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What better time to read about the Yankees than in 2009, when the new Yankee Stadium opens? This gift-worthy volume will capture the audience caught up in the excitement.
Nothing defines America like baseball. And nothing defines baseball like the Yankees. From the team's beginnings in 1903 to their World Series championships in '96, '98, '99, and 2000, this album captures that century in words, stats, and pictures. Included are such luminaries as Yogi Berra, Don Larsen, and Bob...
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What better time to read about the Yankees than in 2009, when the new Yankee Stadium opens? This gift-worthy volume will capture the audience caught up in the excitement.
Nothing defines America like baseball. And nothing defines baseball like the Yankees. From the team's beginnings in 1903 to their World Series championships in '96, '98, '99, and 2000, this album captures that century in words, stats, and pictures. Included are such luminaries as Yogi Berra, Don Larsen, and Bob Sheppard-and portraits of Mickey Mantle, Don Mattingly, Joe DiMaggio, and Derek Jeter.
? Profiles of the greatest (and worst) Yankees teams
? Quotes, lists, trivia, and tributes
? Tales of fierce rivalries and unforgettable moments
? The hallowed history of "The House that Ruth Built;" the infamous "pine tar incident;" Larsen's perfect game; Lou Gehrig's stirring 1939 speech; the roller coaster ride of the 2001 series; and more...
Owning A Yankee Century is like having a clubhouse pass to the most fabled franchise in baseball.
Introduction by Paul O'Neill
When I was traded to the New York Yankees by the Reds in 1992, I was devastated. I had grown up in Cincinnati and was signed by the Reds right out of high school. The city and the team were places I was comfortable with. New York City and the Yankees were foreign to me.
But my father said: "Being a Yankee will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you." He turned out to be right.
Yet, at the start I didn't think so. The Yankees back then were a struggling, subpar team, and the Bronx was a place I had heard negative things about. In fact, early on my car was stolen-twice. But I stuck with the Yankees, the Bronx, the fans, and learned pretty quickly that there was something very special about all of them.
I went on to make nine consecutive Opening Day starts for the Yankees and was fortunate enough to hit .300 or better in each of my first six seasons with the team, to win a batting title, and to play on four Yankee world-championship teams. It was extraordinary to be in that supercharged environment, to play under pressure day after day, season after season.
But even more significant was my realization that I was becoming part of the history of the most famous, celebrated, and glamorous sports team ever.
I had the honor of playing right field-the same position that had been held down by such greats as Babe Ruth, Tommy Henrich, Hank Bauer, Roger Maris, Reggie Jackson, and Dave Winfield.
I'll always remember running out onto the field with my teammates at Yankee Stadium at the start of a game. I'll always remember listening to Frank Sinatra sing at the end of a game: "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere."
I'll always remember the fans calling out my name, "O'Neill, O'Neill, O'Neill," chanting, "Paul-ie, Paul-ie, Paul-ie." My time as a New York Yankee was nine years and one day, and it came to an end after the 2001 season. I am just one of about twelve hundred players who have performed in pinstripes, and I feel a connection in one way or another with all of them. I hit the jackpot being a member of the New York Yankees.
That is what Harvey Frommer's A Yankee Century is about-the connections, the Yankee tradition, the culture passed down through the decades.
This definitive book captures the sweep and the scope of the team from the Bronx. It is about super talents, guys who willed themselves to succeed. It is about the high moments in franchise history and also about the disappointments. It is about the magic, the aura. It is all about celebrating one hundred years of Yankee baseball.
If you love baseball, if you love the New York Yankees-you will love this book.
Prologue Team of the Century
The beginning for the franchise was muted.
In their first two decades the New York Yankees won no pennants and managed just two second-place finishes. But then over the next forty-four years the team dominated the American League, winning nearly two of every three pennants and twenty World Series.
After that came another pennant drought of a dozen years, followed by years of plenty. Between 1976 and 1980, the Yankees won four division titles, three pennants, and two more world championships. For the next fourteen years, once again there were no pennants. And then came the world championships in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000.
From an inauspicious start back in 1903, once the New York Yankees got going, the world of baseball was never the same. The team from the Bronx has won more regular season games than any other franchise in the history of baseball, thirty-eight American League championships in an eighty-year period, and just about one World Series for every three played, twenty-six in all. The Yankees have been in more World Series and won more world championships and league championships than any other team in history.
They own bragging rights to the top five players of all time in World Series runs scored, RBIs, and total bases; the top three players of all time in World Series home runs, slugging percentages, and pitching; the most players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
No matter what prism Yankee baseball history is viewed through, the image is supreme. The owners have been ambitious and aggressive, the managers prepared and innovative, the players talented and driven, and the regal home field commands respect.
