The Captain: A Memoir, by David Wright and Anthony DiComo [Review]

First, kudos to Anthony DiComo, a gifted and experienced sports writer, for crafting the life story of David Wright and making it a pleasure to read. The writing here reads as if it’s David Wright’s voice, and it’s masterful in presentation and flow. Great job by a writer who rightly gets co-writer billing (rather than just “as told to “ or even ghostwriter).

The book itself is exactly what you would expect from The Captain. It’s a warm blanket and a cup of warm cocoa (with whipped cream). David has wonderful things to say about everyone. Even people he didn’t get along with (like Mike Piazza) get high-fives and good wishes. David loved everyone, and everyone loved David. Kumbaya. If you’re looking for inside dirt, or scandalous stories, or criticism of anyone, you’ve got the wrong book. This isn’t Ball Four, it’s “Coming Home.”

Write’s life story was a fairy tale of hard work bringing success and fame – until he got injured. His recitation of his rehab, return, and then re-injury are sad, but provide only brief moments of true inspiration. The story of his first game back in Philadelphia, and the birth of the cookie club, was fun and poignant. The recitation of his last game, when he had to finally accept his retirement, but worked so hard to get back to the point where he could appear one last time on the field, was uplifting. The rest of the book was . . . comfortable. Lots of praise for those who helped him, praise for teammates, praise for the front office, even relatively nice comments about the universally hated Jeff Wilpon. It’s like watching an animated movie classic – you have great memories of how much you loved it years ago, and it creates no controversy or ill will toward anyone.

What holds it back from being a 5-star read is the absence of anything new or surprising (or controversial). Whatever salacious stories David could have told, he didn’t. Whatever tidbits of inside information he had, he kept to himself. It’s a pleasant trip down memory lane, and the writing is terrific.

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