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Damn Yankees: Twenty-Four Major League Writers on the World's Most Loved (and Hated) Team [Kindle Edition]

Rob Fleder
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Winners of twenty-seven World Series titles, the New York Yankees are the quintessential sports dynasty. Love them or hate them, they cannot be ignored by anyone who professes to be a fan of the great game of baseball.

With Damn Yankees, Rob Fleder, former Executive Editor for Sports Illustrated magazine, offers a timeless collection of original essays by some of the most prominent contemporary writers in America—from Pete Dexter to Jane Leavy, from Roy Blount Jr. to Colum McCann—each piece focusing on one uniquely colorful subject: the fanatically adored/resoundingly despised “Bronx Bombers.”

Funny, moving, provocative, insightful appreciations and detractions—from Babe Ruth to Mickey Mantle to Derek Jeter—Damn Yankees offers twenty-four fascinating takes on the most storied franchise of baseball’s Major Leagues.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Everyone has an opinion about the Yankees. More than an opinion in most cases, but an opinion at the very least.
—From the Introduction

Love them or hate them, the New York Yankees have been an American institution for nearly a century. With their rich history and colorful cast of characters, the Yankees never fail to inspire or provoke. In this exciting compendium, some of today's most acclaimed writers—including Pete Dexter, Colum McCann, Roy Blount Jr., Dan Barry, Jane Leavy, Charles P. Pierce, J. R. Moehringer, Daniel Okrent, Frank DeFord, Bill James, and many more—step up to the plate to take their cuts. The result is a collection of original essays as idiosyncratic and expansive as the team that has inspired them: ruminations on Babe Ruth's gravestone, Derek Jeter's swing, and the upper-deck vantage of the Oldest Living Yankee; dual allegiances; mortal rivalries; and every other subject that spans from the hilarious (the Yankee wife-swap of the '70s) to the sublime (the grace of Catfish Hunter).

Superbly written, deeply insightful, and full of both passion and humor, Damn Yankees is a completely fresh look at baseball's most enduring franchise by a Murderers' Row of writers as stacked as that of the 1927 Yanks.

About the Author

Pete Dexter is the author of the National Book Award-winning novel Paris Trout and five other novels: God's Pocket, Deadwood, Brotherly Love, The Paperboy, and Train. He has been a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Sacramento Bee, and has contributed to many magazines, including Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Playboy. His screenplays include Rush and Mulholland Falls. Dexter was born in Michigan and raised in Georgia, Illinois, and eastern South Dakota. He lives on an island off the coast of Washington.

Rob Fleder was executive editor of Sports Illustrated and the editor of SI Books during his twenty years at Time Inc. He was the editor of Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary Book, Sports Illustrated: The Baseball Book, Sports Illustrated: The Football Book, and Hate Mail from Cheerleaders, among other New York Times bestsellers.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1107 KB
  • Print Length: 309 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062059629
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005O0AUGU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575,754 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have to admit I was mislead by this book's pre-release marketing... but in retrospect... I was mislead in an absolutely beautiful and emotional way. While I was expecting to read a book dominated by on the field statistical battles... and off the field player de-mystifying... what I found instead was a book written by twenty-four professional writers... that more times than not... becomes actual poetry. The poetry that is produced is surprisingly not so much about balls and strikes... or why I hate or love the Yankees... though there is a good measure of that. Where this book hits a "literary" grand slam homerun... is in the telling of emotional, personal, heartfelt, family stories... from deep within places hidden away within the very soul of many of these great writers.

Like a great clutch hitter looking for a fastball down the middle of the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of the World Series... and being fooled badly with a big-bending-slow-curve... just as fooled will be potential readers expecting hundreds of pages denigrating the guy sitting next to you because his team colors are orange and blue and yours are pure pinstripes. Don't get me wrong... there is some of that... but surrounded by the prose of... life... death... family... countries... Grandfathers... Fathers... Sons... Daughters... familial love... familial hate... immigrants on both sides of the ocean... fond... and not so fond... remembrances... from Belfast... to Massachusetts... to New York... and beyond... these highly talented writers... I firmly believe are exorcising their own spiritual tumult that they have carried within themselves for a lifetime.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Skilled Authors Writing Unique Stories April 14, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What can be written about the Yankees that hasn't already been written? Twenty-four first rate writers have written chapters regarding the Bombers both past and present. Why only four stars, you ask, when everyone else has posted five stars? Some of the stories I didn't find to be particularly interesting while others were at the other extreme being very memorable. The last 38 pages of the book contain statistics of one kind or another which doesn't appeal to me. I found J.R. Moenringer's chapter on The Oldest Living Yankee to be hilarious, and one of the best in the book since I feel it pretty much described a typical fan. Leigh Montville is the author of an outstanding biography of Babe Ruth, and he has a wonderful chapter entitled Media Babe. Jane Leavy, author of biographies on both Mantle and Koufax, has an outstanding chapter on former Red Sox pitcher Frank Sullivan and Mickey Mantle. Another chapter I enjoyed is the one on the death of Cleveland Indian Ray Chapman with a description on the dangerous position a batter places himself into when he enters the batter's box. The chapters on Catfish Hunter and Derek Jeter, and a few others are also worthy additions.

