Full Count

The Education of a Pitcher


By David Cone

With Jack Curry

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Met and Yankee All-Star pitcher David Cone shares lessons from the World Series and beyond in this essential New York Times bestselling memoir for baseball fans everywhere.

“There was a sense about him and an aura about him. Even when he was in trouble, he carried himself like a pitcher who said, ‘I’m the man out here.’ And he usually was.” — Andy Pettitte on David Cone.

To any baseball fan, David Cone was a bold and brilliant pitcher. During his 17-year career, he became a master of the mechanics and mental toughness a pitcher needs to succeed in the major leagues. A five-time All-Star and five-time World Champion now gives his full count — balls and strikes, errors and outs — of his colorful life in baseball.

From the pitchers he studied to the hitters who infuriated him, Full Count takes readers inside the mind of a thoughtful pitcher, detailing Cone’s passion, composure and strategies. The book is also filled with never-before-told stories from the memorable teams Cone played on — ranging from the infamous late ’80s Mets to the Yankee dynasty of the ’90s. And, along the way, Full Count offers the lessons baseball taught Cone — from his mistakes as a young and naive pitcher to outwitting the best hitters in the world — one pitch at a time.


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A Reflection

STARING INTO THE BATHROOM MIRROR, I saw a sweaty-faced and steely-eyed man who was wondering how the next few minutes of his life would unfold. He looked serious and he looked concerned. I kept staring at the man, studying every inch of that weary face and those focused eyes, and I wondered if the man was powerful enough to pitch one more spotless inning. Please, I thought, just get three more outs.

Obviously, I was that man, the man who placed both hands on the sink, leaned forward, and pushed his nose within six inches of the mirror. I wanted some answers, and I needed some reassurance inside the Yankee Stadium clubhouse bathroom. After tossing eight perfect innings against the Montreal Expos on July 18, 1999, I changed into a fresh undershirt by my locker and retreated to the bathroom. I was alone, all alone, before the ninth inning and I gave myself a specific command: "Don't blow this."

Of all the inspiring words that I could have used, my first words were Don't blow this. I challenged myself because I knew what motivated me, and I knew I responded well to being challenged. As an aspiring nine-year-old pitcher, I received tough love from my father, who was my first coach, so I used the same technique on myself. I let my forceful words sink in, the staring contest continued, and I added, "Don't you dare blow this."

I wanted the reflection to talk back. I really wanted the man in the mirror to tell me he could do this and tell me everything would be all right. Taking inventory of how I had retired the first twenty-four batters, I knew my slider had been floating like a Frisbee, I knew my fastball was nicking the corners, and I knew the Expos seemed helpless as they swung early and often. Based on that mounting evidence, I finally told myself, "You can do this. You have to do this."

Did I believe I could get the final three outs? Well, part of me believed it. Every pitcher has that mental tug-of-war with himself in almost every game. It doesn't have to be a potential perfect game for pitchers to wonder if they're about to get a strikeout with a nasty slider or if they're about to allow a homer on a hanging slider. For pitchers, the questions are never ending.

Throughout my career, I asked myself questions about the way I gripped my pitches, about the spin and velocity on my pitches, about the arm angles I used to deliver pitches, and about the smartest strategies for attacking hitters. Those questions and hundreds of others hover over pitchers, steady reminders about what we should or shouldn't do. I have lots of answers to these pitching questions and I have lots of pitching stories. All of these theories and opinions and tales will be unveiled in this book, an array of ideas from me and from others, a detailed assessment on the art of pitching and my life as a pitcher. I always believed pitchers need to be searchers, mound investigators who determine the best pitch to throw and the best way to throw it. Then do that again and again.

On that day in the stadium bathroom, I took deep breaths as the conversation between the dueling sides of my personality continued. The confident Cone was poised for perfection and envisioned it happening, while doubting David questioned whether it would ever happen. Even if a pitcher has the biggest ego in the world, he's going to experience doubts in pressure-filled situations. Back in 1999, I was trying to do something only fifteen other pitchers in major league history had ever done. I would have been delusional if I didn't have a doubt or two.

