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Five O'Clock Lightning: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the Greatest Baseball Team in History, The 1927 New York Yankees Hardcover – October 26, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Frommer (A Yankee Century; Red Sox vs. Yankees) spares no detail in this exhaustive but sometimes tedious recounting of the 1927 New York Yankees championship season. The team, which won 110 games when the regular season was eight games shorter than it is today, starred the iconic Babe Ruth and a young Lou Gehrig. Ruth had his career high 60 home run season, and Gehrig batted in a league-leading 175 runs. The Yankees' trademark rallies were dubbed Five O'clock Lightning, as they often scored in late innings when the clock struck five (Yankee Stadium in those days had no lights, and most games started at 3:30 p.m.). Frommer sets the stage with a sweeping overview of New York in the 1920s, and then chronologically rehashes the preseason, spring training, each month of the regular season and then the four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. He concludes with a chapter containing obituaries of all 31 members of the team, many of whom succumbed at early ages: Gehrig died 14 years after the 1927 season, at the age of 38, and Ruth 21 years later, at 53. Unfortunately, Frommer fails to put together an engaging narrative, simply offering a compendium of facts and statistics. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Frommer (A Yankee Century; Red Sox vs. Yankees) spares no detail in this exhaustive but sometimes tedious recounting of the 1927 New York Yankees championship season. The team, which won 110 games when the regular season was eight games shorter than it is today, starred the iconic Babe Ruth and a young Lou Gehrig. Ruth had his career high 60 home run season, and Gehrig batted in a league-leading 175 runs. The Yankees' trademark rallies were dubbed "Five O'clock Lightning," as they often scored in late innings when the clock struck five (Yankee Stadium in those days had no lights, and most games started at 3:30 p.m.). Frommer sets the stage with a sweeping overview of New York in the 1920s, and then chronologically rehashes the preseason, spring training, each month of the regular season and then the four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. He concludes with a chapter containing obituaries of all 31 members of the team, many of whom succumbed at early ages: Gehrig died 14 years after the 1927 season, at the age of 38, and Ruth 21 years later, at 53. Unfortunately, Frommer fails to put together an engaging narrative, simply offering a compendium of facts and statistics. (Nov.) (Publishers Weekly, September 10, 2007)

"Baseball fans, particularly those who root for the Bronx bombers, will devour this book..."  (simcoe.com, Thursday 22nd November)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471778125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471778127
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second book on the New York Yankees entitled Five O'Clock Lightning. The first came out a few years ago and was written by former Yankee Tommy Henrich and Bill Gilbert. This new version on the 1927 Yankees provides us with an introduction to each of the players on the roster including Manager Miller Huggins and batboy Eddie Bennett. We are provided with anecdotes regarding Ruth, Gehrig, Lazzeri, Joe Dugan, Bob Meusel, Urban Shocker, manager Miller Huggins, and others, but if you have done some significant reading on baseball history you will find many of the same stories repeated here. The regular season is covered with more statistics than I care to read about. The World Series against the Pirates follows, but it is hard to jazz up a four game route. To me the best part of the book was the final section regarding what happened in the future to each of those involved. The reader will know about Ruth, Gehrig, and Huggins, but the demise of the remaining members of the team is covered as well. The book is a quick read depending on your background. Writer Damon Runyon's name is misspelled (Runyan) three times on pages 74 and 75. Regarding the 1927 Yankees St. Louis pitcher Milt Gaston is quoted as saying, "There isn't a moment's mental rest for a pitcher against that batting order." It sounds like this also will apply to the 2008 Detroit Tigers. I rate this book a solid three stars. It isn't a classic by any means, and I'm sure it wasn't meant to be.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THIS IS A NICE AND EASY READ ABOUT THE 1927 YANKEES WHO WERE AMONG THE BEST TEAM OF ALL TIME. BABE RUTH SET THE RECORD FOR 60 HOMERS IN 1 SEASON AND GEHRIG WAS SECOND AT 47. IT WAS A TEAM WITHOUT WEAKNESS. A GREAT PITCHING STAFF, GOOD FIELDING AND FANTASTIC HITTING. THEY WERE SO GOOD THAT THE PHILADELPHIA A'S WHO HAD GROVE, FOXX, COBB, SIMMONS AND COCHRAN COULDN'T CATCH THEM. IT ALSO HAS THE DETAILS AND A BIT OF INFO ABOUT EACH PLAYER ON THIS TEAM AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THEIR DEATH. ALL IN ALL THIS IS A GOOD READ FOR ALL YANKEE AND HISTORIAN FANS OF BASEBALL.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Harvey Frommer brings the 1927 New York Yankees to life in Five O'Clock Lightning. While Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were the stars of the club, readers will learn a lot about the rest of the roster, including little-known players such as Benny Bengough, George Pipgras, Mark Koenig, Wilcy Moore, Mike Gazella and others. Frommer fleshes out the players with information about their backgrounds, personalities and careers.

Commenting on the '27 club, considered by many to be the greatest in baseball history, Yankees pitcher Sam Jones said, "The Yankees were more than a great offensive club. They were the best defensive club in both leagues. That outfield, terrific pitching and a great infield. It was a well balanced club in every way."

Frommer covers the regular season and the World Series with just the right touch, making it a very readable account. Interestingly, he addresses whether the Yankees demoralized the Pirates with their batting exhibition prior to the start of the '27 World Series, which they swept in four straight. That story has been often told, but Frommer presents several dissenting views of what some regard as a myth.

Frommer ends the book by telling what happened to each player after the 1927 season as well as how and when they died.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author puts together about as much as anyone might want to know about this great team. From the super stars to those who filled out the roster. He recaps the season as well as most of the individual player accomplishments. He even includes the death dates of those participants as well as excerpts from Babe Ruth's final Will and Testament. A good read for anyone interested in this important aspect of baseball history.
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Format: Hardcover
If you start a conversation with a baseball scribe about the greatest baseball teams of all-time, the 1927 Yankees will be mentioned within a few moments. This book is a very detailed history of that club.

The biggest reason to keep turning pages in this book is the incredible detail that you won't find anywhere else. For a year's worth of events that took place nearly 90 years ago, it is amazing that such specific information is still available. Whether it is the day-to-day grind of the regular season or the biographies of all the team's players, author Harvey Frommer gives you nuggets of information that even the most seasoned of baseball fans will be reading for the first time.

Also, Frommer does a great job of, if not debunking, then at least shedding new light on some of that season's biggest myths, including the Ruth/Gehrig relationship, the unsung starting pitching, and the World Series "demolition" of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

However, the overall material could be interpreted as a bit dry by the non-zealous baseball fans among us. It is just a very straightforward, little-frills approach to writing that might not be for everyone. Thus, I highly recommend this book to the hard-core baseball fan set, but maybe not for the more casual fan.
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