In a previous post, Paul shared on his favorite Yankee item, hit ticket stub from Game Six of the 1996 World Series. I have a similar item to this, a ticket stub from the 1996 ALCS Game Four in Baltimore which was my first post season game. Great memories of a game and atmosphere I’ve never seen since.
But my favorite Yankee item is a copy of the book Dynasty: The New York Yankees 1949-1964 by Peter Golenbock. Golenback is of course well known for being a prolific writer of Yankee and baseball books, with other well known titles including Balls, written with Graig Nettles, The Bronx Zoo, with Sparky Lyle and Number 1, with Billy Martin.
I came upon my copy while on family vacation in Delaware seashore in 1985 - I was sixteen at the time. We stopped at a grocery store, and as we were checking out, there were some paperback books on a rack in the cashier line - primarily fiction and romance novels. As I looked, killing time waiting to pay and leave, my eyes fixed on a book with on the word “Yankees.” I looked at it for a minute, and then our turn came up to pay for our groceries. I made the impulse decision to buy the book for $4.50 - no small sum for someone making money that summer working odd jobs like mowing, feeding animals, etc.
Well, once I was able to set down to read it I was thrilled by the treasure I had unearthed! The book went year by year from 1949-1964, capturing in great detail events and players of the seasons, with many interviews of great Yankees I had heard of, and some I had not heard of. It was this book that really opened my eyes to, among other things, the genius of Casey Stengel, the dignity and underrated excellence of Elston Howard, the importance of Yogi Berra to the franchise, and the historic talent of Mickey Mantle. The 1950’s particularly was the Yankees Decade, and I had seen this in other books I had, but this book made these teams come alive. The book firmly made me a Yankee and baseball nut, which continues 30 years later.
A few years ago, I reached out to Golenbock on Facebook and expressed my appreciation for the book, and how it was one of my inspirations to start writing for SABR projects. He was very kind and friendly in in his response, and I was grateful he took the time to write back.
My copy of the book is shown in the thumbnail. It’s been battered and beaten through numerous readings, and many moves since that time. One time my very young daughter got a hold of it and "decorated" it. I’ve had many chances to “upgrade” to a better quality copy, but have chosen not to. There’s a lot of history in this book about my favorite baseball team, and about myself as well.