OCTOBER TWELVE by Phil Rizzuto

OCTOBER TWELVE

Five Years of Yankee Glory 1949-1953
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 This often rambling and convoluted memoir is Rizzuto's tribute to the 12 men who played with the New York Yankees in each of the team's championship years from 1949 to 1953. Besides Rizzuto, the October 12 were: Yogi Berra, Charley Silvera, Bobby Brown, Jerry Coleman, Johnny Mize, Joe Collins, Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds, Eddie Lopat, Gene Woodling, and Hank Bauer. While there are several reminiscences from ``the 12'' (including Bauer's being consoled by Senator John F. Kennedy over a brawl at the Copacabana), the majority of anecdotes belong to Rizzuto. He initially failed a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers when Casey Stengel ``told me to get a shoe shine box, which was unnecessary.'' Rizzuto considers Joe McCarthy ``the best manager I ever had''; still remembers with hostility Eddie Stanky kicking the ball out of his glove in the '51 World Series; and manages to gush about the generosity of George Steinbrenner. Rizzuto criticizes modern ballplayers for the money they make but can state, more than 40 years later, how much he made in the World Series between 1949 and 1951 ($17,811). He also takes David Halberstam to task, saying of his book Summer of '49, ``I can tell you that a number of his anecdotes are just plain untrue.'' But Rizzuto recalls Johnny Mize playing for the Cincinnati Reds, which never happened, and when talking about the 1941 World Series he says, ``We won the first and then they beat us four straight.'' Unfortunately, Rizzuto is referring to the 1942 Series against the Cardinals (which the Yankees lost), not the 1941 Series against the Dodgers (which they won). The chapters on the individual series read like play-by-play accounts, offering little insight. The concept behind this book was excellent. It's a shame that the Scooter and Horton (Yogi: It Ain't Over, not reviewed) have executed it in such a haphazard manner. This is strictly for the die-hard fan.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-85621-0
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994