Byline: Marty Appel

Forewords by Marty Appel

Foreword to 2015 edition of Who’s Who in Baseball
In the days when fans were called “cranks” and ballparks were wooden, there was a growing number of baseball fans who appreciated the game for its statistics. Statistics provided a measuring device for “who was good and who was bad” and a sense of order off the field for the well-organized game on the field. The box score was as perfect as the distance between the bases. An extension of the box score into season and career columns of numbers was waiting to be embraced. more

100 Years of Who’s Who in Baseball (by Douglas B. Lyons) February 15, 2015
Before baseball became a year round, non-stop 24/7 bombardment of news, with the winter months filled with rumors, free agent signings, trades, blogs, tweets, press conferences, MLB Network, ESPN, and Tommy John surgeries – we could pause after the World Series, catch our breaths, and gently count the days until spring training. In the really old days, people were said to sit around a “hot stove” and talk baseball, and the talk was often things like “who’s better – Ruth or Cobb?!” more

The Colonel and Hug: The Partnership that Transformed the New York Yankees (by Steve Steinberg & Lyle Spatz) May 1, 2015
Shortly after George Steinbrenner’s death in 2010, talk began to sweep across social media about his worthiness for inclusion in the Baseball Hall of Fame. As one who worked for him for many years, I found myself on the receiving end of that question many times.  And I would answer, “Mr. Steinbrenner often said that owning the New York Yankees was like owning the Mona Lisa.  If that was true, then Jacob Ruppert was Leonardo da Vinci – the man who painted it.”  more

Introduction to Bridging Two Dynasties: The 1947 New York Yankees
The 1947 Yankees always seemed to stand “alone” to me among the litany of champion Yankee clubs—neither a Joe McCarthy team, nor a Casey Stengel team, carrying over some wartime players and introducing some guys that, frankly, didn’t feel like Yankees. more

Baseball Fantography: A Celebration in Snapshots and Stories
Ever increasing forms of social media and continue to expand the ways in which we can root, root, root for the home team, but one thing still connects all generations of baseball fans – still photography. Is there anything more unique to a modern historic baseball moment than the sight of 40,000 digital cameras flashing at once? more

Got ‘Em, Got ‘Em, Need ‘Em: A Fan’s Guide to Collecting the Top 100 Sports Cards of All Time
When I worked in the trading card industry in the ‘90s, the “hot term” during those collecting madness days was “chase card.” It was a marketing term to indicate the special cards, like a Michael Jordan gold plated, glossy chrome, limited edition, signed, with relic, alternate version, that people would chase to the ends of the earth knowing it would make them rich beyond their dreams. more

Greatness in Waiting
The road towards a new Yankee Stadium actually began with bat days in the early 1970s. The sell-out promotion, beloved by fans and a favorite of newspaper photographers, brought will it a ritual by which young fans with tap their bats in unison against the concrete beneath their feet, hoping to stir a Yankee rally. more

NY Yankees Collectibles NY Yankees Collectibles: A Price Guide to Memorabilia for America’s Favorite Team (Beckett)
In 1973, when the original Yankee Stadium was being prepared for partial demolition as part of a $100 million refurbishing, I was a member of the team’s public relations department. And I had my eye on a quaint yet sturdy piece of the team’s heritage. more

N.Y. Yankees Collectibles/Beckett Yankee Memorabilia
With the two world championship trophies earned by the New York Yankees in the last three years, the nation has been reminded again that for better or worse, love them or hate them, this truly has been America’s Team, the national franchise. more

New York Yankee Collectibles/Beckett
It begins, of course, with the “Voice of God,” the voice of Bob Sheppard, who has handled the public address assignment at Yankee Stadium since bleacher seats were 50 cents, since Mickey Mantle wore his rookie number 6, and since Casey Stengel wore a long sleeve manager’s uniform as Joe McCarthy had. The Yankee top hat logo was four years old; the Yankees Yearbook, two, and the number 4 elevated train was passing behind the bleachers, over Joe DiMaggio’s shoulders. more

Ron Blomberg Autobiography
First off, after all these years, what’s with the “bloom-berg” pronunciation? If it’s “BLOOOM-berg,” how come his first name isn’t pronounced “Roon?” more


Written by Marty Appel in Books by Other Authors

Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American

The Yankee Front Office

I wrote a letter to the New York Yankees public relations director in 1967, looking for summer employment.

My credentials were modest – I was a knowledgeable baseball fan who was editor of my college newspaper.  I had written sports while in high school for the suburban Rockland (NY)  Journal-News. I assumed mine would be one of hundreds of similar letters and I would not hear back. more

Baseball, The Perfect Game

Talkin’ Baseball, The Man and Bobby Feller –from Talkin’ Baseball (Willie, Mickey & “The Duke”)

Baseball fans measure their own lives by the entrance and exit of players. There is the day the son of a major leaguer you saw play is suddenly in the big leagues. There is the day you realize that you knew every manager and coach when they played. There is the day the last active player from your first year as a fan retires. more

What Baseball Means to Me edited by Curt Smith (2002)

What Baseball Means to Me

What can we say about a game in which spring training begins every winter and the Winter Meetings are held every fall?! For one thing, you can set your watch to it, and if you are lucky, you can set your life to it. more


Magazines & Journals

 

Memories and Dreams (The official magazine of the Baseball Hall of Fame)

Billy Herman
Forty years ago, infielder Billy Herman was part of the “Class of 1975.” He was a popular choice in that he was truly a “baseball lifer,” and everyone in the game seemed to know him and like him.
Billy broke into professional baseball in 1928 with the Louisville Colonels, played for the Cubs, Dodgers, Braves and Pirates, finished playing with the Oakland Oaks in the Pacific Coast League in 1950, managed the Pirates and the Red Sox, and coached for Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Boston, California, and San Diego. more

Rube Waddell
Pete Sheehy, who worked in the New York Yankees clubhouse from 1927 to 1985, saw a lot of left-handers come and go during those 58 seasons. And with the wisdom that one acquires observing human behavior, he had the science of “handedness” down to a gesture. more

Paul Waner
When Paul Waner got his 3,000th hit in 1942, he was the only player between Eddie Collins (1925) and Stan Musial (1958) to achieve that feat. It was a span of 33 years, and no one but Waner broke the barrier in all that time. more

Harry Heilmann
One of the first ballplayers to transition from the field to the broadcast booth was Detroit’s Harry Heilmann, the four-time batting champion whose success at the plate came during an era when legendary hitters were dominant. more

Plaque Check / Joe Medwick
He was an occasional member of the makeshift Gas House Gang band, and presumably just as bad as the rest of them, but on a team of popular players with colorful nicknames, he managed to stand out. more

Plaque Check / Clark Griffith
In Babe Ruth’s rookie season of 1914, he was up and down between Providence, Baltimore and Boston, but he did finish the year with the Red Sox, and he did pitch in the season finale, a meaningless 11-4 victory over Washington in Fenway Park, as the Red Sox finished second and Washington third. It was one of five appearances Ruth made for Boston that season. more

