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Damn Yankees: Twenty-Four Major League Writers on the World's Most Loved (and Hated) Team Hardcover – April 3, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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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.

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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062059629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062059628
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,212,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At the risk of condemnation, I have to disagree with the other reviewers. I found this to be pointless and lacking continuity. I suffered through the throwing trials of Chuck Knoblach but only after countless, irrelevant pages by a self-absorbed writer meandering about. One essay was devoted to a listing of the greatest years Yankee catchers have had. Surprise, surprise, Yogi was #1 but after reading about 50+ catcher years one really has to question the premise. The book wanders to an end through an interminable list of Yankee stats and records. Seriously, I thought I had run into the appendix . This was so anti-climatic I thought some of it was missing in the expensive Kindle version. Some essays were excellent which only makes the preponderance of "precious" and pointless essays all the more frustrating.
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