I have had the pleasure of communicating with Randy Reynolds, the author of the new book Yogi Berra's Last Game. Randy shared the book with me. It is a delight to read and learn from. At times, I felt like I was traveling with baseball legends as they took a special trip to Europe and played in a remarkable baseball game.
Author Randy Reynolds states, "Essentially this 334 page book is a transcript, with 400 extracted video pic frames, from 6 hours of never before seen video footage I personally filmed September 12-18, 1994 with Yankees Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto, Enos Slaughter and other former MLB players. This is the week the 1994 World Series was cancelled during the MLB Strike. I hope to turn this into a documentary film."
To provide a nice overview, I have included the book's introduction and the first chapter below. I have also included some photographs from the original text.
Enjoy this preview of a very special book about some very special Yankees.
(Purchasing information for this book can be found at the end of the article.)
An MLB player would never know when his last game in the majors is, let alone his first game. Standing on Omaha beach during the invasion of Normandy, nineteen-year old Lawrence “Yogi” Berra didn’t know when or where he’d be able to play.
When a player says this my last game, it usually is. Yogi last competitive MLB game actually was his next to last baseball game of any kind. That’s what this book is about, the week that led up to his truly last game. He played it to win. In 1994 a group of retired baseball players left Kennedy Airport in N.Y. in route to Vienna, Austria. Among them were a few of the greatest to have ever played America’s Pastime. Although no longer young men, they still retained their love of baseball and their willingness to play and promote the sport. This is the story of that once in a lifetime journey and Yogi Berra’s last game.
This the list of players who took part in the trip to promote baseball in Austria.
Yogi Berra- Catcher and outfielder for the N.Y. Yankees 1946-1965, Manager of both the Yankees and the N.Y. Mets, Member of the Hall of Fame
Whitey Ford Pitcher for the N.Y. Yankees 1950 to 1967 Member of the Hall of Fame
Phil Rizzuto (The Scooter) Shortstop for the N.Y. Yankees 1941-1956 40 years as radio and Television announcer for the Yankees. Member of the Hall of Fame
Enos Slaughter (Country) Right fielder St. Louis Cardinals 1938 to 1953, N.Y. Yankees 1954, Kansas City Athletics 1955, Returned to N.Y. Yankees 1956 to 1959. Member Hall of Fame
Ralph Branca Pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers 1944 to 1956. Also Pitched for the Detroit Tigers and the N.Y. Yankees.
Bill White First baseman and Outfielder for the New York and San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies 1956 to 1969.
Ron Le Flore Center fielder Detroit Tigers, Montreal Expos and the Chicago White Sox 1974 to 1982.
Joe Pignatano Catcher for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants and the N. Y. Mets 1957 to 1962.
Dell Alston First baseman and outfielder for the N.Y. Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland A’s and the Cleveland Indians 1977 to 1980.
Larry Masaroni Outfielder for the N.Y. Yankees.
John Moore Director for WPIX which broadcast the Yankee games.
While the 1994 Major League Baseball strike dragged on into September and the World Series was canceled, I filmed three of the greatest NY Yankees to ever play the game during September 12-18, 1994.
Hall of Fame icons and legends Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto traveled thousands of miles from New York to Vienna, as ambassadors of America’s Pastime and played their last baseball game together. They came to play in the inaugural Austrian Cup baseball game against the first Austrian players, who built the first baseball field, in the village of Stocker au, Austria.
The days before the game, along with their wives, they met the Mayor of Vienna and gave him an autographed baseball bat, Yankees cap and uniform. The following day they received a private concert from the Vienna Boys Choir and afterwards taught them to sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” They also played ball with the choirboys on their soccer field, where Phil taught them how to bunt and Yogi taught them how to hit. In the days that followed, Yogi, Whitey and Phil visited palaces and ancient castles where many more unique and humorous moments were shared.
Finally on Sunday, September 18th, 1994 they played the game, with an outcome they didn’t expect.
Hundreds of never before seen pictures of Yogi, Whitey, and Scooter with correlating conversations and quotes, derived from hours of footage and interviews, can now be seen and read for the first time.
There are many baseball stories you’ve heard. This is a baseball story never told. They were the shining light in the darkest days of baseball.
The link for the ebook version at Amazon is HERE.
Note - The kindled eBook version has color pictures and the paperback has black and white pictures.