Book Summary: Five straight World Series Championships, Eight American League Pennants, and a boatload of personal hardware for many of its players. The 1950’s New York Yankees were the cream of the crop of the sporting world.
The glorious history of the New York Yankees can be traced back to the trade for Babe Ruth in 1920. From there, the franchise line continued to Lou Gehrig, then to Joe DiMaggio. When it was time for DiMaggio to hang them up, the torch got passed to Mickey Mantle. Mantle became the beacon of the team, who just inherited a Yankees team on top of the baseball world. Just when everyone thought the Yankees couldn’t do any further damage on the record books, the calendar turned, and it was soon January 1950.
Over the next ten seasons, the Yankees would appear in and win most of the World Series. Players would go on to set career bests behind the plate and on the mound. Yogi Berra would earn three Most Valuable Player awards and find his place among the greatest catchers of all time. Manager Casey Stengel stepped in for franchise legend Joe McCarthy and continued to win without skipping a beat. Whitey Ford roared through the decade as the team’s ace pitcher, winning the games that mattered the most. Those names were the group’s pillars, an organization that refused to go down without a fight.
Besides the big stars, there was always another player who stepped up to turned double plays, make the outs in the field, and pitch when the big guns needed rest. One of the decade’s unlikeliest heroes was Don Larsen, who pitched the only perfect game in the World Series history. The date of that game was October 8, 1956.
I couldn’t wait for this book to get released in 2019. I bought it right off and got to admit I couldn’t stop listening to it. (I listen to these books on Audible, in case you missed me saying that an earlier review.) The book transitions from one year to another, and it is flawless. Every season ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving you to wonder what is to come next year. You wouldn’t think that one little book would cover every vital detail of 10 baseball seasons, but don’t judge books by their covers. This one was great. Even in the handful of seasons that the Yankees didn’t play in the World Series, 1954 and 1959, the book goes into essential details about what went wrong during those seasons and broke down the other team’s triumphs in their place.
Baseball is competitive. This book may focus mainly on the Yankees and their achievements, but it doesn’t shy away from their opponents’ stories. Whether it was a battle for a playoff spot or players dualling it out for records and awards, Fischer ties it all together quite nicely. To sum it up, if you want to know anything, and I mean anything about baseball in the 1950s, this is the book for you.
Sure, it would be safe to say it doesn’t go into great detail about the achievements or struggles of other teams, but anyone who was a threatening presence in the Yankee universe was a part of the story. There are countless stories of the Brooklyn Dodgers, one of the Yankees’ main rivals in the day. Considering the two teams duked it out in several World Series, which included their franchise first title in 1955, the rivalry is on full display. When it came time to dissect the critical games during this decade, Fischer has you covered. He also doesn’t just give you the statistics, and he tells stories that help build up the tension of the situations.
The 1950’s New York Yankees is an excellent book for Yankees fans and those who love the game’s history. As I continue to read into the account of my favourite team and their great moments, this book would be one of the best.
It has been more than two months since I finished the book, and I can’t recall all my favourite aspects of the book.
Fischer’s story deserves a second reading. I often don’t say that about books, but there is no way to grasp all the in-depth material in one reading. I also think this book deserves to be in your library in paperback or hardcover. This review may seem biased because I am a Yankees fan, but I just thought it was excellent writing.