"The Complete Game: Reflections on baseball and the Art of Pitching," by former Mets pitcher and current SNY broadcaster Ron Darling, is about as good as it gets in baseball reading.
Darling published this book in 2009, fourteen years after he threw his final major-league pitch, yet the book rocks because of the memory he has for specific pitches, moments and conversations. He breaks down the books into "innings," giving us his most memorable first inning, second inning and so on, with a bonus chapter on the legendary, extra-inning game he pitched for Yale against St. John's and Frank Viola in 1981.
Through these 10 accounts, plus a post-mortem about his retirement, Darling gives us a biography of not just his professional life but his personal life. Yet there's enough baseball geek-ery in here to satisfy any seamhead.
Now I'll give my copy of the book to the first person who e-mails me - at firstname.lastname@example.org - with the correct answer to this question:
Darling made his big-league debut on September 6, 1983, starting for the Mets against the Phillies at Shea Stadium. He began the game with a 1-2-3 top of the first against three extremely well-known hitters. Two now are members of baseball's Hall of Fame, and the other appeared to be a slam-dunk at the time of this meeting with Darling, but is not now.
Name this notable trio of 1983 Phillies batters.
UPDATE, 12:28 CDT: We have a winner! Dennis knew that Darling began his major-league career by going against Joe Morgan (strikeout), Pete Rose (strikeout) and Mike Schmidt (groundout to third). You can see the information here.