I was in my fourteenth major league season and, through all my creativity and quirkiness, I had never stopped and studied myself in the mirror during a game. And I never did it again. But this game was a special situation, a time where I was mature enough to pause, slow my brain and my pulse down, and absorb what was happening. As a thirty-six-year-old, I might never get another chance to pitch a perfect game, and I wanted to prepare myself in the best way possible.

Part of preparing myself meant preparing myself for failure, too. Pitching is a job that involves a lot of failure; even the greatest of pitchers throw balls about 40 percent of the time. So my frenetic mind told me that something could go wrong. There could be a bloop single or a ball that rolled sixty feet for a hit or one of my fielders could make an error or I could walk a batter. If any of those things happened, I needed to be OK with that result. Would I be OK if I ended up being less than perfect?

"Forget that," I said. "No, I won't be OK with that." Thankfully, the aggressive and confident me fought the equally aggressive and doubting me and told me to stay calm and keep pitching the same way. Don't even think about those bleak scenarios, I told myself in a conversation that felt like a devil-versus-angel chat. I guess I was the angel and the devil.

My internal struggle continued inside the bathroom, a bathroom so quiet that I heard water draining through the pipes. The adjacent clubhouse was empty because my superstitious teammates didn't want to talk to a pitcher who was working on a perfect game. No problem there. I just spoke to myself. Knowing the ninth was fast approaching, I had one final question: "What are you going to do now?"

For two or three minutes, I stood by myself and evaluated the man who was pursuing perfection. The last time I glanced in the mirror, I saw someone who looked energized. Maybe I had been revived by my strange pep talk. I knew how I would attack the Expos, so the physical side of my game was ready, but the detour to the mirror was a way to enhance my mental approach.

While I had never stared at myself in the mirror, I perpetually analyzed myself and tried to determine if I was capable of throwing one more strike, notching one more out, and pitching one more inning. Pitching is a constant test; you're always trying to prove you're better than the batter who is standing in the box. I hustled to the mound in the ninth and believed, truly believed, I would get those three outs.

Pitching is never simple, not even for those who succeed at the highest levels. It is complex and confounding, daunting and demanding. It is an art that I still study, still adore, still analyze, and, quite honestly, still miss. The lessons about pitching are constant.

It's time for us to get started on this journey. I'll be your tour guide. I will stare in the mirror again, study myself again, and tell you everything I see.

Chapter 1

Maniacal on the Mound

IT WAS EVERYTHING I WANTED and, really, everything I didn't want. I always longed to be on the mound so I could perform and be the center of attention, with thousands of fans screaming and waiting for me to throw a pitch. But I wanted to experience that type of atmosphere when I was dominating a game, not when I was sputtering. In this memorable moment, I wasn't dazzling. I was barely breathing.

Huffing and puffing my way through Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series between my Yankees and the Seattle Mariners, I was a weary pitcher with an aching arm and a deteriorating plan. The Yankees had acquired me from the Toronto Blue Jays in July, and I was supposed to help lead them to the postseason and maybe even to the World Series. This sort of high-leverage game was exactly why the Yankees pursued me as a hired gun. But, pitch after suspect pitch, my situation grew more and more distressing.

We started the eighth inning with a 4–2 lead, but that shrunk by a run when Ken Griffey Jr. blasted a one-out homer. After I retired Edgar Martinez on a groundout, I exhaled because he had been so lethal against us and because I was one elusive out from pushing the game into the ninth. But I couldn't get it. I became too careful, too defensive, and too nervous. I walked a batter, allowed a single, and walked another Mariner to fill the bases. After not throwing four balls to anyone in the entire game, I had walked two of the last three Mariners, a glaring sign that I was squeezing the ball too tight or aiming it or just being passive. My pitches were eroding, and I wasn't close to being the same effective pitcher I had been in the earlier innings.