Plaque check/ Babe Ruth issue/ Lazzeri
In 1927, the year Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs and Lou Gehrig hit 47 – the baseball world did not implode from power hitting. They were exceptions to the rule, almost as though they were the only ones being thrown lively balls by pitchers. more

Dan Brouthers
For baseball fans in the mid-20th century, the name Dan Brouthers was as well known as Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle is to today’s fans. The time span is the same, and Brouthers was in the conversation of who was the greatest 19th century player. more

Larry Doby/Plaque Check
It would be ironic to say that Larry Doby was the second baseball player honored with a U.S. postage stamp – but he wasn’t. (That was Babe Ruth). Still, when Doby’s time came in 2011, the Buzz Aldrin of baseball received his due. more

Burleigh Grimes/Plaque Check
As the career of Burleigh Grimes fades further into past, baseball fans have a shorthand recall of him: last pitcher to throw a legal spitball, and nickname of Ol’ Stubblebeard. more

Joe Tinker/Plaque Check
“These are the saddest of possible words: ‘Tinker to Evers to Chance’ – Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble ‘Tinker to Evers to Chance’” You didn’t have to follow baseball to know this poem.  more

Jacob Ruppert/Plaque Check
If Jacob Ruppert was able to attend his induction ceremony in Cooperstown this year, it’s possible that his thoughts might drift back to a ceremony filled with pomp and ceremony in 1892, on the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering America 1892. more

Sol White
Sol White wasn’t the first sportswriter in the Hall of Fame. That would have been British-born Henry Chadwick, who made it into the big room on his own merits. This was long before the Spink Award was established (1962) to annually honor journalists. more

Sliding Billy Hamilton
Remember the Boston Red Sox second baseman in the 1986 World Series? Marty Barrett. Played nine seasons for Boston. Well, a century before, there was another Marty Barrett, this one a catcher, and he also played in Boston – for the predecessors of the Boston Braves – the Boston Beaneaters. Baseball fans love stuff like this. more

Rabbit Maranville/Plaque Check
Walter James Vincent Maranville, who played Major League baseball from 1912-1935, reminds of us of the reason that fans always seemed to fall for little, light-hitting middle infielders who found so many ways to beat you. And when you had a nickname like “Rabbit,” it didn’t hurt either. more

Happy Chandler
Succeeding Kenesaw Mountain Landis as Commissioner of Baseball was not unlike succeeding J. Edgar Hoover as head of the FBI or Franklin D. Roosevelt as President of the United States. After such a long time in office – 25 years in Landis’s case – the job was so associated with one figure, succession would be a great challenge. more

Wilbert Robinson
The folksy, neighborly image we now have of the Brooklyn Dodgers was largely shaped by Wilbert Robinson, their manager from 1914-1931, during which time sportswriters began referring to the team as the “Robins” in his honor.  more

Harry Hooper
Harry Hooper was the first Red Sox batter in the very first game at Fenway Park, and although he went 0-for-5 that afternoon, he was there for the start of a world championship season, one of four the Sox would win over the next seven years.  more

Joe Sewell/Plaque Check
Talk about stepping into a pressure situation. Joe Sewell was 21 years old, and in his second year of pro baseball. He had gone to spring training in 1921, but had failed to make much of an impression on Cleveland manager Tris Speaker. more

Roger Bresnahan/The Duke of Tralee
During his playing career of 1897-1915, most baseball people and fans thought Roger Bresnahan was a native of Ireland, and his nickname – The Duke of Tralee – spoke to that. more

George Weiss/Plaque Check
Before Pat Gillick, the last pure executive inducted into the Hall of Fame was George Weiss, best known as Casey Stengel’s general manager on the Yankees and the Mets. Weiss was selected in 1971, five years after his retirement from the game and a year before his death. more

Sam Crawford/Plaque Check
In 1913, Yahoo Sam Crawford of Detroit hit his 245th career triple, breaking the lifetime mark held by Jake Beckley. Ever since that day, he has held the career record. That was 98 years ago, and there is no sign that that record – which wound up being 309 – is going to fall anytime soon. (Later research brought the total down from 312, as it says on his plaque). more

George Kell
In an era before free agency, it was unusual to find a player of Hall of Fame quality play for five teams during a career of just 14 full seasons. And George Kell was no ordinary player, as demonstrated by his ten All-Star selections, his .306 lifetime average, a batting championship, and as many as 218 hits in a season.  more

Plaque Check – Morgan Bulkeley
The community of baseball is justifiably proud of those who served their nation during time of war, and the Hall of Fame has long called special attention to those veterans of military service who went on to induction in the Hall itself.  more

King Kelly On Stage
Before there was YouTube, before there was MySpace, before there was television, before there was radio, and before there were movies, entertainers had the vaudeville stage and local saloons to present their acts, and vaudeville was where you wanted to be if you really thought you had some talent. Talent, or at least celebrity. Mike “King” Kelly of Boston was the biggest sports celebrity in the land in the 1880s. more

Johnny Mize
Young St. Louis Cardinals fans in the 1930s loved their Gashouse Gang, but oh, did they wish they had their very own version of Babe Ruth. And then, in 1936, they got him. more

Pee Wee Reese/ Sportsmanship
It’s been more than half a century since Pee Wee Reese played his last game for the Dodgers, but his legacy endures. The dedication of a statue in Brooklyn several years ago showing Pee Wee with a symbolic hand on Jackie Robinson’s shoulder spoke well of how a small gesture can help change social history. more

Earle Combs
Forty summers ago, it became official. The hallowed ground of center field in Yankee Stadium, to which everyone thinks “DiMaggio,” “Mantle” (and for younger fans, Bernie Williams), was in fact hallowed ground going back to 1925. That’s because 40 years ago, Earle Combs, the gentlemanly, pre-maturely grey center fielder on the Murderer’s Row team, was elected to the Hall of Fame. more

Plaque Check – Johnny Evers
While today’s publishing industry seems to love books from big stars, it took a long time for books by players to find their way into the marketplace. Mike “King” Kelly produced a book in 1888, John Montgomery Ward that same year, and then Cap Anson had one in 1900.  more

Spalding/Barnstorming
While the pyramids of Egypt would hardly qualify as “barns,” they did prove the setting of what might be called the very origins of baseball’s barnstorming days.  more

Plaque Check/ Buck Ewing
In the early years of Veteran’s Committee selections, electors were charged with identifying 19th century players worthy of full Hall of Fame induction. In 1939, the committee (then called the Centennial Commission) was comprised of just three men – Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, National League President Ford Frick, and American League President Will Harridge. more

Sy Berger
This is a bubble gum card story that begins at the kitchen table. Like many tales of “off the field” baseball, it’s a sweet story. Sy Berger, a Bucknell University graduate and a World War II veteran, was a young hire at the Topps Gum Company.  more

Nap Lajoie
When the American League began play in 1901, two major stars jumped ship from the National League, seeking to overcome the $2400 maximum salary level. One was Cy Young, who would become the winningest pitcher of all time and whose name would live on as the name affixed to the ‘best pitcher’ award each season. Every baseball fan knows Cy Young. more

