Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Book Review: New York Yankees Then and Now
Larry Rossman's New York Yankees Then and Now, a pictorial depiction of Yankee history, presents itself similar to a set of baseball cards made of highlights and short prints, without the "commons" that usually ended up in bicycle spokes. This is not surprising since Rossman, a self proclaimed Yankee fan since childhood, has enjoyed every nostalgic proclivity that comes along with rooting for the most successful team in sports history. In my own Yankee fandom there has never been anything ordinary about the Yankees--even now as the superstars are gone and the commons have put the team in first place. Rossman's record of Yankee history manages to touch on all the extraordinary facets of the organization. The book is a timeline covering the team's most significant and memorable elements from the birth of the Yankees to the latest events of the 21st century.
Every piece of Yankee history is assigned to one of the book's four heading toppers: The Yankee Decades, Game Changers, Yankees Then and Now, and Yankee Legends. Each topic is presented as a two page snapshot of history with a casual balance of photos and text. The Yankee Decades pages help carry the linear chronology of the information. Any combination of Game Changers, Yankees Then and Now, and Yankee Legends headed pages follow to give quick bits of information covering well known history as well as not so well known within the corresponding decades.
For example, the Game Changers: Key Moments in Yankee History pages include such events as key player acquisitions, pivotal games, and managerial changes. Some of the same content is then mentioned in the Then and Now and Yankee Legends sections. Reading straight through tended to become repetitive, as much of the content overlapped throughout the different sections. For example, as I read through the Yankee Legend Babe Ruth section, I found that much of the information was covered in the preceding Game Changers and Then and Now sections--a persistent pattern throughout the book.
As long as you enjoy the book as a casual read and not as a history lesson to be read for hours at once, you can overlook the books repetitive nature. This book will serve best as a thumb through with a cup of coffee (or beer) and laid to rest for the next baseball fan to come along and enjoy. Every piece of the Yankee story can be enjoyed on its own while still hanging on the overall theme of the book; feel free to start on page 114 to read about the last days of the Old Yankee Stadium and then skip back to page 12 and read about Hilltop Park with a whole new appreciation of what carried the organization from "then" to "now".
New York Yankees Then and Now is available now in bookstores and on Amazon.