I'D RATHER BE A YANKEE: An Oral History of America's Most Loved and Most Hated Baseball Team by John Tullius

I'D RATHER BE A YANKEE: An Oral History of America's Most Loved and Most Hated Baseball Team

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A history of the New York Yankees, interspersed with oral insights from many of the great players and managers that made that team the sports dynasty of the 20th century. The story goes back to 1903, when Ban Johnson flew in the face of Tammany-Hall politicos, who had ties to John Brush's New York Giants, and obstructed his every attempt to introduce a competing city team to the newly formed American League. Johnson finally prevailed, and 1903 opened with the New York Highlanders playing in Washington Heights. The Highlanders later became the Yankees, a so-so team that didn't gel until a fellow named Ruth was snatched for $100,000 from the Boston Red Sox. Naturally, the book comes alive from this point on, as we read of the amazing exploits of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, Ford, Jackson, et al. Solid statistics pour forth (one forgets that the Babe batted .393 and .376, and ended his career with a .343 lifetime batting average, or that Ruth himself hit more homers--60--in 1927 than any other major league team that year). But always, there is the ""whopper"" quality of the nostalgic reminiscences, as when Lefty Grove, telling of his awe of Jimmy Foxx, says, when Neil Armstrong was puzzled ""by an unidentifiable white object [on the moon], I knew exactly what it was. That was a home run ball hit off me in 1937 by Jimmy Foxx."" All in all, a Yankee fan's dream.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1986
Publisher: Macmillan