SIXTY-ONE: The Team, The Record, The Men by Tony & Terry Pluto Kubek

SIXTY-ONE: The Team, The Record, The Men

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KIRKUS REVIEW

How the New York Yankees won it all in 1961 is the premise here, but there's as much or more material on Roger Marls' troubled quest for the home-run record, plus a pale Boys of Summer-imitation epilogue on the fates of the greats and bit-players who made up one of baseball's true powerhouses. Kubek was the shortstop, lest we forget. The team won nearly three out of every four games it played, hit 240 home runs, and has become the stuff that legends are made of. Yet it seems to take a backseat, in this account, to the heroic feats of Marls and teammate Mickey Mantle in their season-long race for the holy grail of 60 home runs. Kubek and Pluto detail the pressures on both players, but it is the insider anecdotes that give this other. wise workmanlike account its soupcon of difference: Marls, with 58 late in autumn, halting play to watch a serene flock of Canadian geese fly south over Detroit; Mantle and Maris playing one game very hung over; pitcher Whitey Ford's methods for tampering with baseballs; clubhouse practical jokes that, here at least, are funny and non-gross. The where-are-they-now codas mix the stars' stories with those of players for whom '61 was their one fleeting time in the sun (they have the sharpest recollections of the glory year); they live a variety of post-baseball lives, most content, some not. A must for Yankee fans, but the less devout might be put off by the authors' mania for quoting people to buttress their own conclusions. Typical, then, but for those anecdotes.

Pub Date: March 18th, 1987
Publisher: Macmillan