Larry MacPhail – WW I
Larry MacPhail was the bombastic top executive of the Dodgers, Reds, and Yankees, who brought air travel to teams and night games to Major League Baseball. His creative mind was always ticking. He didn’t procrastinate, he acted. more

Red Ruffing
This August 5 will mark 70 years since Charlie “Red” Ruffing passed Bob Shawkey as the winningest pitcher in Yankee history. While southpaw Whitey Ford would pass Ruffing in 1965, Red remains the winningest righty, and figures to continue to be so for at least another generation.  more

Slide, Kelly, Slide
The birth of the recording industry came a few decades after the birth of the professional base ball industry, but they came to meet nicely one morning at a recording studio in New Jersey with the production of a little song called “Slide, Kelly, Slide.” more

Martin Dihigo
To baseball fans, the first two electees to the Hall of Fame by the special committee chosen to honor the Negro Leagues’ legacy were familiar names – Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. You had to be a fan who knew Negro League history to know those who immediately followed – Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell, Judy Johnson, Oscar Charleston and Pop Lloyd.  more

Sliding Billy Hamilton
For fans of modern baseball, it was Luis Aparicio who heralded in a new era of base stealing in the 1950s, an era that was soon punctuated by the feats of Maury Wills, who broke Ty Cobb’s single season record in 1962. more

Amos Rusie
Imagine being a pitcher and having a year so dominating, that they move the mound back ten feet the following season. Not just for you, but for everyone, and you’re the reason. You’re just too good for the game, and it can’t continue under existing standards without too many people striking out. Moving the mound changes the course of baseball forever, and it’s all your doing. more

Baseball Figures & Politics
Who is the only New York Yankees player to ever serve in Congress? If you answered Pi Schwert, who caught 12 games for the 1914 and 1915 teams, you are one fine trivia fan. more

The 500 Home Run Club
One of the more revealing tales in Leigh Montville’s acclaimed 2004 biography of Ted Williams was a small anecdote that had to do with Williams’ considering retirement following the 1954 season. He was going through a divorce, was concerned about alimony payments coming out of his salary, and some had suggested that he might be better off not playing. He even told the Boston writers that he was going to quit after ’54. more

A free round of golf for Mickey and Whitey
The first of the two All-Star Games of 1961 was to be played in Candlestick Park, San Francisco. With the game being played on Tuesday, and the Yankees playing Sunday afternoon in Chicago, teammates Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford flew to San Francisco immediately after the game and had a full day off on Monday. more

Baseball Best Sellers
Baseball’s place in American literature is not necessarily measured by book sales and a landing on best-seller lists. Indeed, many fine books about the game develop cult followings, strong word-of-mouth, and a treasured place in baseball libraries without being necessarily reflected in sales. more

Ladies Days
Ladies Days ended in, naturally, the 1960s, an era when much that was accepted without question in America came under challenge. more

Kelly and the Autograph
By the latter part of the 19th century, people knew that it was a nice thing to own the signature of a Washington, a Lincoln or a General Grant, but the practice of approaching someone and saying, “Can I please have your autograph?” did not exist until young baseball fans followed Mike “King” Kelly to the South End Grounds on Walpole Street in Boston in the late 1880s. more

The Birth of Instant Replay
Using videotape instant replays has changed the way we watch sports over the last four decades. The idea that people saw Bobby Thomson’s historic home run in 1951, and never saw it again until movie theater newsreels a week later is almost unthinkable today. more

Sports Cards Magazine

Joe DiMaggio Farewell
Since we baseball fans like to live by the numbers, how about this one – Joe DiMaggio attended 47 of the 48 Old Timers Days held by the Yankees after his retirement, missing only in 1987 when he was having a pacemaker installed. more

 

American Memorabilia Magazine

The Book to Grab When the Waters Rise
We in the northeast had terrible flooding in April, even 8 inches in one day in Central Park, but for someone like me, living on the 8th floor of a Manhattan high rise, I really don’t worry until the water reaches 79 feet. Still, I was thinking about “what if,” and after photo albums, what books would I grab and save? more

Yankee-Shea Farewell
Doesn’t it seem like to earth should shake a little when the last out is recorded in Yankee Stadium next fall? Or when the (I can hardly say it) wrecking ball hits? more

Finding New Records Often Takes Creativity
These are some thoughts about milestones, and how we in sports love them so much, even if at times, they are a bit of a stretch. more

BASEBALL QUARTERLY

It’s A Whole New Ballgame!
I began thinking about this story recently while watching an old World Series movie. It was the 1947 Series, Yankees against the Dodgers, and so many things seemed different. I mean, there were still three strikes and you’re out, ninety feet between the bases and nine innings to a game. But so much else about the general appearance of things seemed dated. And I began to realize how changes can creep into the sport without our particularly noticing them. more

 

Yankees Magazine

1910 “Subway Series” Between Yankees and Giants Had New York
When New York Giants owner John Brush and his manager John McGraw, chose not to play their upstart American League rival Highlanders in a 1904 World Series, it was a great disappointment to the growing legions of baseball fans in New York. more

Houk
With the passing of Ralph Houk, age 90, on July 21, the Yankees lost a former manager who won pennants in his first three seasons at the helm, and world championship in the first two. No one has ever accomplished that feat, before or since, and with those world championships, Houk is linked to Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, and Joe Torre as Yankee managers to win more than one. more

Pinstripes – Rizzuto
When Phil Rizzuto broke in with the Yankees in 1941, the year of the great 56-game hitting streak of Joe DiMaggio, among the pitchers he faced were 41-year old Lefty Grove of Boston and 40-year old Ted Lyons of Detroit. Among the managers in opposing dugouts were Connie Mack in Philadelphia, Bucky Harris in Washington, Roger Peckinpaugh in Cleveland and Jimmy Dykes in Chicago. more

Halper, Yanks limited partner, passes

Barry Halper, a limited partner in the New York Yankees and one of the pioneers of baseball memorabilia collecting, died Dec. 18 in Livingston, N.J., following a long illness due to complications from diabetes. more

Yankee Stadium Story
Although a handful of college football arenas were called “stadiums” in the first two decades of the 20th century, (plus, believe it or not, little Rice Stadium in Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx), Yankee Stadium would be the first baseball field designed to bear the name ‘stadium’. (Washington’s Griffith Stadium had been so renamed in 1920). more

Elston Howard
It was the last of the seventh inning on Opening Day at Fenway Park – Thursday, April 14, 1955. A sunny sky warmed the 22,246 Bosox faithful who had turned out to see Arthur Fiedler lead the Boston Pops in the National Anthem and to see Willard Nixon duel Bob Grim in what would be the second game of the season for the Yankees. more

You Can Go Home Again — 44 Yankees Have Served Two Playing Stints in Their Careers
When Jeff Nelson took the mound at Yankee Stadium on August 7 to begin his second stint with the Yankees, he admitted to being swept up by emotion. more

