Sunday, October 12, 2008

Remembering Yankee Stadium

There have been a lot of things that have been released this year celebrating the history of Yankee Stadium. I have found the mother of them all. It's a book by renowned baseball author Harvey Frommer. It's titled "Remembering Yankee Stadium: An Oral and Narrative History Of The House That Ruth Built." As I said, this is the mother of all "look backs." I already have the official retrospective that was released earlier this year and it doesn't hold a candle to this book. I could tell that as soon as I cracked open the binder for the first time. Before you even get to the title page, you're treated to some beautiful photos that encapsulate the history of the Stadium. And they're truly beautiful photos. They're beauty is aided by the book being more wide than it is tall. It allows for stunning 2-page panoramic shots that you don't see in books that are of the normal size/shape. And these photos aren't just contained to the opening pages. They're sprinkled in all throughout the book. Like the Stadium itself, you just can't beat how it was put together.

Each of the book's chapters represent a different decade of the Stadium's life. The book could get by on Mr. Frommer's writing alone. He beautifully details the history of the grand 'ol ballpark and I found myself reading every word rather than skimming through paragraphs or flipping ahead to a subject I find more interesting. Yeah, I'm one of those readers. But I haven't been with this book. But there is more to the book that the writings of the author. The book really comes alive with the countless first person narratives that are intertwined with the writings of the author. If I counted correctly, there were 92 different people whose memories are recounted in the book. They range from some Yankee legends (like Bobby Murcer, Whitey Ford and Phil Rizzuto), to Hall Of Famers (like Rollie Fingers, Brooks Robinson, and Paul Molitor), to politicians (like Rudy Giuliani, Mario Cuomo, and Michael Dukakis, to your every day run-of-the-mill Yankee fans. Like the photos, they're perfectly placed and it's just another reason why the book is a classic.

But wait, there's more. The best part is saved for last. The last section of the book is called "Stadiumology." It tells you little facts about the Yankees and the Stadium. The crown jewel of the section is when it breaks things down "by the numbers." It has little facts that go with numbers. Take the number 24 for example. In 1927, 24 of Lou Gehrig's 47 HRs were hit in Yankee Stadium. The number 413 represents the smallest ever attendance for a home game. I could go on but you catch my drift. This little section is the cherry on top of this awesome sundae.

If you're a die hard Yankee fan like me, you should seriously consider picking up a copy of this book. The pictures alone are worth the price of admission. The book invokes a lot of memories. It made me feel like I was walking back into the Stadium for the very first time. I could smell the grass. I could see the giant interlocking NY painted behind home plate. I could hear the sounds. I could smell the food. I could see baseball being played at Yankee Stadium. It's the crown jewel of all Yankee Stadium retrospectives. If there were a Monument Park for books, this would be featured amongst the legends.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


1 comments: said...

What a great review. It totally made me want to buy the book. Amazon should give you a commission.