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While most knew that A’s owner Arnold Johnson was somewhat affiliated with Yankee owners Dan Topping and Del Webb through his joint ownership of Yankee Stadium, The Kansas City A’s ...
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While most knew that A’s owner Arnold Johnson was somewhat affiliated with Yankee owners Dan Topping and Del Webb through his joint ownership of Yankee Stadium, The Kansas City A’s and the Wrong Half of the Yankees digs into the deeper business entanglements among the three. In addition to the questionable trades and his earlier purchase of “The House that Ruth Built,” Johnson’s purchase of the then–Philadelphia A’s shows signs of Yankees clout.
Through periodicals,letters, conversations with contemporary players and executives, and an analysis of player records, author Jeff Katz has compiled a chronological account of how, through the hands of a friend and business partner, the Yankees controlled two of the eight American League teams during the second half of the 1950s.
A publication of Maple Street Press, distributed by Potomac Books, Inc.
Posted January 21, 2008
Has there ever been a city so ill used by a baseball owner as Kansas City was from 1955 to 1960 by Arnold Johnson? As a child I remember hearing, ¿¿if only Arnold Johnson had lived, we wouldn¿t be in this fix.¿ After reading this book, all I can say is¿.let us just say he makes Charlie Finley into a saint. This book lays bare the thinking of baseball management and ownership in the 1950¿s. It is not hard to see how baseball fell from it¿s pinnacle of popularity to poor second place once the author takes you inside the machinations of the owner meetings that effectively stripped Philadelphia of its most successful sports franchise and turned it a Yankee puppet. Jeff Katz shows (and proves) the incestuous Yankee ¿ Athletics relationship, from conception in the stadium deals, through incubation in the columns of Ernie Mehl, Kansas City Star sports writer and New York Yankee front man, to the birth of the Kansas City Athletics as ¿the wrong half of the Yankees.¿ The trades began almost prior to opening day. Mr. Katz shows the utter disdain Johnson had for his paying customers. Katz shows that relationship was apparent not only to the fans, but to the other owners as well. He shows Arnold lied to the fans, the press, his fellow owners, and even to Congress. The owners, in turn, showed contempt for Johnson and the A¿s in general. Their attitude is a sad testament for a once proud franchise that had fallen on tough times. A side note, I heard the author interviewed on KCUR, the NPR station in Kansas City. He was interviewed by Steve Kraske, a reporter for the Kansas City Star, during the interview Mr. Kraske kept saying ¿Isn¿t that what we have now¿all our good players go to the Yankees?¿ In my mind, this is immaterial. In the era this book covers, free agency was not in existence. The reserve clause kept rosters 'and salaries' stable. I have my doubts if the interviewer had read the book, if he did, it failed to elicit the outrage that I felt. Another note: John E. Peterson in his heroic work, The Kansas City Athletics: A Baseball History, 1954-1967 does an in-depth analysis of Yankee ¿ Athletic transactions. He concludes that they were not all that one-sided. This book will challenge and demolish that conclusion.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.