1978 Season
For a long period in 1978, as spring wound into summer, Yankee fans were beginning to accept the fact that ’78 was going to be a Red Sox year. A lot of baseball writers were saying that the ’78 Bosox, under Don Zimmer, were one of the elite teams of all times, certainly of Boston history, and that the defending world champion Yankees just weren’t their equal that year. more

1940 – The One That Got Away
Two games. And it all had much to do with lemon slices, a lost tarpaulin, missing taxis, firecrackers, and one costly error at first. What a difference, in the course of history, they would make. more

Bill Virdon’s Excellent Adventure
When one recalls the general lack of enthusiasm that surrounded the hiring of Joe Torre a few years ago – only to find him going on to win Manager of the Year honors and turning all skeptics around – one can’t help but turn back the clock a quarter century to the day Bill Virdon faced a similar reception upon his hiring. more

Joe DiMaggio’s Post-Playing Career
When Joe DiMaggio turned down another $100,000 contract for the 1952 season, feeling he could no longer play the game at a Joe DiMaggio level, he began the phase of his life in which he would be, simply, Joe DiMaggio, American Icon. more

Frank Crosetti
To say Frankie Crosetti was “old school” is putting it mildly. Trained in the corporate efficiency of Joe McCarthy, he joined the team in 1932, in time to be there for Babe Ruth’s last Yankee pennant and his “Called Shot Home Run” in the World Series.  more

Old Timers Days
Since the Yankees are credited with so many innovations over the years – from numbers on uniforms to triple-decked ballparks – it has become somewhat fashionable to think they invented the concept of Old Timers Day back on July 4, 1939. more

Scouting Story
As with so many elements of the Yankees organization, you go back to the roots of the “Team of the Century” to see where it all came from. As much as the current team invites comparisons with the 1961, the 1939 and the 1927 Yankees, so too does the current state of the team’s scouting operation. more

Spring training
Maybe it’s the palm trees. There’s just something about spring training. more

Catfish Hunter Tribute
You’ve spent your whole life depending on your arms and your hands. You grew up, the youngest of nine, bonding with your dad and your brothers by hunting and fishing. You were given a gift of being able to hold a baseball and throw it just about as good as anyone who ever lived. You retired to farm life and the inner peace of working your land and driving your tractor, while taking your own boys hunting and fishing. more

Yankees Seek 5th Straight Pennant
Wasn’t it just yesterday that everyone was saying “oh, there will never be another dynasty in baseball; too many teams, too many rounds of playoffs. The dynasty days are over.” more

Yankees in the ’60s
The expression goes, “If you remember the ‘60s, you weren’t there.” Well, for Yankee fans, there was much to remember and much to forget. The decade began with the arrival of Roger Maris and ended with the arrival of Thurman Munson. more

Yankees in the ’70s
For Yankee fans, there was no lower point than the team’s entry into the 1970s. Long accustomed to winning regularly, the fans had now been forced to accept mediocrity as the norm. more

 

Sports Collectors Digest, Vintage Books Section

Long Overdue Biography of Babe Ruth Rang True

In this centennial year of Babe Ruth’s professional and Major League debut, it is interesting to note that the first book about him was not published until 1930, by which time he was already one of the most recognized people in America. more

You Know Me Al
It’s been nearly a century since Ring Lardner introduced America to a smart-ass ballplayer named Jack Keefe, and readers were able to get inside Keefe’s head with letters he wrote to his pal Al Blanchard back in their hometown of Bedford, Indiana. This was all before Babe Ruth, the lively ball, the Black Sox and radio. more

This Great Game
It was 1971, the start of Major League baseball’s 11th decade, and MLB published what was essentially its’ first “coffee table” book, a handsome volume called This Great Game. This was a major feat for baseball, which had never been particularly astute in marketing itself.  more

Pete Palmer
From 1951 until its 10th and final edition in 1979, the Official Encyclopedia of Baseball by Hy Turkin and S.C. Thompson was the standard of baseball research in encyclopedic form, even it the stats were limited to games and either batting average or won-lost record. more

NYT Best-sellers, 2012 edition, for Vintage Books SCD
Twenty-eight baseball books made the New York Times best-seller list in the decade of the 2000s (great than the total from 1935-1999). There have been nine so far in the 2010s. Fans are buying baseball books like never before. more

Commy
“This year, 1919, is the greatest season of them all.” So said Charles A. Comiskey, owner of the White Sox, in his biography, “Commy,” published just months before the Black Sox lost the World Series and nearly destroyed the public trust in baseball when eight of its players conspired with gamblers to throw the World Series. more

Bucky Harris
Harris is a somewhat forgotten figure in baseball history, but half a century ago, he was one of the best-known in the game, and at the time, fourth among all managers in career victories. more

Bean and the Cod
As Fenway Park approaches its 100th anniversary in 2012, I turned recently to a long forgotten book from 1947, which glorified the Red Sox franchise long before it became the darling of literary society and the focal point of a “Red Sox Nation” concept. The book was called The Red Sox: The Bean and the Cod, and if you grew up in the ‘40s and ‘50s as a Red Sox fan, it was “must reading,” because there wasn’t much else. more

Bill Shannon
The New York sports scene was rocked in late October by the death of Bill Shannon, 69, at a fire in his New Jersey home. Shannon was one of those fellows you thought would go forever, and in fact, never even considered what his age might be. He was best known to New Yorkers as the lead official scorer at both Yankee and Met games – he’d been doing it since 1979 – and so occasionally, if a controversial call came up, the broadcasters might mention his name. more

McGraw/ 30 Years
The Giants world championship last fall, their first in San Francisco, had people recalling how few World Series this storied franchise had actually won over its long history. Even the great John McGraw, the team’s legendary manager, won only three World Series in his ten appearances in the post-season, which would surprise most people.  more

Milton Gross/ Yankee Doodles
In preparing a forthcoming volume on the history of the Yankees, I recently stumbled on a fairly obscure book published in 1948, which, it turns out, was a little gem of a book! The reason for it’s high rating is that the author, Milton Gross, was a top rate journalist, part of a hustling team of New York Post sportswriters who would come into their own in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, but by 1948 was already taking shape. more

Bready
Before they slipped into their current funk, the Baltimore Orioles were considered one of the classiest, best-run organizations in baseball by those who worked in the game. And as if often the case with such reputations, published material, either by the team or by outsiders reflected that. more

Breslin
The original Mets, the 1962 reincarnation of National League baseball in New York, the team that lost 120 games and played in the Polo Grounds, is a team now glorified in New York folklore and sports history. No expansion team since has managed to win over so many fans with such horrendous play.  more

Mel Allen
I wonder sometimes if Mel Allen would get hired today to broadcast baseball. I mean, today’s top broadcasters come loaded with situational stats and the benefit of well spoken colormen, and the ability to brush up on opponents by easily following other teams on the Internet in the days before the games begin. more

Big Mac
And now, a word about Big Mac. I’ve been spending a lot of time at Baseball-Reference.com lately, finding new twists and turns, and admiring all that it includes. What a fabulous site it is.  more

Rosenthal
It’s been ten years since Harold Rosenthal passed away at 85, and those of us who attended his memorial service (quite a literary affair), still miss the rascal and still grouse about the New York Times not deeming him worthy of an obituary. He was a giant on the New York sports scene for decades, and was even an impact player in retirement, with his letters and occasional columns always stirring up good conversation. more

