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1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York Hardcover – April 1, 2010

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1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York + The House That Ruth Built: A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship, and the Redemption of 1923
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 538 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Nebraska Pr; First Edition ~1st Printing edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080322060X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803220607
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,110,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"1921 is a well crafted and enjoyable read that is highly recommended."—Bill Lamb, SABR Black Sox Scandal Research Committee Newsletter
(Bill Lamb SABR Black Sox Scandal Research Committee Newsletter)

About the Author

Lyle Spatz is the author of many books, including Bad Bill Dahlen: The Rollicking Life and Times of an Early Baseball Star and Yankees Coming, Yankees Going: New York Yankee Player Transactions, 1903 through 1999. Steve Steinberg is the author of Baseball in St. Louis, 1900–1925 and numerous articles on early twentieth-century baseball, including feature articles for the annual New York Yankees official yearbooks. Charles C. Alexander is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Ohio University. He is the author of several baseball books, including Spoke: A Biography of Tris Speaker and John McGraw (available in a Bison Books edition).

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The book is rich in history and well researched.
Michael A. Newman
If you enjoy baseball's rich and glorious history you will certainly find this book a worthy addition to your baseball library.
Bill Emblom
What I liked also was to learn how many games these teams actually played in a season.
D. Mosman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on March 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It has become popular in recent years to write books dealing with specific years, and authors Lyle Spatz and Steve Steinberg have hit a home run with their new book on the rivalry between the New York Giants and Yankees in the year 1921. A lot was taking place in the baseball world at this time. The spitball had been banned in 1920 with only those skilled practitioners allowed to continue with the damp hurl. New York Giants outfielder Benny Kauff would be banned for life by Commissioner Landis due to his undesirable character and for supposedly purchasing stolen cars. In May of 1920 Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians was killed by a pitch thrown by Yankees' hurler Carl Mays who dealt from the bottom with his submarine slants towards home plate. On Memorial Day of 1921 a memorial would be placed in deep center field at the Polo Grounds to honor Giants' player Eddie Grant who died in The Great War. Commissioner Landis would also assert his authority in September of 1920 in banning eight members of the Chicago White Sox for their participation in throwing the 1919 World Series.

The authors deal with the stress on both New York managers John McGraw and Miller Huggins. Huggins had the support of owner Jacob Ruppert, but co-owner Cap Huston wanted Wilbert Robinson. Both McGraw and Huggins were aged beyond their years. McGraw told his players the team has a chance to win "if my brains hold out." Years later George Kelly said McGraw would have had a barrage of bats thrown at him if he hadn't left immediately. Huggins said he "wouldn't go through those years again for a million dollars" since his health was more important. The photos in this book are sparkling and many never seen before. The photos of the players show several of them old beyond their years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barry Sparks VINE VOICE on May 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Authors Lyle Spatz and Steve Steinberg bring 1921, an interesting and pivotal year, to life in this book about that year--subtitled, "The Yankees, the Giants, and the battle for baseball supremacy in New York."

The Yankees and Giants presented a clash of styles and personalities. Sportswriter Fred Lieb termed the 1921 Yankees, which included Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel and an aging Frank "Home Run" Baker, as "the greatest combination of clouters in history."

While Wee Willie Keeler had practiced the art of "hit'em where they ain't," Babe Ruth adopted the philosophy of "hit'em where there's no chance of them being."

The Giants, under the guidance of manager John McGraw, practiced the art of "small ball" or "inside baseball." Advancing runners any way they could. McGraw frowned on Ruth's impact on the game and despised the Yankees' playing style.

While Ruth was one of the most loved personalities in all of sports, McGraw was one of the most hated. McGraw had a dictatorial personality, was a vociferous umpire baiter and egotistical.

Yankees' manager Miller Huggins faced the challenge of whether or not he "could mold an unruly group of stars and prima donnas along with ordinary, every day players into a championship team." Huggins, who clashed frequently with Ruth, was highly criticized and didn't receive the respect he deserved.

The Yankees and Giants shared the Polo Grounds. The Yankees, before the arrival of Ruth, had been the city's poor step child, leasing space from the Giants.

The Yankees and Giants were both involved in pennant races in 1921. The Yankees trailed the Indians by 1.5 games on Aug. 30 and the two clubs tangled in "one of the fiercest pennant battles in history." The Giants trailed the Pirates by 7.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dcreader VINE VOICE on May 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
1921 is an easy book to pick up and a very hard one to put down. Simply put it's a model of baseball history, and a template for how the history of a single season should be written.

First, the authors introduce the game as it was played before 1921, how it was changing from a pitchers' game to a hitter's game, and why. The dichotomy between the "old style" Giants and the "new style" Yankees is quickly established, and it serves as a good backdrop for events. Key personnel are introduced. Other single season histories can get bogged down in day to day details, devolving quickly into a series of game summaries. The authors do a good job of interjecting biographies and other pertinent information throughout the book to keep it lively.

Also noteworthy is how much of what we complain about today, thinking it is endemic to the modern game, was actually present in 1921. For instance, there were constant complaints of about how unfair it was for teams to compete against the resources of the two New York teams, and in-season acquisitions were met with cries that the Giants were trying to "buy" the pennant for instance. There are many such stories in 1921 that reinforce just how little of what we think is new actually is.

Finally, the authors break down events, noting historical discrepancies and helping their readers decide what really happened.

The photos are great. I would have liked to see a few more, perhaps of New York itself. 1921 was the year the Yankees finally won the AL pennant and New York established itself as the baseball capital of the world. A little bit more about the city itself in the way of text and photos would have made the story even more colorful and lively.
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