David Cone’s illustrious career included 196 wins, a perfect game at Yankee Stadium and five World Series rings. But these days this baseball hero is honoring the real heroes. Cone is working in conjunction with New Era to help Major League Baseball raise money for the Welcome Back Veterans fund. Everyone knows about those cool stars & stripes caps that players wear during 4th of July weekend, but New Era also built a custom stars & stripes motorcycle to auction off at the end of the season, with all proceeds going to Welcome Back Veterans. Cone took time out from enjoying the summer and raising awareness for veterans to take on our 10 Questions. Keep reading to see how he did…
What time is your alarm set for?
Normally it’s not set. When I work games, they’re night games, so I still work nights. Usually I’m up between 8 and 9 even without the clock, though.
Chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice cream?
I’m a chocolate guy.
What was your childhood nickname?
Once Saturday Night Live came out with the Coneheads, that one stuck. I’ve always been Conehead. When I was a freshman or sophomore in high school, one of my friends named me that and it stuck. It’s great, because I’m a big fan of Saturday Night Live and I’ve been lucky enough to meet Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase [two of the actors who played the Conehead characters on the show] and I’m thrilled to be associated with it.
If you weren’t an athlete, what would you want to do?
I was enrolled to go to the University of Missouri and go to their journalism school. I was going to try to make a living in journalism, as a writer or on television. It helped me understand deadlines and how important it is to be consistent – win, lose or draw - to offer something to the writers and not be the guy who’s there to talk when you win but runs out the door after a bad game.
Why did you wear the jersey number you wore?
I believed in taking whatever jersey they gave me. I wore a lot of different numbers. I did ask for #13 when I broke in with the Royals because it was the lowest number they had. But beyond that I just took whatever number came my way. One year I did switch to #17 with the Mets to honor Keith Hernandez when he left. I also took #22 to honor Dennis Leonard with the Royals.
What is your favorite city to compete in?
Obviously New York would be number one on the list. But I loved going to Boston. It’s a great sports town. Chicago is also right up there as well. It would be a tie between Boston and Chicago. Just because of the intensity of the fans in Boston and I loved going to Wrigley Field when I was with the Mets and playing there.
What do you do on your days off?
I live in New York City, so I love just getting out and walking around town. There’s so many things to do in Manhattan. Some people stop me here and there because they’re big baseball fans. A lot of people who are big fans will tell me stories about the day I threw the perfect game. They were either at the Jersey Shore at the beach crowded around the radio or somewhere else with their family or friends. To me, that makes me feel good, that they remember the details of where they were and what they were doing.
Who is the greatest athlete of all-time?
I played with Bo Jackson with the Royals and he would be right up there at the top of the list. So would Dave Winfield. I saw them both personally. Bo had a body like a Greek God. He could do it all. He could run like the wind, he was powerful, he was huge. People don’t realize what kind of throwing arm he had as well. He was probably the best five tool player that I had even seen.
Who is your best friend in sports?
What David Wells and I went through together, both of us throwing a perfect game as a Yankee, sharing those things has brought us close. He’s grown into someone I keep in touch with and go out and visit out in San Diego, where he lives.
What was the last item you purchased?
I purchased a pair of sneakers the other day.