The Yankees have actually played on four different home fields: Hilltop Park (1903-1912), the Polo Grounds (1913-1922), Yankee Stadium (1923 to the present); there were also a couple of odd seasons spent at Shea Stadium (1974-1975) while the old Yankee Stadium underwent a massive facelift.
But the big ballpark, the House that Ruth Built, powerful, historic, helped create and maintain the Yankee tradition right from the start. Through the years players from other teams have come into Yankee Stadium before a game, gawking, awed, and intrigued by the fabled monuments and plaques.
Different owners have put their stamp on the franchise, but Colonel Jacob Ruppert and George Steinbrenner have had the greatest impact.
The aristocratic and arrogant Ruppert held sway over Yankee fortunes from 1915 to 1939, a time of mostly great glory for the Bronx Bombers. One of the richest individuals in America in his time, Ruppert spent a good deal of his treasure on the Yankees. It was Ruppert who was responsible for Yankee Stadium and for the building blocks of the Yankee mystique. He truly earned his nickname, Master Builder in Baseball.
George Michael Steinbrenner III-who has owned the Yankees longer than any other owner-has been on the Yankee scene since 1973, a scene marked by turbulent issues, through stormy and down times to dramatic and thrilling successes. The man they call the Boss has been as devoted and driven about all things Yankee as anyone ever associated with the team. A big spender and poor loser like Ruppert, Steinbrenner remains totally immersed in the affairs of his team. From the first manager, Clark Griffith (1903-1908), through Joe Torre (1996 to the present), there have been a total of forty-two Yankee pilots. They have ranged from indolent to driven, from brilliant to slow-witted, from cautious to carefree. A few, like Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, and Lou Piniella, have served multiple managing terms.
The self-effacing Miller Huggins (1918-1929) was the franchise's first great Yankee manager. Just five feet four inches and 140 pounds, the man they called Hug was an unlikely Yankee. The eighth manager in the sixteen-year history of the franchise, Huggins initially was dwarfed by Babe Ruth and other Yankees in reputation and physical stature. But his tenacity and brilliance overcame his size and image handicaps. The first monument ever at Yankee Stadium was dedicated to the odd little man, "the greatest manager who ever lived," in Pitcher Waite Hoyt's phrase-who moved the Yankees from mediocrity to greatness.
Joe McCarthy came to the Yankees from the Cubs in 1931 and stayed on the scene as manager until 1946. A minor-leaguer for fifteen seasons, "Marse Joe" never played in the major leagues, yet he is the winningest manager of all time. Dedication to craft was one of McCarthy's most outstanding traits, and he passed this on so that it has become part of Yankee culture. The square-jawed pilot spent sixteen years in pinstripes, a time in which his teams won 1,460 games and recorded a superb .627 winning percentage. His 1936-1939 teams won four consecutive world championships. Outlandish, unorthodox, a true baseball lifer, Charles Dillon Stengel was on the scene as manager from 1949 to 1960, a time of legendary accomplishments for the New York Yankees. Out of Kansas City, Missouri, Casey was a master of the pun, the one-liner; he scrambled verbs and adverbs and mangled other parts of speech. But oh, could he manage a ball club. His Yankees won ten pennants and seven World Series, including a record five straight world championships, 1949 through 1953. Only once in his dozen seasons as Yankee manager did a Stengel team win fewer than ninety games. Casey's Yankee career managing record was 1,149-696, a winning percentage of .623.
Pugnacious, disagreeable, driven, Billy Martin had five stints managing the Yankees: 1975-1978, 1979, 1983, 1985, and 1988. Number One's comings and goings were grist for New York City newspaper gossip and a source of endless fascination for fans. His record as a Yankee manager was 556 wins, 385 losses. His teams won two American League titles and one world championship. He died too soon at age sixty-one in a tragic automobile accident.
Joe Torre came to the New York Yankees in 1996. His previous record as a manager was undistinguished. He began the 1996 season with more than a thousand career losses, never having finished higher than fourth. But with the Yankees he turned himself and the franchise around. A communicator, a calm presence, a skilled handler of players (and owners), Joseph Paul Torre promptly showed the stuff that may qualify him as one of the top Yankee managers ever. The first manager in franchise history to be born in the New York City area, the sixth manager to reach the 500-victory plateau (582 wins through 2001), Torre's glittering record includes four World Series titles and five American League championships in just six Yankee seasons.