Jimmy Piersall
Jimmy Piersall was in the news recently, with some memories stirred over a loony event from 1963 when he hit his 100th home run – and ran the bases backwards. more

Daguerreotypes
Daguerreotypes. Funny name, yes? Da-GUR-e-o-types. Daguerreotypes of Great Stars of Baseball. It was a terrific book in its day, and an argument could be made that it would still be, if updated. But it’s been nearly 20 years since the last edition. more

The Ultimate Baseball Book
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of “The Ultimate Baseball Book”, and after 30 years, it still does a good job at holding onto that title.It’s not a statistical wonder, and there have been other fine coffee table books published since, but using the word “ultimate” was a great marketing tool, and no one who has bought this book has ever felt shortchanged. more

SF Giants Oral History
With the publishing industry entering rough seas during our nation’s recession, (let me know when we can start calling it Great Depression II), many authors of marginally mainstream books are finding happiness in the world of self-publishing.  more

Red & Green Books
Baseball America’s Almanac stands alone as the hard copy annual Guide, and who knows how long that will last. More and more publications are abandoning hard copies in favor of online only versions. more

The Phillies
While baseball celebrates the success of the Philadelphia Phillies and their 2008 world championship, it is interesting to recall – especially for younger fans – how sad this franchise’s history has generally been. more

Hank Greenberg Saluted with Cooperstown Ceremony
The 75th anniversary of Hank Greenberg’s rookie season was celebrated with a day-long symposium and film screening at the Baseball Hall of Fame on June 29, which also featured the introduction of two Greenberg-related collectibles. more

Farewell Yankee & Shea
Doesn’t it seem like to earth should shake a little when the last out is recorded in Yankee Stadium next fall? Or when the (I can hardly say it) wrecking ball hits. more

Douglass Wallop
I noticed recently that a new version of Damn Yankees was back on the stage in New York. It’s a terrific play that never seems to grow tired, and it gets revived every 15 years or so and finds new audiences. more

The Red Sox
We always hear that the Red Sox attract the most literary attention and bring out the finest in writers whether from the world of sports, or outside of it. Think Stephen King, David Halberstam or John Updike. That is part of what we now know as Red Sox Nation – a gathering place in sports for the nation’s literati. more

Jerome Holtzman
Growing up with The Sporting News as a bible (it was, after all, the “Bible of Baseball”), those of us of the right age were exposed on a weekly basis to the baseball columns of Dick Young, Joe Falls, Jim Murray, Bob Addie, Shirley Povich, Melvin Durslag, Leonard Koppett, Jerome Holtzman, Furman Bisher and others. more

Charles Alexander
When you think about it, I guess we don’t really need biographies written for every member of the Hall of Fame. The story of Joe Kelley, for instance, who played 1891-1908 and went into the Hall of Fame in 1971, is one we seem to have managed without just fine. more

Connie Mack
I was recently researching some facts about the 1950 season, which was Connie Mack’s last as a manager. It has always struck me as fascinating that rookie Whitey Ford actually pitched in the major leagues with Connie Mack in the opposing dugout. In Mack’s first year as a manager, 1894, he managed against King Kelly. Talk about spanning the generations. more

The Mitchell Report
I needed several days to digest all of the Mitchell Report material and decide how I felt about it, and how it will affect baseball. And now, several days later, there is still too much information to process. I feel somewhat overwhelmed by it all. more

Phil Rizzuto
The recent passing of Phil Rizzuto, at 89 the oldest living Hall of Famer, brought back so many wonderful memories for me. It was hard to think of Scooter – even in the week he passed away – without a smile. more

Who’s Who In Baseball
It being the week before Opening Day, I stopped at my local magazine store and purchased the 2008 edition of “Who’s Who in Baseball.” I’ve been doing this now for 47 years, but this is the 93rd edition, as it says on the cover, so I am sure there are others with a longer streak going. more

Israel Bronx
I had the pleasure of being part of two rather extraordinary events within days of each other recently, with both getting a lot of interest from baseball fans. First, I was on a public relations assignment to Israel for the launch of the first pro baseball league in the Middle East – the Israel Baseball League. more

Sol White
So King Solomon White is in the Baseball Hall of Fame! What do you know! I was thinking of doing a column on Sol White’s “History of Colored Baseball” one of these days, and bang, he becomes one of the 17 with Negro League roots to go into the Hall of Fame! more

Pepe
Phil Pepe has averaged almost a book a year wrapped around a journalism and broadcasting career that goes back to 1954 when he began working part-time for the New York World Telegram & Sun. more

False Spring
We lovers of baseball books grew up clinging to every word in Jim Brosnan’s two diaries and to Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four,” but in 1975 came a different sort of first person account, one that might have been titled, “Portrait of a Baseball Failure.” more

Ross Newhan
Imagine being a pitcher and having a year so dominating, that they move the mound back ten feet the following season. Not just for you, but for everyone, and you’re the reason. You’re just too good for the game, and it can’t continue under existing standards without too many people striking out. Moving the mound changes the course of baseball forever, and it’s all your doing. more

Bowie Kuhn
Memoirs by baseball’s handful of commissioners are important volumes for students of baseball history, but they have generally been a mixed bag in terms of satisfying our curiosities. more

Hornsby
Who was grumpy about baseball way back in 1962? The answer is Rogers Hornsby, that ol’ .358 lifetime hitter, 7-time batting champion, two-time MVP, and probably the best second baseman in the game’s history, who by then had put 48 years in as a player, manager, coach and scout. more

Book of Baseball
It’s been 96 years since baseball had its first “coffee table” book, a term that didn’t even exist during the Taft administration. Today, coffee table books about baseball are turned out all the time, but it was a breakthrough then and it was called “The Book of Baseball: From the Earliest Day to the Present Season.” more

Sporting News Baseball Guides
Quietly, like the passing of Oldsmobiles, Hydrox cookies and sports cartoonists, the Sporting News Official Baseball Guides passed from the scene this year. more

Books on Commissioners
Memoirs by baseball’s handful of commissioners are important volumes for students of baseball history, but they have generally been a mixed bag in terms of satisfying our curiosities. more

World of Baseball
Almost 15 years ago, a beautiful set of baseball books was introduced, intended to be sold as a continuing series, to number 20 volumes when complete, and to take its place among the more handsomely designed books on the game ever issued. more

Meany
Tom Meany was one of the gentleman writers of baseball in the mid-section of the 20th century, whose books and magazine articles were a staple of what the nation’s fans of the time seemed to demand: good reporting, nothing too controversial, writing designed to harbor baseball as the National Pastime. more

Lee Allen
If you haven’t noticed, the classic pitching windup is a goner. With the exception of Hideo Nomo, there really aren’t any pitchers who bring their hands over their head prior to delivery, an act that managed to survive for more than a century but has quietly all but vanished from the baseball landscape. more