The authors in this book are very skilled writers who can take a story and write it in a way to make it uniquely interesting. However, due to a few stories I didn't especially care for and the 38 pages of statistics at the end I would rate this book to be four stars which mean "I like it".
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You had me at the intro April 6, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Yankees, bless them, got me thrown out of my boring Brownie troop for running a Maris vs. Mantle home-run betting pool, literally under the table--the one covered with mess kits we were supposed to be assembling instead. But in the million years since then I've stopped paying attention to the team, other than keeping tabs on the latest A-cup blonde actress on A-Rod's restless arm. (The game itself has never been my thing--too many fat old guys spitting and chewing, too many interminable innings.) Then I started hearing about this book and its highly regarded editor, Rob Fleder, who'd pulled in original pieces from some of the best writers on earth. I had to buy a copy for my father, a Boston born-and-bred Red Sox fanatic. I knew he'd be tormented, in the most pleasant way. But first I wanted to check out the merchandise, just to be sure. And fell right into Fleder's own gem of an intro, almost worth the price of admission. Then I couldn't resist sampling two favorite novelists, Colum McCann & Pete Dexter; my secret crush, the witty Will Leitch; the journalist/social observer nonpareil Dan Barry; the great unsung Lenny Bruce of his generation, comic writer Roger Director. And there's so much more to Fleder's lineup; it's a feast, a find and a pleasure. So Daddy, I'm really sorry, but I'm not giving this up. Go get your own copy already.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This book is engaging and funny-- and you don't even have to be a baseball fan to enjoy it. I picked it up at a bookstore, being intrigued by the cover and having recently moved to New York. I don't even know if I love or hate the Yankees but found this to be a fun and enjoyable read with all the great writers who contributed. The introduction by Rob Fleder got me started and then I had to keep going. Maybe I'll even start watching the Yankees!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wide-Ranging and Entertaining Essays May 28, 2013
The editor did a nice job of recruiting some good journalists to write about a simple and open-ended topic: the Yankees. Each writer takes his own distinct approach to the topic, which keeps the book lively. The best essay in the book is called "The Oldest Living Yankee" and uses the Yankees as a backdrop for showing the complexities of the relationship between a boy and a grandfather he does not really know. It's very touching and complex and exceptionally well written.

Others take a more conventional approach -- there are two pretty good stories about Jeter, and Bill James does a statistical analysis of Yankee catchers. James' essay is a bit disappointing because he focuses on the measurable offensive statistics of the catchers rather than on the much more important qualities of leadership, handling of pitchers, and defense. However, James does a good job of examining what data there is to revise the common misconception of Berra as a poor defensive catcher.

There is a good deal of humor in the book. Leavy's chapter on Mantle and the Red Sox pitcher he bedeviled is far more light-hearted than her book on Mantle. The Yankee-hater essays are quite funny. And the chapter on Babe Ruth as the inventor of the charismatic celebitry type is amusing.

One striking essay entitled "Day of the Locusts" concerns the ugly, obsessive side of fandom and focuses on the riot that occurs when the victorious Yankees return from beating K.C. in Game 5 of the 1977 ALCS. There are two sad essays that deal with Catfish Hunter's death from Lou Gehrig's disease.

Most of the essays focus on the fan's interest in the game and why baseball is so compelling to so many.

This is a very good collection of essays.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 5 months ago by Deanna
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I am more of a yankee fan than some of the writers.I
Published 11 months ago by debbie cease
4.0 out of 5 stars My brother is a 60 year Yankee fan
I got this for him for his birthday. He loved it. Many of the stories were from the time when he was a kid and he rememberd some of them. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a good read
Quality of the stories is mixed. Many stories are old news to Yankees fans. Still, some gems here and worth a read.
Published 22 months ago by Joseph P. Lavelle
3.0 out of 5 stars a passed ball at best
As a Yankee fan in recovery [after more than two decades of faithful rooting and followership] I still love reading about my former obsession, both for ill and for good [but I... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Steven Sica
5.0 out of 5 stars Yankee Fan or Not This is a Must Read
I have been a life long Yankees fan and now I am a Rob Fleder fan for this compilation of stories that are touching, funny, sad, informative, educational and entertaining about... Read more
Published 24 months ago by M. J. Corcoran
4.0 out of 5 stars Arrived on time
Arrived on time and good quality. So happy that I did not have to drive to store to waste gas and time.
Published on January 16, 2013 by Harry W. Wyre Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Like the Yankees, Some Rise to Greatness, Some Sink To Mediocrity
This book is like that. Some, even most of these stories, rise to greatness, others sink to mediocrity. Read more
Published on July 18, 2012 by Big D
5.0 out of 5 stars Love 'em or hate 'em
When it comes to the Yankees there is no neutral ground, as evidenced by the dozens of wonderful contributors to this book, edited by Rob Fleder. Read more
Published on June 25, 2012 by Jon Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, Damn Yankees
It was the last day of work in December 2010 when I was on my way to meet a former colleague for dinner at Pete's Tavern on 18th Street in Manhattan. Read more
Published on June 5, 2012 by John D.
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More About the Author

Rob Fleder was executive editor of Sports Illustrated and the editor of SI Books during his twenty years at Time Inc. He was also an editor at Esquire, Playboy, and The National Sports Daily. Some of the books he edited are The Sports Illustrated Baseball Book, SI 50: The Anniversary Book, The SI Football Book; Hate Mail From Cheerleaders (by Rick Reilly), SI's Great Baseball Writing, and Paper Trails: True Stories of Confusion, Mindless Violence and Forbidden Desires, A Surprising Number of Which Are Not About Marriage (by Pete Dexter).


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