Tonawanda News —
There are few old Yankee wisecracks here, those worn stories about Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra (baseball men on either end of the loquacious index but each a font of profundity).
Instead, we get personal stories: what the Yankees mean as an ideal or as an evil empire, what it’s like growing up in a furiously busy city of hustlers and dealers and how the Yankees became emblematic of everything we like/don’t like about New York, and touching stories like that of Jim Abbott, Yankee pitcher with one arm, literally, and the no-hitter he threw.
Indeed, it is a book about relationships. The writer and the Yankees. The writer against the Yankees. New York City vs. everybody.
Leavy’s touching essay includes Mickey Mantle and Frank Sullivan, who gave the best advice on how to pitch to Mantle. “With tears in my eyes.”
It is a splendid book, by knowledgeable writers who can truly express the hold this baseball team has on them. The only quibble involves an index of statistics running 39 pages at the end; it is unnecessary, available elsewhere to those who care about who did what in the Yankee pantheon and the space could have been used for one or two more essays.
This reviewer considers the New York Yankees to be the Darth Vader of sport and wouldn’t last ten minutes in the employment of someone like George Steinbrenner, the team’s longtime (and deceased, in 2010) principal owner attempting to portray himself a businessman simply looking for quality talent when, in fact, he was a stubborn and dictatorial martinet of a boss. The book left me with reinforcement of why I’m right, as well as an appreciation of why this team is so important to so many people.
As informed and readable opinion, something that has been eagerly awaited, it does not disappoint.• WHAT: "Damn Yankees" • BY: Rob Fleder, editor, and 24 others • GRADE: A Ed Adamczyk is a Kenmore resident and can be contacted at EdinKenmore@gmail.com.