Bronx Zoo
The Yankees’ Sparky Lyle was the first relief pitcher to ever win the American League Cy Young Award. A few days after the award was announced, the Yanks went out and signed Goose Gossage to take his job. more

Branch Rickey
Branch Rickey, one of the most influential figures in baseball history, never wrote his autobiography. We have autobiographies from Joe Charboneau, Bo Belinsky, and Eldon Auker, but nothing from the man who integrated baseball, created the farm system, and allowed 13 runners to steal while catching for the New York Highlanders in 1907 (still an American League record). more

Fireside Books of Baseball
The recent publication of “Baseball: A Literary Anthology” by the Library of America (edited by Nicholas Dawidoff) has been hailed as one of the best new baseball books of the year, but to many, it really recalls those wonderful “Fireside Books” edited by Charles Einstein beginning almost half a century ago. What fun they were! more

Saddest of Possible Words: Tinker to Evers to Chance
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the appearance in a Cubs box score of a double play marked 6-4-3, “Tinker to Evers to Chance.” It would be six years before Franklin P. Adams immortalized the three by writing a poem about them in the New York World under the title “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.” more

Joe Garagiola: Baseball is a Funny Game
As best as I can determine, the first baseball book to ever hit the New York Times best seller list was “Baseball is a Funny Game” by Joe Garagiola, published in 1960. more

Robert Smith & Jack Rosenberg
This is a little column about two baseball pictorial history books I always liked. There is a lot of repetition between them, but you can only tell the story in so many ways. The best part for me, certainly, were the wonderful photos – hundreds of them, all black and white – that defined early baseball for me. more

Bob Feller & Stan Musial
The sad passing of Ted Williams reduces to just two, the last of the ‘immortals of baseball’, players who were already stars before Jackie Robinson integrated pro baseball and took us into the post-war, modern era. more

Evolution of Baseball Encyclopedias
Long before lovers of baseball stats fell in love with Total Baseball and before that, The Baseball Encyclopedia (“Big Mac,” after MacMillan, the publisher), there were three important works that preceded it. And although they are long out of date and as such, not especially important anymore, they were the roots from which Big Mac and Total Baseball emerged. It is worth remembering them. more

Don Honig & David Voigt
We recently caught up with the man who may be the most prolific of all baseball authors, Donald Honig. more

Collective Works of Babe, Lou, Joe & Mickey
It sounds like a joke, right?“ The Collective Works of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.” more

Harold Seymour
A few months ago we did a column on the late Gene Schoor, the prolific author of sports biographies. In the article, we cited a similar author of the times, Milton Shapiro, and made note of a lawsuit involving his biography of Warren Spahn, which seemed to bring an end to the Messner biographies many of us enjoyed in the ‘50s and ‘60s. more

Ray Robinson’s Baseball Stars Series
One of the best series of baseball paperbacks was the long-running “Baseball Stars” books, which began in 1950 and ended in 1975. more

Putnam Team Histories
Shortly after Lou Gehrig’s tragic death in 1941, sportswriter Frank Graham approached G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a New York-based publisher, with an idea for a Gehrig biography. The result, “A Quiet Hero,” was one of their major successes for the next two decades, went to more than 20 printings, and was practically required reading for schoolboys. more

Glory of Their Times
Two score and two hernias ago, Lawrence Ritter, a professor of economics and finance at NYU, set forth on a 75,000-mile journey that would lead to the publication of what is arguably the finest baseball book ever written. more

Gene Schoor
It was in fourth grade that I did a book report on Mickey Mantle of the Yankees by Gene Schoor. more

Who’s Who in ML Baseball
Of all the “classic” early baseball books still to be found at pricey used book stores and through antiquarian dealers, an 8 ½ x 11, hardcover volume from 1933 remains one of the most handsome and informative reference works ever associated with the game. more

Eight Men Out
One of the amazing things about the wonderful book “Eight Men Out” is that it was the first book written about the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, and it took 44 years to get the story told. more

Great Players, Great Games
When Willie McCovey broke into the big leagues on July 30, 1959, he smacked two singles and two triples in his debut game, and by the next day, the whole nation was talking about Willie McCovey. more

Only The Ball Was White
In the history of baseball literature, few books were able to break new ground as did “Only the Ball Was White,” written by Robert Peterson and published by Prentice-Hall in 1970. more

Growing Up on Babe, Ty & Lou
I meet a lot of fans today who tell me the first baseball book they remember falling in love with was Jim Bouton’s Ball Four. Those would be fans who are in their 40s now or just about getting there. more

Ken Smith
When we watch the sensational fielding in Major League Baseball today, perhaps all the more remarkable because of the risk players throw themselves into despite their guaranteed contracts and enormous wages, we have to wonder, “Can it get any better?” more

Bob Creamer/Babe Ruth
The best baseball biography ever written, for my money, was BABE: The Legend Comes to Life, by Robert W. Creamer. more

A Day in the Bleachers
The Willie Mays catch. No further explanation is really needed, is it? Any baseball fan who can talk about the great plays in history knows about that over-the-shoulder, back-to-the-plate catch Willie made in Game One of the 1954 World Series (not to mention the throw that followed), and knows it was one for the ages. more

John Durant
I have a feeling we are going to see baggy baseball uniforms again in my lifetime. Or maybe in yours. Call it the “whatever goes around” syndrome, but they can only be tight or baggy, and it just seems to me that the black culture or the Latin culture are going to bring this to baseball just as Chris Webber and his teammates at Michigan changed the look of basketball uniforms in the early ‘90s. more

Maury Allen
Maury Allen’s 36th book, Brooklyn Remembered, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers’ only world championship in Brooklyn. Maury has been so closely identified with the Mets over the years, that we found it necessary to ask which was his favorite franchise – the “Bums” or the “Amazins.” more

Dick Young
More than a half century ago, A.S. Barnes and Company, a champion in the publication of baseball books, created an annual series with biographies of the winners of the MVP Awards. more

Marc Okkonen
The recent World Series pairing of the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox found a lot of columnists and commentators recalling the strange history of the uniforms worn by the two teams. From the Astros “Colt 45 revolver” uniforms at their inception, to the rainbow Cesar Cedeno era jerseys, there was plenty to smile about. As for the Sox, they were the first team to wear “throwback” uniforms – and fulltime at that – when the 1976 team took on the look of the 1902 team. more

Bklyn Dodgers
The celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers only world championship (The Marlins have already won two!) also creates an opportunity to look back at some of the literature surrounding this colorful franchise. more

Jim Brosnan
It’s been 60 years since he signed his first pro contract (at age 16!), and 46 years since the publication of “The Long Season”, but Jim Brosnan’s place in the hearts of admirers of baseball literature remains secure. more

NY Times Best Sellers
Here’s something for book collectors to ponder: would it make an interesting collection to have a copy of every baseball book to ever make The New York Times best seller list? more

 

Baseball Assistance Team Journal

METS B.A.T. Program
When baseball shuffled its half-century order of 16 teams in the early 1960s, no one was quite sure what to expect. Would “expansion teams” be accepted? Were they doomed to failure? Would old National League fans embrace a new franchise in New York? more

