Baseball writers Madden (New York Daily News) and Klein (Newark Star-Ledger) recount the ongoing series of events making up the most bizarre sports story of the past few decades: the incredible saga of the New York Yankees under the megalomaniacal ownership of George Steinbrenner. The authors pool their considerable writing talents and some inside info to piece together the familiar tales of hirings and firings, free agents and fistfights. Steinbrenner has provided good copy since 1973, when he bought the floundering team from CBS. His spendthrift ways and acquisition of high-priced talent like Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter paid huge dividends with three championship teams in the late 70's. But the game itself has taken a back seat to the behind-the-scenes--and occasionally on-camera--squabbling, strife, and confusion. The numerous incidents involving the late Billy Martin are at the center of this story. Manager five times from 1977 through 1988, each of Martin's stints was marked by embarrassing episodes on and off the field. His legendary drunken fights in bars, feuding with players, and battles with umpires inevitably led to emotional firings by Steinbrenner. But Martin was only one of many swept through Steinbrenner's revolving door: the Bronx Bombers have had (including the 1989 season) 11 different managers, 11 presidents, 10 public relations directors, 14 pitching coaches, 25 catchers, and 31 shortstops--all since 1973. As owner, Steinbrenner has treated his team, as one player put it, like ""a dog who has a favorite toy. You know, the way a dog will keep chewing at the toy, tearing at it . . . Eventually, the toy just starts falling apart."" Though they offer little analysis and rarely speculate as to Steinbrenner's motivation, Madden and Klein do a commendable job of sorting through the smoke screens and press releases.