fashion that I was making a big thing out of passing Fisk, it would, for those who saw it that way, convict me of a selfish preoccupation with a personal accomplishment. Jeff Wilpon, the Mets’ chief operating officer, had gone beyond the call of duty to put the event together, and had assured me that it would stay small. At one point, as the crowd buzzed and the dignitaries settled in and my brow beaded up, I muttered to Jeff, “So much for a small ceremony.” General Motors, the sponsor, gave me a Chevy truck. (Maybe that’s why my dad, a Honda and Acura dealer, was wiping away tears up in our private box.) Todd Zeile and Braden Looper had graciously mobilized my teammates, and, on their behalf, John Franco presented me with a Cartier watch and a six-liter bottle of Chateau d’Yquem, 1989, which will remain unopened until there’s a proper occasion that I can share with a hundred or so wine-loving friends. Maybe when the first of our daughters gets married.

Meanwhile, the irony of the evening—and, to me, its greatest gratification—was that, in this starry tribute to catching (as I persisted in classifying it), the center of attention was the guy who, for the longest time, only my father believed in. The guy whose minor-league managers practically refused to put behind the plate. The guy being moved to first base in his thirteenth big-league season. The guy whose defensive work the cabdriver had been bitching about on Bench’s ride to the ballpark.

But Bench understood. So did Fisk. “This is a special occasion for us catchers,” he explained to the media. “Only we as catchers can fully appreciate what it takes to go behind the plate every day and also put some offensive numbers on the board.”

Fisk had kindly called me on the night I broke his record, then issued a statement saying that he’d hoped I’d be the one to do it. That had made my week; my year. “I’m blessed,” I told reporters. “I’ve lived a dream.”

I also mentioned that I might write a book someday.

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Customer Reviews

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( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2013

    With a heavy emphasis (of course) on baseball details, this book

    With a heavy emphasis (of course) on baseball details, this book gives many Insights into Mike Piazza and how he views the phases of his life in that game.  Having been a Met fan since the 1969 World Series,  I have great appreciation for those wonderful years when Piazza was in NY and gave us much to cheer about.  The writing was polished and professional, yet still gave the impression of being personal and in Piazza's own words.  I enjoyed reading about his successes, regrets, and growth as a player and as a person.  

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Chapter Nineteen,  one of the most moving chapters of any book I

    Chapter Nineteen,  one of the most moving chapters of any book I have read.    The essence of New York,  The Met's,  the fans,
     the patriotism.   Thank you Mike for sharing with your many loyal fans.  We miss you!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013

    As much as I like Mike Piazza his book is hard to read cause it'

    As much as I like Mike Piazza his book is hard to read cause it's badly written.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    great read

    great read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2013

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    Posted November 16, 2013

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    Posted March 4, 2013

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    Posted March 19, 2013

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