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1941 -- The Greatest Year In Sports

by Mike Vaccaro

Joe DiMaggio . . . Ted Williams . . . Joe Louis . . . Billy Conn . . . WhirlawayAgainst the backdrop of a war that threatened to consume the world, these athletes transformed 1941 into one of the most thrilling years in sports history.In the summer of 1941, America paid attention to sports with an intensity that had never been seen before. World War II was raging in Europe and headlines grew worse by the day; even the most optimistic people began to accept the inevitability of the United States being drawn into the conflict. In sports pages and arenas at home, however, an athletic perfect storm provided unexpected--and uplifting--relief. Four phenomenal sporting events were underway, each destined to become legend.In 1941--The Greatest Year in Sports, acclaimed sportswriter Mike Vaccaro chronicles this astounding moment in history. Fueled by a somber mania for sports--a desire for good news to drown out the bad--Americans by the millions fervently watched, listened, and read as Joe DiMaggio dazzled the country by hitting in a record-setting fifty-six consecutive games; Ted Williams powered through an unprecedented .406 season; Joe Louis and Billy Conn (the heavyweight and light-heavyweight champions) battled in unheard-of fashion for boxing's ultimate championship; and the phenomenal (some say deranged) thoroughbred, Whirlaway, raced to three heart-stopping victories that won the coveted Triple Crown of horse racing. As Phil Rizzuto perfectly expressed, "You read the sports section a lot because you were afraid of what you'd see in other parts of the paper."Gripping and nostalgic, 1941--The Greatest Year in Sports focuses on these four seminal events and brings to life the national excitement and remarkable achievement (many of these records still stand today), as well as the vibrant lives of the athletes who captivated the nation. With vast insight, Vaccaro pulls back the veil on DiMaggio's anxieties and the building pressure of "The Streak," and chronicles the brash, young confidence Williams displayed as he hammered his way through the baseball season largely in DiMaggio's shadow. He takes readers inside the head of Billy Conn, a kid who traded in his light-heavyweight belt for a shot at the very decent and very powerful Joe Louis, and tells the story of the fire-breathing racehorse, Whirlaway, who was known either for setting track records or tearing off in the wrong direction. Rich in historical detail and edge-of-your-seat reporting, Mike Vaccaro has crafted a lasting, important book that captures a portrait of one of America's most trying, and extraordinary, eras.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Emperors and Idiots

by Mike Vaccaro

The New York Yankees. The Boston Red Sox. For a hundred years, no two teams have locked horns as fiercely or as frequently - and no two seasons frame the colossal battle more perfectly than 2003 and 2004. Now, with incredible energy and access, leading sports columnist Mike Vaccaro chronicles the history of the greatest rivalry in sports, and the two stunning American League Championship Series that define a century of baseball. October 17, 2003: A night no Yankees or Red Sox fan will ever forget. At 12:15 am, bottom of the eleventh inning of game seven of the ALCS, New York third-baseman Aaron Boone launches a ball over Yankee Stadium's left-field fence. The Yankees win their 39th pennant - and send the perennially vexed Boston Red Sox home . . . again . . . suffering another devastating loss to their longtime nemesis. October 20, 2004: A year later, an eerie reprise - but this time things are different. After losing three straight to the Yankees, Boston has charged back to win the next three, forcing a decisive game seven. From the start of the game Boston is in control, and by winning this game they march toward their first World Series victory since 1918. These two explosive years define an extraordinary, epic rivalry - from Mariano Rivera and Roger Clemens to Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling, Derek Jeter and Aaron Boone to David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, from nearly a century of Yankee domination to the undisputed breaking of "The Curse. " With the razor-sharp instincts that have made him a top sports journalist, Mike Vaccaro delves into the history of the rollicking rivalry: a vicious collision in 1903 (between the New York Highlanders and Boston Pilgrims) that draws first blood; the era of Babe Ruth and his legendary trade from the Red Sox to the Yankees, ushering in the notorious Curse; the golden age of DiMaggio and Williams; the unstoppable power of Mantle and Maris; the heart and soul of Fisk and Yazstremski versus Pinella and Munson; and the modern era of dueling owners, skyrocketing payrolls, and a renewed rivalry that attracts sell-out crowds even to Yankees-Red Sox spring training games. EMPERORS AND IDIOTS is as lively, fascinating, and raucous as the teams themselves - a must-have volume for any Yankees or Red Sox fan.

The First Fall Classic: The Red Sox, the Giants, and the Cast of Players, Pugs, and Politicos Who Reinvented the World Series in 1912

by Mike Vaccaro

In this wonderful page-turner, veteran sports journalist Mike Vaccaro brings to life a bygone era in cinematic and intimate detail--and re-creates the magic and suspense of the world's first classic series. Despite a major presidential election, the near-assassination of Teddy Roosevelt, and the most sensational trial of the young century, baseball dominated front-page headlines in October 1912. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Giants of that year--two of the finest ball clubs that had ever been assembled--went head-to-head in a thrilling eight-game battle that ultimately elevated the World Series from a regional October novelty to a national obsession.

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