My column this week on Baseball Prospectus is an interview with the author of the new book Facing Clemens: Hitters on Confronting Baseball's Most Intimidating Pitcher, Jonathan Mayo. Some readers I'm sure will recognize the name since Mayo is also a senior writer for MLB.com who typically writes about the minor leagues and can be found all over the place as the draft approaches.
In epitome, Mayo's book is a look at what it's like to compete against Clemens from the perspective of thirteen hitters who faced him at various points in his and their careers. Beginning with Dave Magadan, whose University of Alabama Crimson Tide faced off against Clemens' University of Texas squad in the 1983 College World Series, Mayo takes us all the way through the 2007 season with Torii Hunter's final three--ultimately unproductive--plate appearances that capped his unbroken string of futility. Along the way we hear from Hall of Famers like Cal Ripken Jr. and future member Ken Griffey Jr., star players including Gary Carter, Chipper Jones, and Luis Gonzales, to lesser-known hitters like Daryl Hamilton and Phil Bradley (Clemens' 20th strikeout victim in his 1986 record-setting performance), and finally culminating with the story of minor leaguer Johnny Drennan who homered off of Clemens during the pitcher's minor league stint in 2006 as well as Clemens' son Koby. In all, thirteen players are interviewed and the book includes plenty of interesting anecdotes not only about Clemens but on other topics from the hitters perspective.
Although readers will no doubt read the book in a different light than Mayo had intended, it is an interesting compilation and it was nice of Jonathan to "sit down" with me for the interview.