SABR Baseball Research Journal

SABR Picks 1900-1948 Rookies of the Year
A poll of the Society’s members fills the void in the selections made by The Sporting News and theBBWAA. Pitchers are named for almost half the years; the Cards, Indians lead in new choices with 11 each. more


Newspapers

The Boston Globe, September 28, 2014

Derek Jeter’s farewell in Boston evokes memories of Mickey Mantle
The coincidences are too startling to overlook. So are the differences. Derek Jeter, the face of the Yankees — and maybe the face of Major League Baseball for two decades — is scheduled to play his final game Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, at Fenway Park. more

 

New York Post, August 16, 2000

A tribute to Whitey Ford
There was no truth to the oft-repeated story that after clinching the Eastern League pennant for Binghamton in 1949, 20-year-old Whitey Ford wrote to Casey Stengel and said, “Bring me up and I’ll win the pennant for you too.” more

New York Daily News April 2002 Yankee Centennial Section

Bobby Murcer’s tribute to Thurman Munson
Thurman Munson’s death on August 2, 1979, shook us all. It was a genuine “where were you when you heard the news” moment. The misty night at Yankee Stadium after his death, when we observed the lengthy period of silence and the catcher’s position stood empty, was haunting. But the game played against Baltimore on the night of his funeral, August 6, was the most memorable of all. more

The Jewish Press

Jewish Press
I should have paid more attention in Hebrew School. I never knew I’d really be going to Israel. But then again, while I was daydreaming about baseball when I should have been paying attention, I was preparing myself for a career in sports public relations, and that’s what sent me to Israel, so I’m sure there are some Talmudic scholars out there who would see some biblical reason for this all coming together. more


MLB Programs & Yearbooks

As appeared in 2003 MLB All-Star Game Program

ALL-STAR FIELD OF DREAMS?
Tom Seaver was 22-year-old rookie with the hapless New York Mets in 1967, but a strong first half of the season had made him the Mets’s lone All-Star selection. He was still in single digits on a career that would find him scaling 300 victories, and he spent most of that July 11 evening in the visiting bullpen at Anaheim Stadium, hardly expecting to see action at all. more

 

As appeared in 2008 MLB All-Star Game Program

SECRETS OF YANKEE STADIUM
In the old third base dugout of Yankee Stadium, which the Yankees occupied from 1923-1945, Babe Ruth would keep a fresh head of cabbage in the water cooler. Every two or three innings he would tear off a leaf and tuck it under his cap to keep him cool. mor

As appeared in the 1999 World Series Official Program

Yogi Berra Today
It wasn’t very long after Joe DiMaggio’s passing that someone first used the term “greatest living Yankee” in Yogi Berra’s presence. His reaction was very typical of this proud and honest man. “Oh, geez, you got Rizzuto, and you got Whitey…..I don’t know.” more

As appeared in 2002, 2003 & 2004 Yankees Yearbook

Thurman Munson #15
Thurman Munson was a fan’s player. But it took a special breed of fan to see it – a New York fan – and it was Thurman’s good fortune to play before such a knowledgeable bunch of devotees. more

The Birth of the Yankees
A hundred seasons ago, the New York Yankees were born. To see the international recognition of the franchise’s storied name today, it is hard to imagine how humble the origins were. Like the majesty of Yankee Stadium vs. the wood and nails of Hilltop Park, it has been, like New York City itself, a remarkable hundred years of growth. more


Pinstripes — New York Yankees Alumni News

Ever Get Summoned to See the Boss in His Office?
If you were a Yankee player, it was highly unlikely. Player visits to Yankee executive offices were quite rare, especially prior to 1968, when the offices were finally centralized in Yankee Stadium. But it took 65 years for that to happen! For the better part of seven decades, the Yankee offices were in Manhattan, removed from the field of play. more

Frank Messer
“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure.” That was Frank Messer’s signoff when he held the mike at the end of a game, and the words could easily be volleyed back to him by listeners. more

DiMaggio, Mantle Passed the Torch in 1951
Astronomers and astrologers like to talk about planets aligning, heavenly bodies appearing to overlap, and eclipses caused by the positions of the sun and moon. more

1973 – Yankee Stadium’s 50th Anniversary
1973 – thirty years ago – represented a remarkable anniversary for Yankee Stadium. Not only was the ballpark turning 50, but it would be the last season in the original structure, “The House that Ruth Built,” which had opened in 1923. more

Teresa Wright
Any Yankee fan worth his (or her) salt who hasn’t seen Gary Cooper in Pride of the Yankees at least 15 times hasn’t really passed the test of true belief. Sure, the dialogue seems primitive, and yes, it doesn’t run on TV that much anymore, but you still weep when Coop does his Lou Gehrig farewell speech, and you still feel good for the big lug when he finds romance with a fast Chicago girl named Eleanor Twitchell. more


Other publications

Krause Publications

Great Moments
In 1968, I was a 19-year-old fan mail clerk for the New York Yankees, assigned to spend my summer answering Mickey Mantle’s fan mail. It was the final season of Mick’s 18-year career, although no one knew it at the time. But Mickey probably did. more

Legendary Yankee Stadium
Don’t turn the page! My first impression, as a kid entering Yankee Stadium in the ‘50s, was NOT the massive spread of green grass, so strange to an urban child. Once I thought that was an original idea. Now, it seems everyone says it. I’ve read it so often, it almost makes the experience seem ordinary! o I’ve stopped saying it. (Although it was awfully impressive). more

Auction Catalog, Lelands.com

Evolution of the Single Season Home Run Record
Can you set a single season home record before a season is over? If the answer is yes, the first to hold baseball’s most glamorous record was Ross Barnes of the Chicago White Stockings, who hit the first home in National League history (his only one that season), on May 2, 1876. If you want to be picky and wait for the season to end, you would have to look to the long-forgotten George Hall of Philadelphia, who clubbed five that season and actually held the record for four years! more


National Pastime Museum

www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com

1961 Season
In the 1961 All-Star Game (actually, two all-star games were played), the National League roster included Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn, Orlando Cepeda, Don Drysdale and Eddie Mathews – 11 future Hall of Famers on the 28-man roster. more

Monte Irvin
The death of Monte Irvin in January, a month shy of his 97th birthday, robbed baseball of one of the finest gentleman to ever play the game, and robbed historians of the go-to source for anything about the Negro Leagues. more

Origin of DH Rule
On January 11, 1973, just about a month before spring training, the American League announced that it would begin using a controversial new rule for the ’73 season – “the designated pinch-hitter rule”. more

Sy Berger’s Baseball Cards
When Sy Berger died at his Long Island, New York, home in December 2014 at age 91, the story ran everywhere—from the front page of the New York Times to NBC Nightly News, and even “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live. Surely, a lot of people were scratching their heads over this one. “Who in the world was Sy Berger?” more

Herbert Hoover Gets Booed at the World Series
Politicians in modern America know that being introduced at a sports event comes with some risk. Sports fans, especially after a beer or two, are pretty uninhibited about letting their feelings known for elected officials. As fans have discovered, stadium security will not throw them out onto the street if they boo. more

