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New York City Baseball: The Last Golden Age, 1947-1957

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2004

    New York City Baseball: The Last Golden Age, 1947-1957

    The Perfect Game. The Tape Measure Home Run. The Catch. Integration. The Shot Heard 'Round the World. You know the events. Now read the stories behind them. The latest offering from noted author and historian Harvey Frommer, a reprinting of New York City Baseball: The Last Golden Age, 1947-1957, (Paperback, University of Wisconsin Press, $19.95) does not disappoint. The original was published in 1980, with a reprinting and a new afterward in 1992. This edition has a new forward by Monte Irvin, but otherwise does not appear to include anything that the 1992 edition didn't. But that's OK. It's got plenty. The time period that Frommer and many other baseball historians call the Last Golden Era, 1947-1957, at least for New York baseball, saw the Yankees, Dodgers or Giants capture 17 of 22 possible pennants (9 by the Yankees) and nine of 11 World Series titles (7 by the Yankees). More than half of the MVP awards given in that span went to players from New York teams. It was truly a dominant time for the City That Never Sleeps, and Harvey Frommer does a great job of recounting the era. He discusses the teams myriad successes and few failures, the histories of each of the three NY teams, their rivalries, and the eventual move by the Giants and Dodgers out to the West Coast All of this Frommer carefully places within the framework of living and working, growing up and growing old in the booming, post-World War II era that allowed this country, and indeed New York City itself, to experience some of the most significant growth, socially, economically and otherwise, it has ever seen. Frommer's penchant for writing about history and his ability to get stories about history's figures, often from the figures themselves, both serve him well in this book. One of the best aspects of his work is the numerous first-hand accounts of the happenings inside clubhouses and on trains, the little anecdotes that make our heroes human, but that we often do not hear about until they have passed. New York City Baseball is no exception to this rule, chocked full of these stories, which can be equally as poignant to the young fan who never saw Willie or Mickey or Duke play as to the older fan who spent his childhood arguing which of those was the greatest. Those of us who never got to hear Red Barber or Mel Allen call a game can appreciate their involvement in this time as much as someone who grew up with his ear glued to the radio, listening for a 'How about that?' Frommer's style, the simple, straightforward prose that clarifies without embellishing, that gives the story without trying to impress you with his vocabulary, makes you feel almost as if you could see and hear these old-timers sitting across your kitchen table from you, telling their own stories over a cup of Joe. Speaking of Joe, some of the greatest players in history either rose to stardom in this time or called it their heyday: DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, Rizutto, Ford, Mays, Snider, Campanella, Hodges, Furillo, Monte Irvin, Johnny Antonelli, Sal Maglie, Hoyt Wilhelm, Dons Newcombe and Drysdale, Gils Hodges and MacDougald, Pee Wee Reese, and of course, Jackie Robinson, all saw prominence and success in this time, and Frommer has stories for each of them. Ultimately, though, this book isn't about something new. It's about several things old, old and wonderful, at least for fans of New York baseball, which I am. We need books like this one, and writers like Harvey Frommer, to remind us that baseball isn't just about statistics and dollars. It's about people. Some of the greatest of these are now gone forever, but at least they left some of their memories with Harvey before they left.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2004

    New York City Baseball: The Last Golden Age, 1947-1957

    I knew this was going to be a special book. The author is a real expert on New York baseball in the ¿Golden Era¿ and these books really serve as great reference books besides being great reads. This book talks about the Dodgers moving and after talking with Carl Erskine recently I realized how much that move affected the players as much as the fans! When the Bums beat the Yankees on October 4th, 1955 the author paints a terrific picture of one of the greatest World Series moments. Even Met fans will love this book as it has some great quotes from Wes Westrum and there are some early memories from the team¿s struggles at the Polo Grounds, formerly the home of the New York Giants! This book does a nice job of keeping up with events of the era such as the new Buick B-58 car and other nuggets. This book also details the early career of one Jackie Robinson like few books ever have. You can read what Hall-of-Fame announcer Red Barber thought that time in baseball history. This book also talks about a young ballplayer that hit the streets of New York, one Willie Mays! If you ever heard the song `talkin baseball¿ then you will be able to read about Willie, Mickey and the Duke! Look at the great pictures and marvel at the Abbott, Costello and Joe DiMaggio shot! This book has everything and if you wanted to learn more about this era, buy the book!

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