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.
Murcer may not be one of the most famous New York Yankees , but he comes across as one of the most likeable in this new memoir. Few young boys grow up to fulfill their childhood ambitions, but Murcer's one of the lucky ones, meeting his "lifelong dream" of signing with the Yankees at the age of 19 (1965 was his rookie year with the team). True to its title, the long-time New York player/broadcaster describes the day he was traded from the Yankees to the Giants in 1974 as a "nightmare," and how it "ripped his heart out" watching his beloved club win two World Series during his four-year absence from the team. None of Murcer's on-the-field stories are particularly notable, and most non-Yankee fans may roll their eyes at Murcer's somewhat overbearing passion for the team many love to hate. But the human side to the man shines through, especially when relating stories of his friend Thurman Munson's tragic death, and most importantly, his own battle with brain cancer. Murcer gives a glimpse into his struggle in the opening chapter before encapsulating what any family goes through in the book's closing pages. There are laughs sprinkled in as well, mostly concentrated in the chapter about Murcer's quirky broadcast partner, Phil Rizzuto ("WW" in the scorebook, in Rizzuto's mind, stands for "Wasn't Watching").
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Enjoyable, sometimes humorous, and occasionally revealing love fests to American sports' most storied franchise, these two volumes present the observations of the great former pinstriper Berra and near-great Murcer. The two ex-Yankees agree about what makes a truly successful team: concern for one's teammates and a largely selfless dedication to the task of winning. No player was more successful in that regard than Berra, whose Yankees won 14 pes and ten World Series championships during his career, in contrast to the ill-timed Murcer, who just missed out on the resurgent Yankees of the late 1970s and barely made a dent on the 1981 pennant-winning team. Berra praises star players Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle for setting an example by working "through tough times," making no excuses, striving for excellence, and passionately caring most about the well-being of the Yankees. He shares stories about Bill Dickey teaching him the art of catching, Jackie Robinson's burning desire to win, Derek Jeter's devotion to the team, Mantle's determination to be "a great teammate," Joe McCarthy and Joe Torre's confidence, DiMaggio's insistence that others play as hard and intelligently as he did, and Reggie Jackson's work ethic. Murcer, projected to be the next Mickey Mantle, never quite reached such heights but felt he had become part of the Yankees when Mick decided Murcer belonged. After exploring the ups and downs of his playing days, Murcer describes his all-Yankee team, the cancer that afflicted him, and issues ranging from steroids and asterisks to Marvin Miller, longtime union leader who devised the game's initial collective bargaining agreement. Both books are recommended for generallibraries.
“What an incredible book. Bobby’s an amazingly courageous guy to go through all that and tell his story.”