This is sooo much more than your average baseball book. If you're interested in statistics alone you can always buy baseball cards. This is a powerful personal story of Mike Lowell: a son, a brother, a husband, a Father, a man who has never, and will never, forget where he and his family have come from and gone through, a CANCER SURVIVOR, and a Major League Baseball player. I can relate to him 100% on everything but being a Major League player. Mike calls this his "FOUNDATION". He unabashedly and with rightful pride details his family's history of fleeing from Castro's Cuba. His Father-In-Law spent fifteen years in a Cuban prison as a political prisoner. His memories of his "Mother having to sew her family's valuables into her dress as a little girl to circumvent the rule limiting a human being's life to one suitcase," is part of what is Mike's "FOUNDATION". This is a great deal more important than hitting and catching a baseball, which of course Mike does quite well as his record indicates via a Gold Glove for fielding, two world championships and four all-star teams. But that is not the true essence of this book.
When Mike was eight-years-old, for the first time in his life he hit a game winning home run and life couldn't be sweeter. But on the way home in the car with his Dad, his Dad turned to him and said: "Doesn't it feel great to get that hit?" "I told him it sure did, still reveling in my new role as a third-grade-star." He then added, "If you want to do that more often, you have to WANT to be the guy that's in that situation-because a lot of people say they want to be in that situation, but they don't want to be in that situation." "Unbelievably, the glory of my home run had suddenly taken a backseat to these words. Even at that impatient age, listening to Dad was always the priority, and this was no exception." Twenty-five years later in the 2007 World Series after he hit the clinching seventh-inning home run he had heeded his Dad's advice again."
But in between the childhood home run and the home run on the world's greatest stage, Mike faced life's largest and most deadly opponent: testicular cancer! The date was February 19, 1999. It's funny the way certain dates loom larger and more important than any others in your life. They make birthdays, anniversaries, graduation days seem inconsequential in comparison. I know! MY DATE is February 13, 2003; that's the day I almost died during brain tumor surgery. Mike hadn't even played one full season in the Major's. He describes what it was like driving by himself with tears streaming down his face with a possibly deadly secret, that only he and his Doctor knew, on the way home to tell his bride of four months. I took the same ride wondering how to tell my son. His loving strong family rallied around Mike and he made it through the surgery. He now chants and prays the exact same mantra I pray, every year I go in for my MRI (like Mike the frequency of these possible life altering tests have become less frequent as the positive results add up.) "PLEASE DON'T COME BACK," "PLEASE DON'T COME BACK. His five year anniversary was February 19, 2004... mine was February 13, 2008. As Mike and I know, these tests make facing a big at bat in a pennant race (or for me trying to close a big sale) akin to a walk in the park on a beautiful spring day.
Yes, Mike has never forgotten where he came from, never forgot the core of his "FOUNDATION", nor have I. Like Mike, my Dad was my idol, and twenty-eight years after his death still is.
Midway through Mike's first season in Boston when Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was reportedly very ill, Mike was quoted on the front page of the "Boston Herald" as saying : ** "I HOPE HE DIES!"** People who didn't know his "FOUNDATION" thought the quote was blown out of proportion, but the truth was that it wasn't. "The truth was that it was more real than most could comprehend." "He explained to the reporters where my anger came from. You have to understand, this was a man who had killed a family member of mine, imprisoned numerous other family members, violated human rights left and right, and forced people to become so desperate to escape his reign that they would go into an ocean knowing only one of four would make it, while the other three would most likely be eaten by sharks. There are tens of thousands of brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husband, and wives who have suffered atrocities at the hands of this man. So that's where my hatred came from. It might not have been the right thing to say, or something easily understood, but it was from the heart."
Personally, I went looking for a baseball book, and I wound up finding a brother in arms in the fight against cancer, and instead of a baseball book I found a "BOOK OF INTEGRITY!"