Still, I had blind faith as Doug Strange, a left-handed batter, was announced as a pinch-hitter. I stood behind the mound while Strange took some swings in the on-deck circle, idle time in which I tried to convince myself I could still get this last out. Buck Showalter, my manager, later said he didn't want to remove me from the game because he trusted me and because I deserved "the chance there to finish it." I appreciate Showalter's trust in me, but I wasn't glancing into the dugout for any reassurance. And I didn't want Showalter analyzing me, either, and I didn't want him to see how lifeless I was and, honestly, how scared I was. I was so spent that it felt like I was lifting a hundred-pound dumbbell every time I raised my right arm to throw a pitch.

In that defining duel against Strange, I felt like a bystander in my own final scene. Throwing strikes was supposed to be my focus, but I couldn't do it. It was a circle-of-life moment, and I was morphing into a tense nine-year-old kid again. I threw a decent slider that Strange swung over for the first strike, but then I unleashed three straight balls, my location worsening with each pitch and my body clearly sagging. After securing a second strike on a fastball that was right down the middle, Mike Stanley signaled for a splitter, which I had missed badly with earlier in the at bat, and I never hesitated. I thought that was the right pitch to throw on 3-2. I still think it was, but I threw it way inside and also bounced it. It was my 147th pitch. No man has thrown more pitches in a postgame game since then.

"And they gambled with the split-finger," said Jim Kaat, the former major league pitcher who was calling the game. "Three-two. Two out. Wow."

Once I walked Strange to force in pinch-runner Alex Rodriguez with the tying run, I almost collapsed, immediately slumping over, putting my hands on my knees and remaining in that bent position for several seconds. I trudged off the mound, my head bowed and my senses in disarray as I was replaced by Mariano Rivera, a converted starter in his rookie season who was not yet viewed as a dominant reliever. We lost to the Mariners in eleven innings and our season ended. I always believed I could have done something different, something ingenious, to get one more out, and the splitter was designed to be that get-me-out-of-trouble pitch.

But, on that fateful night, everything was a blur. I didn't want to come out of the game, but I didn't have the strength, physically or mentally, to get through that last batter. Everything I understood about executing pitches, the vast knowledge and endless experience, was in tatters because, at that moment, the five-ounce ball felt like a bowling ball. There was nothing I could do to revive myself because, for those pitches, I wasn't the same confident pitcher. I was a frightened nine-year-old.

From the time I was nine, being on a mound was where I needed to be and where I had to be. I wanted to be the most important player on the field, I wanted every pair of eyes staring at me, and I wanted to be in control. Maybe it's an ego issue, but it takes a certain type of controlling personality to climb atop a mound, a place that can be as lonely as it is exciting, and decide that's where you belong. It's the responsibility, the intensity, and the desire for the spotlight that appeals to pitchers. It's what you do. It's who you are.

All of these years later, I can still hear my mother yelling, "Throw strikes! Throw strikes!" at Little League games, and I can still feel the stress that would smother me when I couldn't do it. No matter how talented a pitcher is, there is incredible stress involved in harnessing all the power in your body to try and throw a pitch to a specific location, a location as tiny as a cocktail napkin. And failing. And then trying to do it again and failing again.

Every pitcher knows those feelings of being uncomfortable and flustered, feelings that can be exposed after one shabby sequence of pitches. I would chastise myself in a blitz of expletives and ask myself what was wrong. Should I use more finger pressure on the ball? Is my front shoulder flying away from my body and causing my pitches to sail? Is my front leg landing directly in line with the catcher's target? Stress follows pitchers and clings to them like a sweaty Dri-FIT shirt—and still I loved every aspect of that demanding position, even the unnerving moments.

Anytime I ascended the mound and stared in for a sign, I was a little jumpy and a little hyperactive because I wanted to succeed so desperately. The mound was a heavenly spot for me, a hill of hope that I first discovered as a boy: a get-out-of-my-way kind of kid. There has never been a place where I've felt more powerful—and, of course, on some days there has never been a place where I've felt more depressed.

