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Posted July 26, 2014
3 of 5 stars (good)
Twenty current or former players for the New York Yankees are interviewed and asked to share the story of what was the best game he remembers while playing for the New York Yankees in this book by Dave Buscema. Because the interviews were done in 2004 or later, the time frame covered in the book is from the 1950’s to 2009; the latest game chronicled by current Yankee pitcher C.C. Sabbathia.
One chapter is the story of one player’s memorable game, and the format is the same for each chapter – an introduction to what the game is, a brief recap of the player’s life and career, the lead in to the game and then the game itself. The lead in may be a recap of the regular season before a playoff game or a story behind why the game is memorable for the player.
I found the better stories to be those of games you would not expect to be included by the player. For example, Mel Stottlemeyer, the long-time pitching coach who was a good pitcher for the Yankees in the early 1970’s, chose a regular season game in which he beat that season’s Cy Young winner, Vida Blue, during the middle of the 1971 season. Why did he choose that one? Because his young sons told him that morning that Dad didn’t have a chance to beat Vida Blue that day.
Another unexpected choice was in the chapter on Dave Righetti’s memorable game. It wasn’t the one that everyone else remembers – the no hitter against Boston on July 4, 1983. Instead, it was during the 1981 American League Championship Series against Oakland when he appeared in his first playoff game in front of family and friends. Most of the other games are the ones that you expect from the player interviewed, such as Reggie Jackson’s three home runs in game six of the 1977 World Series or Bucky Dent’s home run in the one-game playoff against the Red Sox in 1978.
I felt the book, while fun and easy to read, had the feel of being written by a fan who was very excited to be able to talk to his favorite Yankees. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it felt at times like more of a Yankee booster publication instead of a book on the recent history of the franchise as seen through the eyes of the players. I also noted a factual error that is minor in the grand scheme of the book, but did make me question how much research and editing was done for the book. In the Righetti chapter, the Yankees defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1981 Division Series, and Buscema stated that “the Brewers would go on to win their own World Series the following year.” That is incorrect – the Brewers lost the 1982 World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Little inaccuracies like that drive me crazy in non-fiction books.
Overall, though, the book is an easy read and one that Yankee fans will certainly want to add to their libraries as it recaps some memorable games in the history of the franchise.
Did I skim?
Pace of the book:
It is a very quick read as the chapters are broken into short segments about the player and his career, the build up to the game remembered, then the game itself. These are all told from the viewpoint of the player interviewed.
Do I recommend?
Yankee fans, especially those who have followed the team since the 1970’s will enjoy this book as the memories of some great games come back to them.
Book Format Read: