"What's drawn me to his legacy is someone of modest physical abilities and making the most out of them. A guy who protected home plate with his life, who was willing to sacrifice his own statistics for the betterment of the team," Foley said. "I mentioned in my autobiography that I like to consider myself a Thurman Munson-type wrestler who did certain things in the ring that the average fan might not appreciate but that would be appreciated by my fellow wrestlers in the back. ... Munson's death signaled, in some ways, a loss of innocence for me. He was my hero, and it was about 20 years before I really followed baseball again."
Foley, a former Little League catcher, said he did not realize the role baseball played in his life until he saw all the references he had made to the game in his autobiography. Munson, Pete Rose's barreling into catcher Ray Fosse during the 1970 All-Star game and Carlton Fisk's famous home run against the Cincinnati Reds in the 1975 World Series were among the Foley's favorite baseball references in his book.
Foley could not easily identify a modern-day, Munson-like player that he admires. But he did say he enjoyed watching one Yankees pitcher play.
"I love watching Al Leiter pitch because he struggles every single game," he said. "Every single game, whether it's a good one or a bad one, is a heroic effort. So, I like seeing guys work hard. I like seeing guys who have a passion for the game. I like seeing a guy like Al, who I imagine is at the tail end of his career, continue to have a passion for the game."
Foley was an unlikely world champion in pro wrestling. He did not have the physique of Hulk Hogan or the matinee idol looks of "The Rock" Dwayne Johnson. He wasn't extraordinarily strong or agile. Like Munson did for the Yankees, Foley had a reputation for sacrificing his own body to make the scripted match and his opponent -- his fellow wrestler and teammate -- look good.
Foley has said that the key to being a good heel in pro wrestling is that the villain must believe in his cause, that he is in the right, no matter what. The key to good storytelling, Foley believes, lies in the main character of the book.
"I believe it's coming up with a likable protagonist," Foley said. "There have been other books written where not a single character is likable. But my style is to come up with a character that the audience can invest their emotions in and then have bad things happen to him. It's kind of the flip side of 'The Wizard of Oz': Dorothy said some of it was terrible, most of it was wonderful. With me, it's more like some of it was wonderful, most of it was horrible. At the end I like to offer a small glimmer of hope, though I'm beginning to believe maybe I need to work on offering more hope than I have offered previously."
The success of "Have a Nice Day" and his subsequent memoir, "Foley is Good," opened the door for numerous other professional wrestling autobiographies and other books that continue to be released today. Not all of the books have been well-received and none has sold as well as Foley's works.
Foley's subsequent books have not been as successful as his first two offerings. But even if "Scooter" never makes the New York Times best-seller list, Foley -- who is returning to WWE for the return of its "Raw" program to the USA Network tonight -- hopes his latest book leaves a memorable impression on readers.