Even when I wasn't close to the mound, I still imagined myself there. When I was lumbering through my living room, I would stop, close my eyes, and envision myself pitching. I was always ready, always aggressive. I'd do the same thing as I stood on a subway platform or as I waited in line for a cup of coffee. Stop. Close my eyes. Transport myself to the mound. No matter where I was or how awkward I might look, that feeling always rejuvenated me, always made me feel as if I was back in the right place.

It's been more than fifteen years since I've thrown a baseball in a major league game, but I can still see myself pitching. My eyes are darting from the catcher to the batter to the umpire, my face is bathed in perspiration, and my mind, my ever-frenetic mind, is hunting for solutions. I hope I always see myself like that. I need that adrenaline rush, as counterfeit as it might be, and I need to know that it could still be me out there, even if it isn't. In my mind, I trick myself into believing that it is. I am still pitching.

There is no experience like it, really. Not for me or for thousands like me. The pitcher has a weighty responsibility that is like no other in sports. In baseball, there's no running back or wide receiver who can take the ball from you. It's our ball and our game, a game that is like no other because the defense actually has control of the ball, and that control starts with the pitcher. Like other pitchers, I chose this difficult position, knowing the requirements, the expectations, and the emotional swings. When you watch a game, you watch the pitcher. You watched me and the pitcher after me and the pitcher after him. I loved that attention, craved that attention. I still do.

Being a pitcher means being a creator, an orchestrator, an improviser, and a magician, a person willing to devise some way to throw the ball so that the hitter is deceived and defeated. Curve it, sink it, cut it, bend it, explode it, and then do it again. But just make sure that the next pitch is even better. Make the ball dance. Make it do whatever you need it to do. Pitchers are required to test themselves and trust themselves, notions that don't always mesh on the mound. As a pitcher tries to throw the perfect slider, a pitch that is designed to break late and confuse a hitter, does he believe he will succeed? He had better believe it.

Through all of the long, lazy days or the quick, hectic nights at the ballpark, I was intent on being a smart student and a clever thief, roles that every pitcher should emulate. As a maturing pitcher who was learning how to be a professional, and even as a veteran pitcher who had won a Cy Young Award, I studied and I stole. I analyzed other pitchers and tried to determine the reasons they were successful and if there was anything they did that I should be doing. If a pitcher isn't trying to swipe something valuable from other pitchers, whether it's a grip on a pitch, a positioning on the rubber, or a strategy against a particular hitter, he's being careless.

During the Wiffle ball games in my backyard in Kansas City, I typically mimicked Luis Tiant, my pied piper, and called our field Coneway Park after Boston's Fenway Park. If I was imitating Juan Marichal and his high leg kick, the venue was dubbed Conedlestick Park after San Francisco's Candlestick Park. My father even installed floodlights so we could play night games.

Tiant had immense talent while winning 229 games for teams like the Indians, the Red Sox, and the Yankees, but he had style and deception, too. When Tiant threw a pitch, he didn't simply step back with his left leg, raise it in front of him, swing his arms over his head, rotate his hips, and power his body forward to throw the ball, as coaches teach. There were no lessons for what Tiant did. He was a pitching contortionist. Tiant turned away from the plate, twisted his body so that he was looking toward center field, tilted his head toward the sky, pirouetted back to home, and then threw a pitch. He made the unnatural look so natural. I wanted to do that or something like that, too.

Sitting on the floor so I could closely analyze Tiant's movements on television, I was convinced that Tiant's unusual delivery confused batters. The batters saw more of the number on Tiant's back than they saw of Tiant's eyes or the ball. Hitters never knew when Tiant would release the ball or from what angle. That's deceiving the hitter. That's pitching. Tiant's funky motion was telling batters that he was so sneaky and so confident that he didn't even need to look at the plate as he prepared to throw the pitch.

Trying to fully replicate Tiant's distinctive style would be disastrous because pitching styles need to develop naturally. But Tiant's unorthodox approach was a reminder to study every pitcher, from your teammates to your opponents to the pitchers you see on TV. Pitchers need to be students, forever students, because there's always a chance to learn something or poach something that will make you better.

With a baseball in their hands and control of what happens next in the game, pitchers feel invigorated and energized. I loved to slide my fingers over the cowhide surface, my index and middle fingers combing the red seams until I had touched all 108 of them. I wanted to locate the thickest seams, the place on the ball where the seams felt larger, even if they weren't. If I felt seams that seemed the slightest bit thicker to me, I'd be more content because that gave me a better grip and a better way to create spin and velocity on my pitches. Pitchers chase edges, whether they are real or imagined.

In this world, this fascinating and complicated world of pitching, I challenged myself to be better, be nastier, and be the last man standing, gladiator style. Give me the ball and I would devise something, no matter how sore my arm felt. I had a relentless attitude as a pitcher, a feeling of responsibility that caused me, honestly, to behave maniacally on the mound. I wanted to sweat, stew, and scream until we had notched the twenty-seventh out. Even if it meant throwing 160 pitches. Even if I was putting my arm in danger. Even if I wasn't the best choice to pitch anymore because I was fatigued or just ineffective. The hell with those fears and concerns. I would worry about them tomorrow. In my scouting reports on pitchers, a little craziness is a positive trait.

That dose of craziness can be helpful because it can cause a pitcher to be daring and take some chances, choices that might be unexpected and might unnerve the batters. A first-pitch curveball or a 3-1 changeup aren't pitches a batter is likely to anticipate. By shrewdly and selectively taking chances and throwing them, a pitcher can get strikes and give the batter something extra to ponder. Or a pitcher can take a chance with a 3-2 splitter and the bases loaded in the postseason, as I did on my 147th pitch of the game to Strange, and it backfires.

As much as I wanted to stay in games and as much as I knew pitchers who were just as stubborn as me, I eventually learned, a little too late, that pitchers need protectors. I never thought about the repercussions of throwing 160 pitches in a game because I had been taught, lectured, and counseled to believe that every start was my responsibility and I needed to exert myself to pitch for as long as I could. Actually, I still believe in that philosophy, with the caveat being that pitchers need to be durable and smart, not durable and foolish. My mentality was "go until you blow," and that was detrimental, at times, in my career. As Exhibit A, I required surgery to remove an aneurysm from under my right armpit in 1996. The aneurysm, which is the swelling of an artery that results when the lining of the blood vessel is compromised, came from the stress I put on my arm while throwing thousands and thousands of pitches in my life.

What are you doing in the trainer's room again, rookie? That question reverberated off the walls of the clubhouse when I began my career with the Royals and the Mets. I watched, warily, as young pitchers who frequented the trainer's room were belittled and called soft and unreliable. Some of the veterans would scoldingly tell the pitchers they were too young to be hurt, a hazing of sorts that doesn't exist today. That bullying I witnessed stayed with me and molded me, motivating me to want to pitch deep into games to earn the respect of my peers.

In those days, the finish line wasn't a starter's pitch count. It was the number of innings he could complete. But, nowadays, it's rare for a starter to even throw 120 pitches. Managers become antsy if a pitcher nears 100 pitches or if he has to face a batting order for the third time. I didn't worry much about pitch counts as a pitcher, but I understand why teams are obsessed with protecting arms that are worth millions to an organization. It's a sensible way to treat such a valuable commodity, especially with teams trying to comprehend why an inordinate number of pitchers have ended up tearing a ligament in their elbow and needing Tommy John surgery.

Still, there needs to be a better balance between haphazardly throwing 160 pitches and worrying as someone nears 100 pitches. Pitchers need to push themselves to discover what their limitations are and learn if they can still be as effective on their 115th pitch as they are on their 75th pitch. If a pitcher's splitter isn't diving, he needs to use his fastball or his slider and survive until the splitter returns. Or maybe it won't return at all. Those experiences, which multiply as a pitcher goes deeper into a game, are the building blocks to becoming a more confident performer.