Baseball Fever Tom Villante’s Life in Major League Baseball
A lot of batboys have “made good” in life, and no doubt the responsibilities instilled in them during those teen years have been a factor. But Tom Villante, who was the New York Yankees batboy in 1944–45, has had a dazzling career, largely in and around baseball, in the years since. more

Game 7, 1960 WORLD SERIES
On October 13, 1960, the New York Yankees faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 7 of the World Series at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, a game that would be Casey Stengel’s last as Yankee manager. more

THE LAST EXPO AND OTHER SURVIVORS
Willie Mays—the last New York Giants player—in 1973 which was his final season. One of these years, one of these players will appear in his final Major League game and depart with a dubious distinction. more

NO LONGER UNWRITTEN
There is a fascinating exhibition this year at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. It is called “Chasing Dreams,” and although the venue would suggest a Jewish theme, it is in fact an exhibition of how the nation’s immigrant population—Irish, Italian, Latin American, Asian, Jewish, and others—used baseball as a means of assimilating into American culture. more

LOU GEHRIG APPRECIATION DAY AT 75
Seventy-five years ago, July 4, 1939, in what has come to be called the day of “Baseball’s Gettysburg Address,” Lou Gehrig delivered an unscripted yet brilliant farewell to baseball before an overflow holiday doubleheader crowd at Yankee Stadium. more

DAMON RUNYON’S GUYS AND DOLLS
Sometimes when we write these essays, “Twilight Zone” moments happen. On the day I sat down to write about Damon Runyon, my wife was running in a 5K race at Yankee Stadium to raise money for the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund.

As I read an obituary on Runyon from 1946, I noted that the last sentence said he was living at the Hotel Buckingham on 57th Street and Sixth Avenue at the time of his death. I raised my head from the computer keyboard and looked out my window. The Hotel Buckingham. more

KING KELLY: BASEBALL’S FIRST CELEBRITY
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the first baseball biography (or in this case, autobiography). It was in 1888, at the peak of his fame, that Mike  “King” Kelly’s “Play Ball: Stories of the Ball Field” was published.

It must be emphasized how difficult it was to achieve “fame” at that time, let alone be worthy of a book. Before radio became a force in American culture in the 1920s, and before national magazines like Collier’s and the Saturday Evening Post made their marks at the turn of the century, the idea of being a national celebrity really didn’t exist. more

CRACKER JACK OLD TIMERS GAMES
Between 1982 and 1990, an annual old timers game was played, first in Washington, D.C., and then in Buffalo, New York—an event that drew national attention from its very first inning. It was known as the Cracker Jack Old Timers Baseball Classic, and it was the brainchild of former Atlanta Braves Vice President Dick Cecil. more

Roger Peckinpaugh

In 1974 I was writing my first book, Baseball’s Best, with biographies of all the Hall of Famers, and I decided to interview Roger Peckinpaugh, who in 1914 became, and remains, the youngest manager in Major League history. He was 23. more

My First Game: Ebbets Field 1955
I think most people take their children to their first game at too young an age. I know I did. I took my son to his first game when he wasn’t even three. He loved the ice cream, and when a Seattle Mariners player offered him a baseball, he turned it down. He was too busy with the ice cream. And I’m sure he has little recollection of the afternoon. My own story is similar, but it has some interesting twists. more

Red Ruffing
On Saturday afternoon, August 5, 1939, Red Ruffing went out and did what he usually did when he started a game for the New York Yankees. Pitching off the very flat mound of Yankee Stadium, Ruffing hurled a complete game 6–1 victory over Cleveland, allowing seven hits and a walk (the run was unearned). As a batter, he went 2 for 2 with a home run (Joe DiMaggio also homered). The game took one hour and 37 minutes and was played before 13,207 fans. Just another day at the office for Red. more

Berra-Dickey
This is the story of two Yankee catchers and how the legacy of one soared while the other remained in place. In other words, it is the story of how one player can get better after retirement, and the other not, even though neither has had another hit nor thrown out another runner in all these years. We are talking about Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra, both of whom had their uniform No. 8 retired, the only time two players had one number retired. more

The Mexican League Raids and the Last Full-Season Suspensions
If Alex Rodriguez’s season-long ban holds up in 2014, he will be the first Major Leaguer to miss a full season for disciplinary reasons since Commissioner Happy Chandler banned the Mexican League “jumpers” for five years following their 1946 defections. more

Bobby Richardson
Sport Magazine used to run small notices about joining fan clubs, and there it was in 1961, the address to join the Bobby Richardson Fan Club, operating out of New Jersey. Perfect. I was in. Bobby was my guy. more

Harry Craft–Baseball Lifer
It was probably September 9 or 10 in 1959, when the manager of the Kansas City Athletics, Harry Craft, sidled over to Casey Stengel during batting practice at Yankee Stadium for a friendly chat. Harry of course, knew Casey. Everyone knew Casey, and so too did everyone seem to know Harry, one of the best-connected, best-liked men in the game. more

Ring Lardner
I was thinking about Ring Lardner when the Mets sent Ike Davis to the minor leagues in June. And we’ll get to that in a moment. One thing I really like about Ring’s life, a century after his fame started to take hold, is that he was really just one of us – a sportswriter! And he wound up being spoken of in the same breath with F. Scott Fitzgerald – a great man of letters, an American original. more

Baseball’s Centennial “Greatest Players Ever” Poll
At the time, it was the cornerstone of baseball’s centennial celebration, a much heralded, fan-driven promotion designed to get everyone involved with the festivities. It was 1969, the centennial of professional baseball, 100 years since the Cincinnati Red Stockings started paying salaries for playing ball. more

Derek Jeter: Channeling Mickey Mantle’s Farewell Season
Watching Derek Jeter’s final season unfold brings both joy and sadness for this lifelong Yankee observer and one-time club employee. The joy is in celebrating the 20 years of memories, and the sadness is, of course, that it is coming to a close. more

Mel Ott & His Enduring Home Run Record
The tragic death of St. Louis Cardinals rookie Oscar Taveras during the World Series, victim of an auto accident in the Dominican Republic, brings to mind another ballplayer who died a similar death, albeit long after his distinguished career had ended. more


Online Publications

Bronx Banter: Lasting Yankee Stadium Memory

As the days of Yankee Stadium wound down in September, there was a lot of talk about the majesty and perfection of the original, 1923-73 ballpark, and talk of how the remodeled park (1976-2008) paled in comparison. more

Baseball Hall of Fame

Cooperstown Chatter: The New Yankee Stadium Takes Its Bow

(4/17/09) — On Opening Day of the refurbished Yankee Stadium, April 15, 1976, it was nearly 90 degrees and of course, I had overdressed, deeming it appropriate to wear a suit and tie on this formal occasion. I was the PR director; I was the guy on the field trying to make order out of 50 photographers and a long list of VIPs, coordinating the introductions with hand signals to Bob Sheppard in the PA booth. All of my “assistance” from stadium security had vanished, dispatched to Mr. Steinbrenner’s office for his pregame party. more