Yankee for Life: My 40-Year Journey in Pinstripes

Yankee for Life: My 40-Year Journey in Pinstripes

4.4 10
by Bobby Murcer, Glen Waggoner

As he stepped to the plate at Yankee Stadium on opening day in 1966, Bobby Murcer carried with him the hopes and expectations of Yankees fans looking for the next Mickey Mantle. Bobby wasn't the next Mick, of course, but he became one of the most beloved Yankees of all time.

Yankee for Life is Murcer's account of his stellar career as both a player

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As he stepped to the plate at Yankee Stadium on opening day in 1966, Bobby Murcer carried with him the hopes and expectations of Yankees fans looking for the next Mickey Mantle. Bobby wasn't the next Mick, of course, but he became one of the most beloved Yankees of all time.

Yankee for Life is Murcer's account of his stellar career as both a player and an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster. With self-effacing humor and down-home charm, he shares fascinating and illuminating anecdotes about former teammates, bosses, and the new generation of Yankees superstars—Rivera, Jeter, Rodriguez—whom he watched grow up from the broadcast booth. With candor, courage, and a refreshing dose of wit, he tells of his battle with brain cancer, explaining how the love of his wife and family, his deep religious faith, and the passionate support of fans helped see him through his ordeal.

Bobby Murcer may not have achieved the celebrity of some of his fellow players, but ultimately he was what fans always wanted him to be: a Yankee for life.

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Editorial Reviews

During his 17-year (1965-83) major league career, Bobby Murcer played briefly with two other teams; but for millions of fans, he was always and always will be a Yankee. Apparently, this Oklahoma native agrees: For more than two decades, this former five-time All-Star has been a Yankees broadcaster, a job he assumed almost immediately after his retirement. This memoir recounts his days of glory and the challenges he faced as the much-touted heir apparent to Mickey Mantle, but it also describes his more recent, daunting battle with brain cancer. A baseball memoir with an intense human edge.

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HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

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Yankee for Life My 40-Year Journey in Pinstripes
By Bobby Murcer
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2008 Bobby Murcer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061473418

Chapter One

A Major League Headache

During the summer of 2006, I began getting a lot of headaches. No big deal. More annoying than anything else. I figured they were just sinus headaches. As a Yankee TV broadcaster, I put in a lot of hours in the air, at least six or seven flights a month. All that going in and out of pressurized cabins can really mess with your sinuses. Ask people who travel a lot; that's what they'll tell you.

I've never been big on pills, and the few aspirin I took didn't do any good, which just confirmed my thinking on the subject. The headaches would stop when they were good and ready: end of story.

But after a while, maybe a month or so, they started getting worse and more frequent.

So finally, at Kay's urging, I went to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Mind you, I still figured the headaches would go away sooner or later; worst case when the season was over and I stopped all that air travel. Heck, they were just sinus headaches.

Well, the ENT, a good friend and old high school classmate of ours named Dr. Ronnie Wright, checked me out and said, "You may have an infection in there. For us to figure out if it's a deep infection, let's do a CT scan on you." (That's what they used to call a CAT scan, which is a three-dimensional, high-tech X-ray.) So at the end of July I had a CT scan performed at MercyHospital in Oklahoma City.

After the exam, Ronnie came back in to go over the results. He'd read them, the other radiologists there at Mercy read them, and they all came up with the same conclusion: nothing.

By "nothing," of course, they meant no infection, nothing abnormal in my sinuses. So Ronnie didn't give me any special medications. Just "Tylenol as needed." That's basically what it came down to.

But the headaches continued. And they got progressively worse over August and early September. They weren't migraines. I didn't get nauseous or anything. They just hurt enough to be annoying. And they weren't on just one side, the way I understand a lot of migraines are. They were mostly in the front of my head and every now and then in the back of my head as well. Nothing I couldn't manage, mind you, but by the end of the summer they were coming more often.

