"FIVE O'CLOCK LIGHTNING: Ruth, Gehrig DiMaggio and the Glory Days of the New York Yankees" by Tommy with Bill Gilbert Henrich

"FIVE O'CLOCK LIGHTNING: Ruth, Gehrig DiMaggio and the Glory Days of the New York Yankees"

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Feather-light but thoroughly agreeable recollections of a fulfilling career in professional baseball, from the New York Yankee dubbed ""Old Reliable."" With three years out for service with the Coast Guard during WW II, Henrich played for the Bronx Bombers from 1937 through 1950, when a bum knee finally forced him into retirement at age 38. The hard-hitting right-fielder's championship seasons encompassed some of the sport's enduring moments, including the April day in 1939 when a dying Lou Gehrig took himself out of the lineup, ending his iron-man record at 2,130 consecutive games played. On a more personal level, Henrich was the lucky batter when Mickey Owen, the Brooklyn Dodgers catcher, dropped a third strike in the turning-point fourth game of the 1941 World Series, permitting the American League pennant winners to sweep on to the title. Propelled by memories like this, plus graceful tributes to a host of diamond personalities (Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Lefty Gomez, Johnny Mize, Don Newcombe, Phil Rizzuto, Jackie Robinson, Casey Stengel, et al.), the chronological narrative moves along at a rapid, albeit perhaps self-ingratiating, clip. Looking back with evident delight on his days as a member of memorable clubs, Henrich has harsh words for only a handful of umpires he deemed ""homers,"" head-hunting pitchers, and tight-fisted general managers who kept his annual earnings in the low five-figures range. In closing, however, Henrich makes a point of castigating George Steinbrenner for tarnishing the image of his beloved Yankees. As nice a baseball memoir as fans and nostalgia buffs are likely to find any time soon.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Birch Lane/Carol