No matter how many books he writes, grappler-turned-author Mick Foley may never outwrestle his professional wrestling past.
"I think exactly one person has referred to me as an author first and not a wrestler. 'Aren't you that author?' " Foley said in an interview with ABCNEWS.com. "I think, unfortunately, I'll have to write a lot of good books before people forget that I'm a wrestler, or it just becomes a sidenote. But I'm proud to be a wrestler/author. And as far as wrestler/authors go, I think I'm up right there at the top."
Foley recently released his latest book, "Scooter," a coming-of-age novel about a boy growing up in the Bronx, against the backdrop of Yankee Stadium. "Scooter" is the seventh book -- three of which have been children's books -- by Foley since his surprise 1999 autobiography, "Have a Nice Day!: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks," which was on The New York Times' best-seller list.
But despite his prolificacy, the wide-eyed looks the 6-foot-4-inch, 280-pound Foley received when he visited ABCNEWS.com suggest that the former World Wrestling Entertainment champion's claim to fame -- at least for now -- remains his antics as a performer in the ring.
"That's one crazy guy," said one onlooker.
Foley wrestled under several different ring names and personas. In his early years, he was known as Cactus Jack Manson because of his reckless physical style and long straggly hair and goatee that bore a resemblance to Charles Manson.
While wrestling for other smaller independent promotions around the United States and the world, performing in gimmick matches where rings were surrounded by barbed wire and riddled with thumb tacks, he simply became known as Cactus Jack. He became more widely known when he wrestled for the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling promotions before achieving his greatest fame in WWE as the character Mankind -- a tortured villain who wore a Hannibal Lector-esque mask/muzzle and ultimately became a beloved hero.
Today, Foley, a happily married, 40-year-old father of four, is somewhat less intimidating. Clad in black jeans and boots, a T-shirt that says Jim Ross' Barbeque Sauce -- a tribute to the longtime WWE announcer -- and a Negro Leagues baseball jersey, Foley is at times self-deprecating when he describes his own writing ability.
"Everytime I sit down, it's a struggle to come up with the first words or just to convince myself that I'm still capable of writing. Every previous book seems like a fluke," Foley said. "And then when I begin writing, everything seems natural."
"Scooter," Foley said, was inspired by his need to find comfort in New York in a post-9/11 attack world. A Long Island native who grew up watching wrestling and the Yankees, Foley said that up until the terror attacks, he had never really explored and appreciated the Bronx and Manhattan. They were just places he visited when he traveled into the city by train.
But Foley had the opportunity to attend the first Major League baseball game played in New York after 9/11 and sat with some members of the city's police and fire departments. He researched the history and some of the landmarks in the Bronx and rekindled a love for baseball, which had faded when his boyhood idol, Yankees catcher Thurman Munson, died in a plane crash in 1979.