If you like baseball history, then this book is for you. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of another team as this book gives a great insight into early baseball happenings.
Author Dom Amore is a twenty-year member of the Baseball Writers Association of America who has been writing about sports for Connecticut newspapers since 1982 and for the Hartford Courant since 1988, covering the Yankees, MLB, and baseball at all levels for much of that time. He has been named the state’s Sportswriter of the Year four times by the National Sports Media Association and has won more than thirty state, local, and national journalism awards.
The New York Yankees were not always the New York Yankees. What I mean is the glory days of this team took a great length of time and hard work. They didn’t just start with Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle. There was a time that this franchise struggled and almost didn’t come to fruition. Things weren’t always easy and all glitz and glamor.
It all began in 1903 in Manhattan on the area known as Hilltop Park. The beginning of the franchise had to deal with the corrupt city government in New York known as Tammany Hall. It began with the American League president, Ban Johnson, in 1903 trying to find a way to establish a baseball team in the city but he faced objections from across town where the New York Giants, a National League team, did everything they could to stop the project.
Johnson got former police chief “Big Bill” Devery and owner/gambling operator Frank Farrell to work on the project after they gave a check to him for $250,000 to put the team together. . Devery talked about “honest graft” and Farrell didn’t hide that his money was made in gambling parlors. They made many big decisions on the project as some were fine, others were not lawful and many were on the edge of lawful.
A sight was needed that was close to a subway stop. The most advantageous spot belongs to the New York Institute for the Blind which sat on a parcel of land between 165th and 168th street. It had a nice view of the New Jersey Palisades and the Hudson River. They bought it and gave the previous owner some nice incentives to go elsewhere.
Working is quickly completed which required drilling and dynamiting the rocky area. Within a few months, a baseball field that seated 16,000 fans were erected and ready for opening day. It would open to the public on April 30, 1903, and became prosperous from the start. Several years later they sold the team for a nice profit.
The book is full of stories about the Highlanders which would become the Yankees in later years. Success became a staple when a new ballpark was built in 1923 and it was the greatest ever built. It was named Yankee Stadium in 1923. The book isn’t without errors and appears to be written in a rush. with that said, overlook those things and the book is a great baseball history resource that should be on every baseball fans bookshelf.
Thanks to Sports Publishing for the copy of the book in exchange for an honest and fair book review.