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The Bronx Zoo: The Astonishing Inside Story of the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees Paperback – April 1, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After winning the American League Cy Young Award in 1977, Lyle, a left-handed reliever, was rewarded with a place on the bench as the high-spending New York Yankees acquired Goose Gossage from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bad news for him, good luck for us, as the bullpen bench was the perfect perch from which to observe the wild 1978 season, in which the Yankees overcame a 14-game midsummer deficit and a midseason managerial change to win the pennant and their second consecutive World Series. Would Lyle have written the book if he’d had more playing time? It’s an intriguing question. The quality of the prose isn’t great, but it definitely has spark. As he recounts fights, firings, pranks, and even baseball games, offering forthright assessments of Reggie Jackson, George Steinbrenner, and Billy Martin (the last fares best), Lyle seemingly can’t help but offer his honest opinion on all of it. And the following season? Strangely enough, Lyle finally got what he wanted most of all, a trade to another team. Frankly fascinating and forthrightly funny. --Keir Graff

About the Author

Sparky Lyle is a former left-handed relief pitcher who spent 16 seasons in Major League Baseball. A three-time All-Star, he won the American League Cy Young Award in 1977. He was most famous for coauthoring The Bronx Zoo, a 1979 tell-all book that chronicled the dissension within the Yankees in its World Series Championship seasons of 1977 and 1978. Peter Golenbock is a sports journalist and author.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Triumph Books (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572437154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572437159
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Though I grew up a total Yankee Hater (and was 15 yrs old when this season took place), the book ranks right up there with "Thin Ice - A Season in Hell with the New York Rangers" as a top quality read for a baseball focus. Probably the best thing about this book is how Golenbock and Lyle are able to put a real personal touch to some of the Yanks that played on that team that year. Nettles is a total cut-up, Munson is a real gamer, Jackson is a media hog, Billy Martin is part psychotic and part genius, and Ron Guidry is the quiet, yet dominating athlete that just goes out and does his job. Some of the more amusing antedotes are the ones involving Fritz Peterson in Lyle's earlier days, and Rawley Eastwick's escapades in the present day. Previous reviews talk about Lyle being "whiny", and I can agree with that perception. It's kind of hard to relate to someone complaining about his stature in life as a professional baseball player, when Joe Schmoe is out there trying to eeke out a living doing whatever. But I have to admit that if you had won a Cy Young the previous year before and all of a sudden was relegated to "mop-up" status, it would be a blow to one's pride. But the book does hit its mark on one thing . .the perception of George Steinbrenner is TOTALLY dead-on.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have tried to get through this book more than once. The subject matter should be compelling, and it is often used as a milestone ala "Ball Four". Come to think of it, I didn't get through that one with much retained knowledge. Maybe ball players should let writers write.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not worth any time. Only thing I recall is that Lyle takes a cheap shot at Kansas City, who played the Yankees several years in a row in the 70s. Lyle says they would not have finished third in the AL East If you're a Yankees fan and want to relive some of the 70s and 80s highlights from an insider perspective, I would recommend Graig Nettles' book Balls.
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Format: Paperback
First, the problems with the reprint of the best-seller that opened up a wealth of first-person accounts of those wild years with the Yankees:

* Sparky Lyle was not in favor of having the book reissued;

* There is not any new material and the typographical mistakes remain from the first edition;

* Unless you followed baseball in the 1970s or have an appreciation of baseball history, you may have trouble following the personalities and situations chronicled.

My rating is based on the controversy that exploded surrounding Lyle's candid accounts of the crazy 1978 season. Lyle does not shy away from the seemingly daily madness of The Boss, Reggie, Billy, and the closer wars of Goose and the co-author. It makes the stuff that swirled around the 2006 Yankees seem like agate type for the tabloids.

In the spring, Peter Golenbock was pushing the book pretty hard on local and national sports talk shows. I wish he would have done more than just put a nearly 30 year old sports book back in print.

But even the professional laziness of Golenbock cannot lesson the importance that book had in chronicling the Yankees and on Lyle's pitching career. The following season, Lyle was on the mound for the Texas Rangers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I owned this book when it was written many years back. My wife is a die-hard baseball fan and I knew she would know all the players named (Billy Martin, Goose Gossage et.al) and that she would get a real kick out of life in the big leagues when the big drug of choice was alcohol and not PEDs.
Sparky Lyle takes you back to those bad old days with such humor and aplomb, you'll think you're still there.
I highly recommend this laugh-out-loud book to sports fans who want some insight into the conferences on the mound, the conversations in the dugout and the locker rooms.
I loved it then and, judging by my wife's reading the passages that have her laughing her butt off, I did well by her.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was much like Ball Four by Jim Bouten. Baseball is not all glamor and adulation. It's a tough sport and requires hard work for those who make it to the big leagues. I liked the way Sparky calls Steinbrenner a megalomaniac and Reggie Jackson a worthless, arrogant piece of junk. Billy Martin is treated very fairly as a severely troubled person but a good manager who knew baseball. If you're into baseball, this is a good read
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A few good and humorous stories. The rest is just a boring day to day journal of exactly what happened in ballgames. "Johnson swung on a 3-2 pitch with a half chop and that's how we retired the side." kind of stuff.
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Format: Paperback
Welcome to the 1978 Yankee team, where men were men and the brawls were televised. No one thought the 1978 Yankees were much of anything and they proved everyone wrong. One of the best baseball books of all time, Superstar Yankee Pitcher Sparky Lyle hits a homerun with this tell-all book. As a die-hard fan, I loved the way he pulled no punches. You get to witness it all from the players fighting to the team shake-ups. After reading this book, you’ll understand why playing for the Yankees is like camping out at The Bronx Zoo.
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