Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

Book Notes

April 11, 2013

Piazza wasn't considered much of a prospect for the majors

It’s probably going to be a quiet few days in Cooperstown when Hall of Fame weekend rolls around this summer. The baseball writers did not elect anybody this year despite some heavyweight candidates. The problem was that at least three of the poster boys for the steroids era, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, were on the ballot for the first time. The writers were clearly making a statement when nobody got elected.

One player who was on the ballot, but not directly linked to performance enhancing drugs, was Mike Piazza. In the last 20 years he was one the best offensive catchers the game has ever produced. He had a lifetime batting average of more than .300 and hit more than 30 home runs nine times. He had a so-so arm that hurt him defensively, but his offensive production more than made up for it.

Piazza would probably be a first-time Hall of Famer in another reality but playing during the steroid era made everyone suspect. If the clean players had spoken up for testing at the time (assuming there were clean players) then it would be easier to believe that not everyone was doing PEDs in one form or another. It certainly didn’t help Piazza to be eligible for the Hall of Fame at the same time as Bonds, Clemens and Sosa.

Piazza has just published his autobiography, called “Long Shot.” What is captivating about his story is the rags-to-riches nature of his pursuit of a Major League career. He was a 62nd round draft choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers and was only drafted as a favor to the Dodgers’ manager, Tommy Lasorda, who was close friends with Piazza’s father.

From a physical standpoint, he didn’t make a good catching prospect. Piazza didn’t have a strong arm, so on the surface he was a defensive liability. He was slow afoot and lacked range, so he wasn’t suited for any other position, including first base. The big thing was he could hit. Catching became the fallback position because basically nobody wants to pursue a Major League career with the goal of being a designated hitter.

Text Only
Book Notes
  • Film examines Lance Armstrong's fall There's nothing more heartwarming than someone overcoming impossible odds and achieving the pinnacle of success. The last thing you want is for that story to fall apart. When it happens to an icon like Lance Armstrong it's even more difficult to accept. He is someone you'd want to admire since he was both a champion and a do-gooder. How does the public react when it all comes crashing down?

    April 24, 2014

  • Libraries provide vital services Some people think that libraries are becoming obsolete due to the Internet and the growing popularity of e-books. Nothing could be further from the truth. Libraries are a repository for more than just the written word and reference materials. They provide a basic need for every community and will for the foreseeable future.

    April 17, 2014

  • WWII collection grows with 'Those Angry Days' The main lesson history teaches us is to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. There’s also an old saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Perhaps the two notions have something in common because we continually prove that history does indeed repeat itself.

    April 10, 2014

  • 'Blue Jasmine' shows talent of troubled Allen It's a shame that Woody Allen is caught up in controversy in his personal life because it deflects from his talent as a filmmaker. You can see the brilliance in his most recent release, "Blue Jasmine" now available for rental at the Cooperstown Library.

    April 3, 2014

  • 'Nebraska' helps give Dern his due Bruce Dern has been a character actor for over half a century yet hadn't really gotten the acclaim he deserves.

    March 27, 2014

  • Book captures both sides of 'Splended Splinter' Ted Williams is an American icon. As the mainstay of the Boston Red Sox from 1939-1960 he was one of baseball’s all-time greats, a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, and perhaps the greatest hitter the sport has ever known. He was admired for his devotion to the game, his service to his country, and his support for children with cancer. But there was an ugly side to him too. Williams’ life was a set of contradictions where his talent and humanity were offset by fits of rage and cold-heartedness.

    March 20, 2014

  • Wouk has amazing body of epic work One of the problems with eulogies is that they only seem to occur posthumously. I often wonder why people who have produced something noteworthy aren't honored until after they die and don't get to hear the acclaim they deserve. In that vein I want to recognize an aging classic novelist while he is still with us.

    March 13, 2014

  • 'Miracle' shows when Olympics were pure The Winter Olympics ended recently and somehow they seemed to have lost their luster. It wasn’t so much that they were in Sochi where most of the events were on tape delay. It was more due to the new events (many we have never heard of) that have diluted the games. The Winter Olympics have gone from an intimate edition of their summer counterpart to one where it appears medal counts and commercialism is all that matters.

    March 6, 2014

  • Sometimes bad films, books called 'Classic' About 40 years ago a movie was made that set the standard for overhyped and underwhelming films. It was "The Great Gatsby" starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Redford was the hottest thing in Hollywood at the time and Time Magazine ran a cover story on the film. When it was finally released it completely bombed.

    February 27, 2014

  • British films that will warm your heart With all the snow and sub-zero temperatures this winter there are enough nights where the easiest thing to do is hunker down and enjoy a good movie. I thought I’d offer a few suggestions with a British twist. These are films with Americans that are filmed in England. The one thing they all have in common is that they’ll warm your heart in the end.

    February 20, 2014

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide