Jack Curry, FCRH ’86, arrived at Fordham as an undergraduate hoping to play college baseball. The Jersey City native had played at Hudson Catholic High School, but after one practice with the Fordham team, he realized he was in over his head. He signed up for The Ram and WFUV the next day.
Now, that experience as a student journalist provides the foundation for a major league media career. Since 2010, Curry has been an analyst for the New York Yankees on the YES Network. He’s also the co-author of two best-selling books with Yankee legends. He worked with Derek Jeter on The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams (Crown, 2000), and his latest book, written with David Cone and published last month, is Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher (Grand Central).
Curry had been thinking about the project with Cone for close to 20 years, from the time when he was a Yankees beat writer and a national baseball correspondent for The New York Times. He wanted to write a book with a pitcher with a creative mind, one who could really explain the mentality needed to master the craft, and he thought Cone—whom his former teammate Paul O’Neill calls “as smart and gutsy as any pitcher I ever played behind,” and whom former pitcher and author Jim Abbott calls one “our generation’s finest and most clever pitchers”—was the perfect fit for the job.
While Cone may be best remembered for his perfect game with the Yankees in 1999—a feat that has only been accomplished 23 times over the course of Major League Baseball’s 144 years—Full Count is full of anecdotes and insights that highlight his place as one of his generation’s greats: a five-time All-Star, five-time World Series champion, and the 1994 Cy Young Award winner.
With the assistance of Curry, a four-time Emmy winner, Cone tells of his working-class upbringing in Kansas City and of the mental and physical demands of a 17-year baseball career. Of particular note are chapters in which Cone describes playing for the thrilling but hard-partying Mets teams in the late 1980s, the unique nonverbal conversations performed by pitchers and catchers to try to outsmart hitters, and being part of a dynastic Yankees team from 1995 through 2000.
Throughout Full Count, Cone and Curry weave a story of all that it takes to play baseball at a high level for as long as Cone did, from his brainy approach to facing batters—like staring in a certain way at his catcher instead of shaking his head to disapprove of suggested pitches, so as not to tip off the batter—to his off-the-field commitment to studying the game. Baseball fans will walk away from the book with a deeper understanding both of this particular player and of the science of pitching. From throwing off batters to finding ways to recreate a spitball without illegally adding moisture to the ball, there are many lessons to be learned for young players and fans of the game alike.
As Curry says, “Thanks to Coney’s insight in this book, I now have a doctorate in pitching.”