MURDERERS' ROW: The 1927 New York Yankees by G.H. Fleming

MURDERERS' ROW: The 1927 New York Yankees

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KIRKUS REVIEW

More crackerjack baseball memorabilia from the author-compiler of The Unforgettable Season and The Dizziest Season. The '27 Yanks are generally regarded as the best baseball team in history--.714 winning percentage, Ruth's 60 HRs, Gehrig's 175 RBIs, Lazzeri, Meusel, and Combs batting over .300, great pitching with Hoyt, Pennick, Shocker, and Moore. Fleming evokes that quasi-immortal team and its phenomenal season through an anthology of clips--with a deft, useful commentary--from the N.Y. and out-of-town sportswriters who actually covered it. Fleming even elicited a lively, intelligent introduction from Waite Hoyt just before his death in August, 1984. The writers are a motley crowd, including the famous (Ford Frick, Paul Gallico, Grantland Rice, etc.) and such obscure figures as Will Wedge and Bozeman Bulger. In contrast to today's snappy, acidulous sportsprose, the 1927 variety tends to be genteel (""While six errors scattered their vexatious presence through the blue Monday box score. . . Mr. Lazzeri continued to perform in smooth and faultless style""), quaint (""Forget not Master Waite Hoyt in the second encounter""), corny (a Ruth HR gives a little car crash victim the will to live), and conservative (""too much money"" for player salaries ""breeds a lot of children who often get out of hand and become unruly""). One surprising feature of the '27 scribes is their casual use of ethnic-racial jokes and slurs: Lazzeri is ""the walloping wop"" or ""the spaghetti mangler."" Ruth, Gehrig, and Lazzeri are so colorful that ""the Yankees resemble a necktie designed for the trade in Upper Harlem."" Next-generation enthusiasm for the great teams of the past often carries an air of antiquarian nostalgia; these jaunty, chatty play-by-play, day-by-day reports have just the freshness and color proverbially denied to yesterday's newspaper. A well-designed time capsule.

Pub Date: April 29th, 1985
Publisher: Morrow