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Birth of a Dynasty: Behind the Pinstripes with the 1996 Yankees Hardcover – May 2, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Full of rich, detailed reporting ... One doesn’t have to be a Yankees fan to enjoy this book, but a fan of baseball and good writing." —John Feinstein, author of A Season on the Brink

"In rich detail, Joel Sherman examines the architecture of a modern dynasty: the art, the science, and yes, sometimes the amazing luck. The ’96 Yankees, rife with characters and comebacks, provide fertile ground for Sherman’s sharp reportorial skills."—Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated

"Sherman’s fly-on-the-wall familiarity with his subject results in countless revelations, many of which will surprise even hard-core Yankees fans."—Chad Finn, Boston Globe

"A superb account of the making of a champion, with inside info about Joe Torre, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and many behind-the-scenes players. It’s the type of info you don’t see in most baseball books."—Jon Heyman, Newsday.com
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

JOEL SHERMAN has been writing for the New York Post since 1989, first as a beat reporter covering the Yankees from 1989 through 1995, and then as a baseball columnist ever since. He lives in Westchester, New York.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (May 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594862443
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594862441
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Phil Carlucci on June 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am not a big fan of Joel Sherman's New York Post column, so I didn't have the highest of expectations when I first opened this book -- but I must say that after reading the opening three chapters on the '95 Division Series, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter, I was hooked. This book is the equivalent of Buster Olney's "Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty", only Sherman covers the buildup to the 1996 World Series victory and its lasting effects, whereas Olney used Game 7 of the 2001 Series to recap the dynasty and how it had reached that night in Arizona.

Two things jumped out at me with Sherman's book. First, he does a great job describing the key moments of the season, so much so that instances I had forgotten about of late were suddenly fresh in my memory once again. While some have found this tedious, most people who followed the Yankees that season will welcome all of these tidbits and game descriptions. Secondly, as much as I previously knew about the dynasty Yankees, Sherman manages to bring new things to light that I'm sure most Yankee fans were unaware of, and emphasizes the importance of happenings that back then may not have seemed so significant. Sherman also makes it a point to show how much luck and "destiny" played into the title run. Like Tony Fernandez breaking his elbow at the end of Spring Training after a Derek Jeter error extended the inning, followed by the Yankees nearly trading Mariano Rivera to Seattle for FELIX FERMIN and starting Jeter at AAA in '96.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My favorite kinds of baseball history books are the ones sportswriters and historians do in looking back retrospectively at a great season of a great team. It's hard to believe the Yankees of the late 90s have already reached that time where such a book is necessary, and Joel Sherman of the NY Post has delivered with the best possible look back at how a great dynasty began.

Far superior to Buster Olney's 2004 work (which was ruined by its overobsessive focus on Game 7 of the 2001 WS in too much minute detail), this book starts with the 1995 Division playoff loss to Seattle and builds things from there. The difference between this overview, and the one written after the 96 season by John Harper and Bob Klapisch, is that being written with the benefit of ten years of perspective, we can understand better how the 96 team that started it all, did not begin the dynasty in pounding, intimidating fashion. Rather, the 96 club of Joe Torre was one that had to face an uphill climb through key injuries like David Cone's aneurysm, and who also were at one point in the ALDS against Texas halfway from going down 0-2 iin the series with three games on the road ahead of them.

Sherman's conclusion is also a welcome breath of fresh air to all the crap that was written during the Yankees dynasty run of how their greatness somehow revealed some alleged "problem" in the game of baseball about the "unfairness" of the Yankees ability to win. What the Yankees did starting with the scrappy 96 club, and which they built on with the greater glories of 98-00, deserves to be ranked as perhaps the greatest feat ever performed by a baseball team.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are a fan of the yankees or grew up during their dominant years then this book is for you. It gives you great insight into your favorite players, and history of their rise.

Did you know Mariano Rivera almost got traded 3 times? Or Jorge Posada was a minor league shortstop?

Good Stuff!
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Format: Hardcover
I'll start off by saying that I am, in no way, a Yankees fan. However, what makes this book impressive is that it's enjoyable not only for fans of the pinstripes, but for anyone who enjoys modern baseball history.

With this effort, the Post's Sherman chronicles 1996, their first season of dominance. The writing is almost strictly chronoligical, but Sherman keeps things interesting by discussing both off-the-field happenings and the personalities involved with the team. There's plenty of background on players like Rivera, Cone, and Jeter, and a good explanation of Steinbrenner's decisions, including everything and everyone that influences those decisions.

There are plenty of game accounts, some of which might drag on for non-Yankee fans. I'm sure that all Yankee fans will love reliving special games from that season, but they can become a little dull for other fans. At the same time, though, Sherman focuses mostly on critical games, and it's easy to understand why they have been included.

There have been several books over the past few years that focus on one team and one season. Of those, this is definitely among the best, and I'd recommend it. It's a good choice for any baseball fan, although Yankees fans are likely to get the most out of it.
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