Owners and managers notwithstanding, it is the players who have truly given the Yankees their magic, their aura, their identity. More than twelve hundred have worn pinstripes.
There have been Babe Ruth's Yankees, Joe DiMaggio's Yankees, Mickey Mantle's Yankees, Reggie Jackson's Yankees, Derek Jeter's Yankees. There have been players with unique talents and standout personas whose images linger down the decades:
The tiny Wee Willie Keeler, hitting 'em where they ain't.
The sturdy Yogi Berra rushing to leap into Don Larsen's arms after the perfect game.
The determined Ryne Duren, wearing the coke-bottle eyeglasses, throwing the fastball to the backstop.
The solid Lou Gehrig playing on and on through the hurt and the pain.
The adroit Phil Rizzuto deftly bunting the ball.
The zoned-in Eddie Lopat tossing the junk balls.
The multitalented Mick busting it down the first-base line, head down after bashing one of his monster home runs.
The peripatetic Thurman Munson in the dirty uniform, blocking home plate.
The composed and collected Mariano Rivera, always ready for the pressure.
Yankee fans have thrilled to the quiet class and dignity of Joe DiMaggio, Earle Combs, Elston Howard, Don Mattingly,
Willie Randolph, Lou Gehrig, Roy White, Bobby Murcer, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams.
They have tuned in to and sometimes been turned off by feisty, fiery, moody ones like Bob Meusel, Joe Page, Roger Maris, Thurman Munson, Billy Martin, Paul O'Neill.
They have admired the gifted ones like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Dave Winfield, Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Red Ruffing, Joe Gordon, Graig Nettles, Herb Pennock, Ron Guidry.
They have been entertained and also annoyed by characters like Lefty Gomez, Mickey Rivers, Phil Linz, Sparky Lyle, Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage, Joe Pepitone.
They have felt a special affection for the tough and dependable ones like Bill Skowron, Chris Chambliss, Hank Bauer, Tommy Henrich, Ralph Houk, Allie Reynolds, Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri.
And they have marveled at the Babe, bigger and better than them all, swinging from the heels, connecting with the crowd, lit up by power and personality. So come, let us celebrate one hundred years of New York Yankees baseball.
--from A Yankee Century by Harvey Frommer, Copyright © 2002, The Berkley Publishing Group, a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc., used by permission.
Posted May 9, 2004
A Yankee Century may at first glance seem like a special interest book, and it will indeed appeal particularly to Yankee fans. However, because of their sheer dominance--it really was their century--the history of the Yankees is to a unique extent a history of baseball in general. Where 100 years of a team like the Reds would inevitably have vast dry patches, we all know and rooted vigorously for or against the Yankees of many different eras. Thus while there are delights in store for the fanatic--like the fact that Babe Ruth by himself had more homeruns (60) in 1927 than the 2nd place team (the A's with 56) or that when Grover Cleveland Alexander had his legendary confrontation with Tony Lazzeri, the Yankee was just 22 years old, just a kid really--no one who follows the game will have trouble finding material here that interests them. Mr. Frommer has included copious illustrations and the book is broken up into a wide variety of sections, from quizzes to profiles to statistics. This makes the book very accessible and, in the best sense, putdownable. It's a book that you want to delve into a bit at a time and to skip around in, rather than to read in one sitting. It's like a king-size Whitman Sampler.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 9, 2004
I shoulda been a Yankee fan. Well, that's what I learned from reading A Yankee Century: A Celebration of the First Hundred Years of Baseball's Greatest Team, by Harvey Frommer. He's a teacher in the Liberal Studies program at Dartmouth College ¿and a longtime Yankee fan,¿¿ according to the book jacket. He's also major league prolific, the author of more than 30 sports books and a number of popular oral histories. Yankee Century is a book for the fan, the true believer, for 12-year-olds tucked in at night in Yankee pinstriped pajamas (and for 40-year-olds tucked in at night in Yankee pinstriped pajamas, for that matter). The Yankees, according to this telling, have been an assemblage of characters (Casey Stengel, Lefty Gomez, Yogi Berra) and demigods, (The Babe, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle). If the Dallas Cowboys are America's Team, then this was Heaven's Team. Greatness followed the players around like an adoring shadow. Sadly, it's sort of true. In the last century, the Yankees have collected pennants and World Series victories as if they were routine stuff. The Yankees were the Big Dog, Microsoft, Joe Louis, General Motors. Other teams have risen up and taken their shots at greatness, but no other major league team has been as consistently good. Time for an admission: I'm a Red Sox fan. History has not been kind: The Sox are the Titanic, the Yankees the iceberg. I read this book out of professional obligation. I've had my nose rubbed in the greatness of the Yankees all my life. The Red Sox last won the World Series in 1918. The Yankees have since won 26 times. They've been feasting, while Red Sox fans have been left with bitter crumbs. But enough about the Red Sox, baseball's longest-running Shakespearean tragedy. (¿My kingdom for a first baseman. ¿ Out, damn Bucky Dent! ¿ What fools these managers be!