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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 5 years, 3 months ago

24 February 2015 PINSTRIPE PRIDE: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE NEW YORK YANKEES by Marty Appel, Simon & Schuster, February 2015, 288p., ISBN: 978-1-4814-1602-3


“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio,

A nation turns its lonely eyes to you”

-- Simon & Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson”


“With Jackie Robinson having been in the majors for eight years, and with African-American players on the rosters of both the [Brooklyn] Dodgers and [New York] Giants, it became a source of irritation for many that the Yankees were still an all-white team. Black baseball fans supported the Yankees and went to Yankee Stadium both for their games and for Negro League games when the Yankees leased their park to those teams…


“But because the Yankees were winning every year, and leading the league in attendance, the team management unfortunately saw little reason to change a formula that was working. They thought those who were complaining were just ‘do-gooders’ and ‘troublemakers.’ They would bring a black player aboard when they felt the time was right--whatever that meant (it was never explained).


“And now, it seemed, the time was right. The player’s name was Elston Howard…


“Typically, the Yankees would play exhibition games on their way north to conclude each spring training, but that too came to a close in 1955, when too many cities they visited still had ‘colored only’ sections in the stands or restricted the team in other ways so long as they had Howard on the team.”


As a little kid, I wasn't conscious of professional sports. But that changed when my grandfather returned home from a sales convention in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the city where the New York Yankees held spring training. My grandfather brought me a baseball signed by Yankees star pitcher Whitey Ford.


I still have that baseball. While I’m not much of a sports fan, I remain intrigued by what was--and some say still is--the premier sports franchise in the world.


PINSTRIPE PRIDE, an adaptation for young people of Marty Appel’s PINSTRIPE EMPIRE, is a satisfying narrative about the one-hundred-plus year history of the New York Yankees. Appel tells of exciting feats by baseball immortals like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Derek Jeter. The book also portrays the colorful, quirky, comedic and sometimes controversial characters who suited up in pinstripes, everyone from Casey Stengel to Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Joe Pepitone, Reggie Jackson, and longtime owner George Steinbrenner.


We see changes in the real world that affected the baseball world such as the evolution from radio broadcasts to television to kinescope recordings to cable and now online broadcasts. We read about the “blue laws” that, for decades, forbade Sunday games in many cities. We learn how modern air travel led to the expansion of major league baseball to cities across the country.  We see the manner in which innovations in other sports such as drafts and instant replay had an effect on baseball.


And, on the darker side, we see the impact of performance enhancing drugs upon the health of players and the integrity of the game. Of course, with baseball being a big business where players can earn millions of dollars, it is no surprise that there will always be some players and some team owners who will consider doing whatever it takes to win and break records.


Over the past 100+ years, when it has come to winning championships and breaking records, no other team in major league baseball has come close to the achievements of the New York Yankees. For many a young baseball fan or aspiring player, PINSTRIPE PRIDE will be a winner.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Pickshttp://richiespicks.pbworks.com







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