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1954: Perhaps no single baseball season has so profoundly changed the game forever. In that year#151;the same in which the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled, in the case of Brown vs. Board of Education, that segregation of the races be outlawed in America's public schools#151;Larry Doby's Indians won an American League record 111 games, dethroned the five-straight World Series champion Yankees, and went on to play Willie Mays's Giants in the first World Series that featured players of color on both teams. Seven years after Jackie Robinson had broken the baseball color line, 1954 was a triumphant watershed season for black players#151;and, in a larger sense, for baseball and the country as a whole. While Doby was the dominant player in the American League, Mays emerged as the preeminent player in the National League, with a flair and boyish innocence that all fans, black and white, quickly came to embrace. Mays was almost instantly beloved in 1954, much of that due to how seemingly easy it was for him to live up to the effusive buildup from his Giants manager, Leo Durocher, a man more widely known for his ferocious "nice guys finish last" attitude. Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Bill Madden delivers the first major book to fully examine the 1954 baseball season, drawn largely from exclusive recent interviews with the major players themselves, including Mays and Doby as well as New York baseball legends from that era: Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford of the Yankees, Monte Irvin of the Giants, and Carl Erskine of the Dodgers. 1954 transports readers across the baseball landscape of the time#151;from the spring training camps in Florida and Arizona to baseball cities including New York, Baltimore, Chicago, and Cleveland#151;as future superstars such as Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, and others entered the leagues and continued to integrate the sport. Weaving together the narrative of one of baseball's greatest seasons with the racially charged events of that year, 1954 demonstrates how our national pastime#151;with the notable exception of the Yankees, who represented "white supremacy" in the game#151;was actually ahead of the curve in terms of the acceptance of black Americans, while the nation at large continued to struggle with tolerance.
Legendary Yankees past and present sit down with award-winning columnist Bill Madden to offer a captivating portrait of what it's like to play for the Bronx Bombers. In his years of writing about the Yankees for the Daily News, columnist Bill Madden has earned the reputation as one of the premier journalists covering the team. Now, he combines his unprecedented access with his unique insight to provide an insider's look at America's most revered sports team. Madden sits down with 18 prominent Yankee players--from legends like Yogi Berra to recent greats like Paul O'Neill--and gets them to open up about what it's like to play for the sport's most loved, most hated, and most successful franchise. Introspective chapters include profiles of Phil Rizzuto, Whitey Ford, Don Mattingly, and Lou Piniella; Jerry Coleman, who explains why the Yankees to him are "not just a team but a religion"; and Ralph Houk, the manager of the 1961 Yankees team who rarely gives interviews. Other revealing portraits include Bobby Murcer, Reggie Jackson, and Joe Pepitone. A celebration of baseball at its best, this is the perfect book for anyone who ever dreamed of donning the blue pinstripes and winning one for the home team.
No owner has changed the landscape of sports more than New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. From the moment he bought the team in 1973 for $10 million, Steinbrenner's monomaniacal pursuit was to restore the most fabled franchise in baseball history to its former glory. Today the New York Yankees are worth more than $1 billion and are once again world champions. Award-winning sportswriter Bill Madden traces Steinbrenner from his early days in Cleveland through his years as a shipping magnate, a Nixon fund-raiser, and a champion horse breeder to the fateful moment when he bought the Yankees, even though his father disparaged George's desire to own a professional sports team as a "hobby." Over the next four decades, Steinbrenner's tumultuous reign included his epic battles with Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, even beloved Yankee captain Derek Jeter. His ruthless and free-spending tactics made him a lightning rod for controversy but they also paid off: Steinbrenner's Yankees have won seven championships and remain the gold standard in all sports. In the last few years, with his health declining, the Boss ceded control of the team to his sons, but not before lording over the team's historic transition from the House That Ruth Built to the House That George Built. Throughout his three decades of covering the Yankees, Bill Madden has cultivated hundreds of sources at every level in the organization, from the many managers and front-office personnel Steinbrenner has fired to the bat boys who are ever present in the locker room. All of them have colorful stories about the man with whom they have enjoyed a love-hate relationship, but it is the Boss himself whose voice rises above the rest. And when Steinbrenner decided to give his final print interview, he spoke to Madden to set the record straight on his extraordinary life and career.
No owner has changed the landscape of sports more than New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
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