¿) A Yankee Century takes the reader through New York's glory, and a couple of dry spells. It's mostly uncritical, the way sportswriting used to be, before reality and cynicism intruded. That's kind of refreshing in a way. If we wanted to think about labor strife and corporate shenanigans, we¿d read the Wall Street Journal, not box scores. Alas, that's too simplistic, but baseball seemingly was meant to be a simple pastime. Yankee Century offers all the highlights, funny quotes, trivia (Iron man Lou Gehrig pinch-hit for Pee-Wee Wanninger, not Wally Pipp, to start his historic streak), lists and quizzes a true Yankee fan might want. Other fans wrestle with the question of whether all this Yankee success has been good for the game. Much of it has been due to smarts and talent, but much has also been due to the Yankees' dominant revenue stream. If you can't beat ¿em, outspend ¿em. Yankee fans, of course, do not worry much about this. The last century was theirs and presumably the new one won't be bad, either.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2003
This N' That with Tony Mack: BLACK ATHLETE SPORTS NETWORK BOOK REVIEW: A YANKEE CENTURY\*********************************************************** **** BRISTOL, CONN---Earlier this year, you may have read a book review I wrote on the historic relationship between Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson. That book was penned by noted baseball writer and historian Harvey Frommer. Prof. Frommer has since come out with another historic baseball book, this time about the sport's most celebrated franchise. Frommer, who authored 'The New York Yankee Encloypedia', has now penned 'A Yankee Century: A Celebration of the First 100 Years of Baseball's Greatest Team'. Not only does Frommer give an oral history of the Pinstripes, but there are several rare photos of Yankee greats past and present. From Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter, Lou Gehrig to Reggie Jackson, and all those in between, 'A Yankee Century' is keepsake dream for fans of the Bronx Bombers and a nightmare for Yankee haters all over. Even though this review is being written by a lifelong Met fan, I found this to be a very entertaining read. One of the things that was enjoyable about the book is how Frommer has separate 'Yankee Stories' on the well-known and lesser known ex-Yankees. A humble Chris Chambliss talks about coming over from the lowly Cleveland Indians in a 1975 and then winning the pennant with a dramatic homer in the 1976 ALCS against the Royals. Frommer also writes about the plight of Elston Howard, the first Black to play for the Yankees. His struggles on and off the field are chronicled along with a review of his very understated career as a player and coach. The breathtaking and sometimes tumulous career of Reggie Jackson in pinstripes is also well chronicled. 'Mr. October' had one of the greatest moments in Yankee history when he hit three homers in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. At the time, it gave the Yanks their first World Series title in 13 seasons and he would help them go back to the next season. Among some of the other African American players that are featured in Prof. Frommer's book are Jeter, current third base coach and ex-captain Willie Randolph, Bernie Williams, and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield. The book also includes a comprehensive trivia quiz, quotes, anecdotes, and other entertaining features for all baseball fans, Yankee or otherwise. If you know a true Yankee fan, it's a great addition to their library. If you know a true Yankee hater, this will be a best way to start an arguement.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 12, 2003
As a third-generation NY Yankees fan for over 25 years, I always imagined that the definitive book on the NY Yankees would resemble a massive, folio-sized tome of at least 1500 pages, printed in slightly crooked, eight-point typeface, and would require the arcane taxonomies of a sixteenth-century Neo-Platonist just to organize usefully the reams of esoteric material one might hope to see. Harvey Frommer, who also wrote The New York Yankee Encyclopedia, makes no such attempt here, though his academic credentials as a professor at Dartmouth College and authorship of more than thirty books might tempt him to do so. Frommer¿s newest book, A Yankee Century, is an entertaining and readable historical account that balances a desire for completeness with a judicious compression of information that only very rarely comes up short. Statistics are used to highlight, rather than sustain, the stories of the players, and Frommer goes out of his way to provide as many illustrative quotations as he can. A Yankee Century is the most up-to-date, complete history of the team ever written, and its diverting format and choice nuggets will not only delight any true fan of the game (and satisfy Yankee fans looking for some new little tidbit of the history behind the legends), but also succeeds with its elegant (if not Neo-Platonic) organization, incorporating the newest Yankee Dynasty of the last decade. Coming in at around 400 pages, the book eschews the traditional chronological narrative, dividing into ten entertaining chapters, each with its own structural logic. This allows