Unless pitchers are given the opportunities to rumble through some of those pitch count limits, they probably won't ever know how strong or successful they can be later in games. A minor league prospect who is accustomed to being removed from starts after five innings isn't going to be prepared to pitch in the seventh or the eighth and is going to encounter new obstacles when he finally gets that opportunity. In many ways, today's pitchers are too coddled and aren't allowed to test themselves to determine how much they can endure. Except for a handful of durable pitchers, that's never going to change, because teams are very protective of their pitchers and managers are conditioned to bring in fresh relievers who throw fastballs in the upper 90s and accumulate lots of strikeouts.

If my shoulder felt as if someone had jabbed a plastic knife in my labrum, I pushed through the pain. If my fingers were throbbing and influencing the way I held the ball, I'd flex them and try a different grip. If I was sapped for energy, I'd take a deep breath, curse at myself, and create something different to try. A different arm angle, a new grip, a change in velocity. Anything.

Lift your front leg a little higher and you can stride closer to the plate, giving your fastball more velocity because you are releasing the ball later. As a right-hander, target off-speed pitches inside to righty hitters because they won't expect them and they might be off balance. With two strikes, throw your curveball as low as a batter's cleats because he could be jumpy and he might swing. These are just a few tweaks that pitchers can make, changes that could help them maneuver through a precarious situation.

I know a few pitchers who were crazier than me, and I know a lot more pitchers who were saner than me, but we all shared the same vision and the same goal: Deceive the hitter any way possible. One of my reliable approaches against left-handed batters was to get a first-pitch strike with a four-seam fastball or a curveball, then throw a cut fastball inside to get them to foul it off for a second strike, then throw my splitter in the dirt or a backdoor slider as the strikeout pitch.

But that was different from what Greg Maddux, Jack McDowell, or Andy Pettitte did, and I wanted to understand why. I wanted to know how Maddux could throw two-seam fastballs that looked like they were about to hit a left-handed batter's hip and then dived right and clipped the inside corner. I wanted to know how McDowell's slider maintained its sharpness deep into the game and made batters buckle. I wanted to know how Pettitte's cutters had such late and sharp left-to-right action. Even if I didn't imitate these pitchers, I wanted to analyze them, quiz them, and have that knowledge in my database. Maybe it would help me get an important out someday.

Some pitchers have a Plan A and, if that doesn't work, a Plan B or C. I wanted to have a Plan A through Z. If what I was doing wasn't working, I'd throw sidearm or I'd twist my body completely around or I'd invent a pitch. I wasn't afraid to try different things, which helped make me difficult to dissect and made some batters uncomfortable against me. But that experimental side of me also infuriated some coaches. They would insist that I couldn't throw certain pitches from different arm angles or to certain locations, and I would tell them, "It's my career. I'm going to do it the way I want to do it."

That refusal to acquiesce to the standard operating procedure was my way of following what had been working or what I thought would flourish. I believed throwing a specific pitch to a specific location was going to be effective because that's what I felt at that moment. It might change thirty seconds later, but when I threw a pitch, any pitch, I believed it was the proper pitch to throw. Every pitcher should feel that way, or the pitch isn't worth throwing. That faith, which was faulty at times, helps explain a part of my philosophy and how desperate I was to get outs. There was a maniacal quality to being on the mound, an urgency to excel and to avoid repeating my mistakes. If my slider was flat or my fastball lacked its usual life, changes were always possible and even probable.


