Tuesday, July 24, 2007

THE BOOK REVIEW: "Senior Year" and other Mid Summer Reads

Dan Shaughnessy is one of the most versatile authors around nowadays adept at nostalgia, commentary, big time sports moments and now "Senior Year" ((Houghton Mifflin, $24.00, 228 pages.) The book is a melding of memory and magic, of musings of baseball times, a re-telling of Shaughnessy's son Sam's "Senior Year" of high school. The book is a look at fathers and sons, baseball and boys and men and life's passages. A notable read.

"Love That Dirty Water" by Chuck Burgess and Bill Nowlin (Rounder, $14.95, 221 pages) is a terrific idea for a book and one that will greatly interest Red Sox fans and those who follow the story of the Standells. The book's general focus is music as it relates to the Old Towne team. And more specifically the song, the unofficial BoSox victory anthem - "Dirty Water" ("We'll love that dirty water Oh, Boston, you're my home oh, you're the number one place..."

There is much in the Burgess/Nowlin volume to savor - including the singing careers of Red Sox heroes Mickey McDermott and Tony Conigliaro and the ballpark organ of John Kiley, to cite just a couple of the very interesting music connections. Highly recommended
Rounder Books also brings us "No Greater Love" by Todd Anton ($18.95, 253 pages). With a foreword by Curt Schilling, the book is sub-titled "Life Stories from the Men Who Saved Baseball." And we are there with such as Ted Williams, Jerry Coleman, Johnny Pesky, Bob Feller, Vin Scully and others. Not exactly "Saving Private Ryan," but a moving and important collection of memories. Get it!

"The Kings of New York" by Michael Weinred (Gotham, $26.00. 286 pages) truly proves that a book can be written about any subject and any sport. This one is all about Brooklyn's Edward R. Murrow High School where there are no teams no sports teams that is. But there is the Murrow Chess team and this book follows for a year the geeks, oddballs and geniuses who comprise the top high school chess team in the United States. Very interesting and unusual reading. A terrific read.

"The Fat Lady Never Sings" by Steve Reilly (iuniverse, $18.95, 117 pages) carries a hefty price for a slim paperback, but this is an appealing tome focused on the community of Derby, Connecticut and the true story of the 1992 Derby Red Raiders narrated by one of its assistant coaches. It is all about the little guy the smallest school in its league advancing to the championship game. A very nice summer read.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Coming in October Five O'Clock Lightning
Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and the Greatest Team in Baseball,the 1927 New York Yankees! Look for it!

Sunday, July 01, 2007


This has not been a memorable year so far for the Yankees of New York.
Roger Clemens has taken the money and fizzled.
Reliever Scott Proctor carried his personal game equipment out to the field long after a 7-0 loss to Oakland and set it ablaze on the gravel outside the Yankees dugout,
And the fans are getting restless waiting to see who thankfully replaces Joe Torre or Brian Cashman or both.

But even with all of the bad news today yesterday (the great, the goofy and the grand) still keeps the Yankee legend aglow:

Babe Ruth Day Speech, April 27, 1947:

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. You know how bad my voice sounds. Well it feels just as bad. You know, this baseball game of ours comes up from the youth. That means the boys. And after you're a boy and grow up to play ball, then you come to the boys you see representing clubs today in your national pastime. The only real game in the world, I think, is baseball. As a rule, people think that if you give boys a football or a baseball or something like that, they naturally become athletes right away. But you can't do that in baseball. You got to start from way down, at the bottom, when the boys are six or seven years of age. You can't wait until they're 14 or 15. You got to let it grow up with you, if you're the boy. And if you try hard enough, you're bound to come out on top, just as these boys here have come to the top now. There have been so many lovely things said about me today that I'm glad to have had the opportunity to thank everybody.

Yankees Manager Saga/Under George Steinbrenner In Chronological Order

Year(s) Name Won-Loss
1973 Ralph Houk 80-82
1974-1975 Bill Virdon 142-124
1975-1978 Billy Martin 279-192
1978 Dick Howser 0-1
1978-1979 Bob Lemon 82-51
1979 Billy Martin 55-40
1980 Dick Howser 103-59
1981 Gene Michael 48-34
1981-1982 Bob Lemon 17-22
1982 Gene Michael 44-42
1982 Clyde King 29-33
1983 Billy Martin 91-71
1984-1985 Yogi Berra 93-85
1985 Billy Martin 91-54
1986-1987 Lou Piniella 179-145
1988 Billy Martin 40-28
1988 Lou Piniella 45-48
1989 Dallas Green 56-65
1989-1990 Bucky Dent 36-53
1990-1991 Stump Merrill 120-155
1992-1995 Buck Showalter 313-268
1996 - Joe Torre

George Steinbrenner's "Seven Commandments" for judging Billy Martin
1. Does he win?
2. Does he work hard enough?
3. Is he emotionally equipped to lead the men?
4. Is he organized?
5. Is he prepared?
6. Does he understand human nature?
7. Is he honorable?

That the day Gehrig replaced Pipp was the day the 2,130 game streak began. It actually began the day before when the man they could call the Iron Horse pinch hit for Pee Wee Wanninger who replaced shortstop Everett Scott who had the record for consecutive games played (1307) until Wanninger took his place.

That Billy Martin punched St. Louis catcher Clint Courtney. at St. Louis' Sportsman's Park on April 28, 1953 -- Yanks and the Browns was a close one, but in the top of the 10th, Gil McDougald broke the 6-6 tie by barreling into Courtney at home plate and jarring the ball loose.

"I'm going to cut the first guy I reach," Courtney promptly announced when he came to the plate in the bottom of the inning. Yankees hurler Allie Reynolds heard the declaration and tried to go up and in on Courtney, but missed. The St. Louis catcher lined the ball into right field and raced around the bases in search of a double, but was far behind the throw to the second base bag.
But Scrap Iron came through on his promise and slid into second with his spikes high. Phil Rizzuto, covering second on the play and was cut badly.
The Bronx Bombers immediately retaliated. Reynolds, McDougald and first baseman Joe Collins were on top of Courtney, the three of them swinging wildly. Both benches cleared as After a lot of flying dust and a lot of flying punches, the melee cleared. Umpire John Stevens emerged from the brawl with a separated shoulder The fines handed out totaled $850 then a major league record for a brawl. Courtney was docked $250. But the most mysterious fine was the $150 tagged on Yankee second baseman Billy Martin, who never threw a punch.