We met Yankees star Curtis Granderson when he was in Manhattan recently. Besides being a great person, he also wrote a book that we like a lot. It is "All You Can Be: Learning & Growing Through Sports."
What inspired you to write this book?
I started putting it together, I started seeing the rough draft and how it was turning out, the illustrations were amazing, the photos were amazing and it was an easy read. Where you could read it, I could read it -- younger kids, older kids can all read it and still get the same message out of it. So that was the inspiration and I'm real happy that I've done it.
How did you decide on the story?
At first I didn't want to write a book that's too long, I want to make sure that kids like yourself are reading it and you enjoy reading it and want to read it and you're not bored by it. It's not me just telling, hey you've got to do this or got to do that. I wanted to keep it fun. So when Triumph Books, they came and said we're going to keep it short, get a lot of kids to illustrate it and that's when the interest started to grow, we started piecing it together and I saw the finished product and it turned out to be amazing.
Why did you write this story?
I think the idea of how I got to where I am, the importance of your friends, family, doing well in school, setting goals, trying your best to stay out of trouble, no matter what's arising getting into a little bit of trouble, but try to minimize that and showing the importance of that. And also how, even though I'm older than you guys, I'm just like you guys. I was in the same situation, the same type of school, similar teachers, similar background.
How did you choose your uniform number 14?
The number 14 was my high school number and it was also my dad's softball number, so I mixed the two of those and that's the reason I wear number 14.
When did you know you wanted to be a professional baseball player?
I didn't like baseball. I would have probably tried to play more basketball. I didn't get much taller; I'm a little short. Eventually I might be on the teaching side -- maybe getting you guys when you get to college. You guys might have to learn from me. I've enjoyed the TV side. I've enjoyed the broadcasting side. So maybe one of those avenues.
When did you know you could make it in the Major Leagues?
I would say once I was in college. I knew I had the ability to possibly play at a professional level. There were scouts out there watching me and I was getting letters in the mail from different teams here and there saying we're interested in you coming to play, and, sure enough, I was drafted to play professional baseball for the Detroit Tigers. I was 21 years old, and after that I started playing, and I've always enjoyed playing. I've been playing ever since I was 6 years old. From that point to now, I'm still enjoying every moment.
How do you feel about finishing fourth for the American League's Most Valuable Player Award?
It's great. That's means that over the course of the season, it was recognized that I played exceptionally well, I helped my team to go as far as they did. At the same time, it still leaves room for improvement. Specifically, in this book we talk about goal setting, and now that's another goal. There's always things that you want to improve upon. and every year you look at what you did the year before, and now there's even some more things to try to get better at in this upcoming season.
How do you feel about seeing yourself as a bobblehead?
I never look like myself. There's one time they had me batting righthanded. There's one time they had the number wrong, so everybody that sees it goes, "Is that supposed to be you?" So I haven't seen one that looks like me. Hopefully, we'll get one sooner or later, but it is funny.
You are one of the most popular players in New York. How do you feel about that?
The only difference between myself and the fan is, my job is just slightly different that yours. We're both the same people. We've both grown up very similar. I'm not more privileged than you are and you're not more privileged than I am. So there's an idea of a certain amount of respect across the board, and when given the opportunity to go out there and sign an autograph, take a photo, say hi, it took me a couple of seconds, but for some people it lasts a lifetime.