  • "David Cone was not only one of the smartest pitchers I ever managed, he was also a fearless competitor and a consummate teammate. Whether he was playing through pain or coming out of the bullpen for us in the World Series, his leadership and selflessness was a vital part of our four championships. In [FULL COUNT], David Cone and Jack Curry take us on a journey of what it takes to stay mentally and physically tough enough to maintain the edge it takes to compete on a championship level year after year."—Joe Torre, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Yankee Years
  • "When one of our generation's greatest pitching minds teams up with one of our generation's greatest baseball writers, the results will be riveting. And this book is riveting. You won't be able to put it down as Cone and Curry take you around the bases on an incredible ride."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; font: 12.0px Arial; color: #2c2c2c}Michael Kay, Yankees YES Network play-by-play announcer
  • "With a keen observational eye, David Cone provides a master's-level class on both the art and science of pitching. Chapters crackle like his trademark slider, none more so than his opus on the pitcher-catcher symbiosis."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; font: 12.0px Arial}Tom Verducci, New York Times bestselling author of The Cubs Way
  • "There was something different about David Cone. There seemed to be a sly knowing smirk in the way he approached life, which carried over when he took the mound. There was an unpredictability, almost mischievousness to the way he went after MLB hitters. You never quite knew which pitch he was going throw, at what angle he would throw it, and what the ball might do. No matter what he did, or for which team he performed, there was evident joy and intelligence on display. Jack Curry and David Cone are the perfect team to allow us fans a window into the thinking of one of our generation's finest and most clever pitchers."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; font: 12.0px Arial}Jim Abbott, former MLB pitcher and author of Imperfect: An Improbable Life
  • "David Cone was as smart and gutsy as any pitcher I ever played behind. In Full Count, he describes what it's like to be on the mound in high-pressure situations. If you want to know what a pitcher is thinking, this is the perfect book for you. I've learned so much about the nuances of pitching from Coney. He's a pitching genius."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; font: 12.0px Arial}Paul O'Neill, former Yankees and Reds outfielder and five-time World Series Champion
  • "David Cone, one of the great pitchers of his era, takes you through his journey, complete with all the ups and downs he faced along the way. Full Count is a must read for any baseball fan."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; font: 12.0px Arial}Tom Glavine, former MLB pitcher and two-time Cy Young Award winner
  • "This is not the typical athlete autobiography. David Cone is thoughtful, mindful, critical and cutting -- often at the same time -- and his life and legacy are captured in full, unsparing detail. His ability to flirt with perfection clearly didn't end on the mound."—Jeff Passan, ESPN baseball reporter and New York Times bestselling author of The Arm: Inside The Billion Dollar Industry Of the Most Valuable Commodity In Sports
  • "Cone provides a unique analysis of an intriguing game."—Booklist
  • "[An] enjoyable memoir that recounts Cone's remarkable career and provides an honest look at the road to the major leagues...While this is a must-read for Cone fans, baseball aficionados of any allegiance will surely delight in this behind-the-scenes memoir."—Publishers Weekly
  • "Refreshing...this is a must-read."
    Library Journal
  • "Insightful...Cone, a former Cy Young winner who threw for both the Mets and the Yankees, offers a probing account of what it takes -- emotionally, psychologically and physically -- to pitch at the major league level."—Newsday
  • "One of the few to find success pitching for New York's Yankees and Mets, Cone had a reputation as one of the game's smartest pitchers. This deep but readable dive into the art of pitching shows why."—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • "In his new memoir, Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher...Cone remembers his career highlight with a little more vulnerability than the fans witnessed on the field. [As] complete and compelling a treatise about what makes a pitcher tick as anything that's ever come before."—New York Post
  • "Baseball fans will gain a deeper understanding of this particularly tough player and the art and science of pitching."—Fordham Magazine

On Sale
May 14, 2019
Page Count
400 pages

David Cone

About the Author

David Cone is the current color commentator for the New York Yankees on the YES Network. He made his MLB debut in 1986 and continued playing until 2003. Cone pitched the sixteenth perfect game in baseball history in 1999. He was a five-time All-Star and led the major leagues in strikeouts each season from 1990-92. A two-time 20 game-winner, he set the MLB record for most years between 20-win seasons with 10. He was a member of five World Series championship teams — 1992 with the Toronto Blue Jays, and 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 with the New York Yankees. He currently lives in New York City.

Jack Curry is an award-winning sports journalist who is an analyst on the Yankees’ pre-game and post-game shows on the YES Network, where he’s worked since 2010. He has won four Emmy Awards as part of YES’s Yankee coverage and is also a columnist for YESnetwork.com. Before joining YES, he covered baseball for 20 seasons at the New York Times, first as a Yankee beat writer and then as a national baseball correspondent. Curry is the co-author with Derek Jeter of the New York Times bestseller The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams. He currently lives in New Jersey.

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