Then, in October and November, the pain cranked up a notch or two. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was the fatigue factor that kicked in, big-time. For no good reason, I found myself getting tired, really exhausted.

That, more than the headaches, got my attention.

Okay, there's a little break in the action, and I'd like to introduce my longtime playing partner, someone I've known since I was 11 years old. Diana Kay Rhodes Murcer and I have been finishing each other's sentences for more than four decades. Her wise counsel and enduring love lurk behind every word in the book, so I think it's only fitting that you should hear from her directly from time to time as this story unfolds.

After all, in every possible sense, it's our story.

Later, when we found out what had been causing all this mess and set about fixing it, I asked Kay what it had felt like for that crazy Christmas season, living with an alien. And she just said, "Very unsettling."

I knew immediately what she meant. Not knowing what's wrong with you can sometimes be worse than knowing, even when what's wrong with you turns out to be brain cancer.

A few weeks earlier, when the headaches had come back with a vengeance, and the fatigue was laying me low, leaving me without the strength to play golf or do any of my usual physical activities, I had called our family physician, Dr. Hanna Saadah, and told him, "I think there's something wrong with my blood, and that's what's causing this doggone fatigue. I need to come and see you." So he brought me in and ran blood tests, which all came back negative.

So much for my brilliant self-diagnosis.

Dr. Saadah did think he had just the ticket for the headaches, though. "Here's what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm going to give you a couple of shots in your sinuses, and that'll relieve your headaches, believe me." So that's what he did: two injections on each side of my nose. They hurt like the dickens, and for the first couple of days, they seemed to give me some relief.

But then the headaches came back, and they wouldn't go away.

Finally Kay, God bless her, got up the morning of the 23rd and called Dr. Saadah at home. I guess the anxiety and worry had gotten to her. Thank goodness it had. That call might have saved my life.

Kay had already rebooked our flight to California for the following week; neither one of us was in any mood for travel. We were both feeling pretty let down that we'd have to wait for Dr. Saadah to return from his vacation before I could see him, so we decided, the heck with it, let's just go to a movie. I mean, we were so frustrated, so unsettled—there's that word again—that we'd just go to a movie and chill out. But the movie we chose had just the reverse effect: The Good Shepherd was bleak and depressing and nearly three hours long. (It only seemed longer.)

But the minute we walked out of the movie theater, I saw I had missed a call on my cell from Dr. Saadah. I called him back, and he said, "Bobby, I went into the office, and I looked at your records. Let's give you an MRI first thing tomorrow morning. I really don't like the fact you still have your headache."


Excerpted from Yankee for Life by Bobby Murcer Copyright © 2008 by Bobby Murcer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

David Cone
“What an incredible book. Bobby’s an amazingly courageous guy to go through all that and tell his story.”

Meet the Author

Bobby Murcer played major league baseball for 17 seasons with the Yankees, the San Francisco Giants, and the Chicago Cubs. Since 1983 he has been a play-by-play announcer and analyst for the Yankees. He lives with his wife, Kay, in Oklahoma City and La Quinta, California.

Glenn Waggoner is the coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers Clearing the Bases (with Mike Schmidt) and My Life in and Out of the Rough (with John Daly) and has written or edited 19 other books. A founding editor of ESPN: The Magazine, Waggoner is also one of the founding fathers of Rotisserie League Baseball, which ignited the fantasy sports craze in America.

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Yankee for Life 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yankeesfan1972 More than 1 year ago
The book is well formatted with adequate space for Bobby's baseball and broadcast career, as well as his battle with cancer. I appreciated the space given to Kay, his wife, to tell her side of the story at various points, as well as a little input from his two kids. It has its share of baseball stats, but isn't drowning in them. Though Bobby lived only a few weeks after his book was published, his story of courage in dealing with cancer is an inspirational one. It's an easy read, including honesty, humor, candor, and humility. A great book to read and pass on to others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a Yankee and Bob Murcer fan, you will really really really enjoy this book!