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April 22, 2005

Book Review: The 50 Greatest Yankee Games

The good people at Wiley recently sent me a review copy of Cecilia Tan's book "The 50 Greatest Yankee Games" that came out a couple of months ago.

While I have not had time to fully read the book, I did have a chance to sample through it and I thought some here might be interested in my findings.

Cecilia is a Yankee fan extraordinaire. She’s been writing about the Yankees at sundry outlets for a long time now. Personally, her name has always stuck in my head because of the Simon & Garfunkel hit “Cecilia” that was out when I was around 9-years-old:

“Oh, Cecilia, I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to come home
Come on home”

Even though it was 33-years ago, it seems like it was just yesterday that I would get a big thrill when that song came on the radio in my folk's car as we were driving around. (Probably on an AM station, I should add. Man, I'm old.) In any event, Cecilia gets two major thumbs up for the amount of research that went into this book. Most notably, she personally interviewed 28 members of the extended Yankee family. These include the likes of Yogi, Bouton, Bucky, Whitey, Girardi, Reggie, Gator, Murcer, Mattingly, O’Neill, and Stick. On the Spicoli-meter of cool, this alone deserves a “Whoa!”

Unfortunately, I have to quibble with some of Cecilia’s selections. For example, having a game where Tony Fernandez hit for the cycle in 1995 and the Andy Hawkins no-hitter loss of 1990 in the “Top 50” whereas games like games like Guidry’s 18-K night and the Brosius and Tino HR games of the 2001 World Series miss the cut is, well, somewhat inexcusable to me.

Nonetheless, because of the amount of detail that this work provides on the games included, it appears to be the type of book that most diehard Yankee fans would want to have in their essential baseball library. I look forward to having some time soon to be able to read it fully. Thanks to the folks at Wiley for sending it to me.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at April 22, 2005 11:16 AM


Wait, Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 WS and Gator's 18 Ks losing out to Tony F's cycle and Hawkins botched no hitter is only *somewhat* inexcusable? To me that undermines everything else she may have accomplished with the book, particularly the 2001 WS games, which should be in the top half of the list.

Posted by: Cliff at April 22, 2005 12:03 PM

Hey, if Sheff can give Mango a "buddy pass" on a HBP, I can make these "somewhat" excusable. Actually, CT does provide a brief "next 50" list at the end of the book and those games are in the 51-100 list. That was the reason why I was less ticked on it. Should have mentioned that in the entry. I'm learning!

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at April 22, 2005 12:10 PM

Steve, thanks for the mention. Honestly, the reason the 2001 WS is not in the book is two-fold. One is, since I was trying to limit myself to one game per postseason, I chose G3 of the ALDS against Oakland, the Jeter-flip game, to represent that October, since without that game, there *is* no WS for the yankees that year. That game had such significant not just for the Yankees but it was the turning point for the city of New York as well. The second reason is more personal. When I was working on the book it was still pretty soon after the event of 2001 and I just found it to f*ing painful to write about that World Series. As a fan, that's the one I can't get over. I cried for a week. Okay, now it is a couple years away and I can actually write about it without feeling like I'm being stabbed in the gut (now I'm merely being poked with a butter knife), but at the time I couldn't face it.

If I'm lucky, someone will give me a shot at writing "the other fifty games" I list in the book--the ones I could have chosen just as easily. This team has played over 300 postseason games alone... a lot to choose from!

Posted by: Cecilia Tan at May 2, 2005 02:03 AM