one to take in many shorter, ¿complete¿ mini-histories¿one sitting at a time. Slightly oversized, it is perfect for the library or the coffee table. The first chapter is a short, forty-page chronology with a handful of choice facts listed year-by-year and day-by-day. Frommer doesn¿t forget things like the no-hitter that Andy Hawkins lost to the White Sox 4-0 in 1990, the signing of Don Gullett in late 1976, Mickey Mantle¿s only time hitting for the cycle (July 23, 1957), or Wally Pipp¿s sale to the Reds for $7,500 (1926). Since one can only really get the flavor of an entire season by reading a longer, book-length account of a single year, the chronology is a nice, fact-surfing appetizer. Chapter two is a short history of Yankee Stadium, and the earlier homes of the Yankees-Highlanders. Chapter three begins modestly with the Highlanders roster, and moves chronologically through ¿Memorable Moments¿ in team history¿mostly hitting records, game-winners, no-hitters, post-season heroics, and the occasional focus on a September pennant race or a notable team brawl, and includes, of course, the infamous ¿Pine Tar¿ game and the recent 9th-inning heroics of the 2001 World Series. Feature boxes with detailed box scores for Joltin¿ Joe¿s complete hitting streak and Ruth¿s 60 homers are interesting statistical monuments that one will be inclined to skip altogether, or read one-by-one to discover long-forgotten players. By far the largest section, Chapter four is the ¿Yankee Who¿s Who¿: one page features of Yankee Hall of Famers alongside all the notable legends who never made the Hall, and contemporary stars like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. The decision to organize this section alphabetically creates a powerful effect of continuity by juxtaposing old-timers and active players. For example, one section of the R¿s has Bobby Richardson, Dave Righetti, Mariano Rivera, Red Rolfe and Phil Rizzuto; Derek Jeter follows Reggie Jackson and is succeeded alphabetically by Wee Willie Keeler. Although not all the bios include player photos, Frommer is only rarely too judicious in his selections. Paul O¿Neill, Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles, Bernie Williams, Ron Guidry and Dave Winfield all make the Who¿s Who. Perhaps hedging his bet, Roger Clemens is included as well. Honorable Mention to Roy White seems fine, but Mel Stottlemyre deserves a full feature there (especially given his talWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 13, 2003
SPORTSBIZ If you're a Yankee fan, you've got to pick it up. It has everything - - lists, quotes, profiles, sketches, great game, teams, personalities. A true celebration of the Yankees. Very interesting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 13, 2003
The book to give to Yankee fans, to Yankee haters - - pure Yankee baseball told by a sports author pro. Highly enjoyable. If you like baseball - you will love this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2003
Absolutely fantastic! I'm very glad that I can add it to my ever-growing baseball library. As an Art Director, the layout and design was very simple and elegant (classy) - just they way it should be. As a Yankees fanatic, the information is second to none and as an aspiring baseball writer the book was inspirational. *********************Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 20, 2003
A Yankee Century should please Yankee loyalists and haters. Sure. Frommer goes over the Pinstripe greats and all of the 26 World Championships, but he also has fun selecting the worst Yankee teams of all time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 19, 2002
I think this book is more appropriate for kids and casual fans to flip through rather than a hardcore Yankee fan who already knows a lot about the team - there's a lot of "gee whiz" writing and hero-worship in this book without much perspective. That's not all bad but in the end the book isn't very distinctive. I think the history section could have been done away with, since it is just a lot of old stories that are simply re-told and is in no way a centennial history of the team. The meat of the book is lists upon lists of various Yankee things. Some are real interesting but others can be found in media guides or on-line and a few seem like pointless filler. Like a lot of Yankee books too you get alot more on DiMaggio and Ruth and Mantle than the stuff from my lifetime, not to mention the past five or six years. A better description of the book would be an encyclopedia of trivia or a book of lists. I might have given it four stars except for one complaint: there are a lot of pictures in the book but the cheezy paper (like from a paperback and easy to tear) makes them look washed out and the big print makes the book seem like there is more to it than there really is.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 18, 2002
This is essentially a trivia/stats/encyclopedia book with very little real history or much else worth reading. While enjoyable to a point, and fun to flip though once in a while, the problem with such books is that some of it is already out of date and much of it is already available elsewhere. I found myself skipping around looking for things I didn't already know. Recommended if you have to have everything ever published about the Yankees (I'm guilty), but then again, if you do, you probably already have most of this.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.