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The Yankee Years
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on August 21, 2013
I was so excited to get this book, especially after all the reviews from the nation's top book reviewers which promised that it was one of the best books about baseball...an insightful look at a legendary manager...an appealing portrait of a likable, hard-working man...a lively chronicle...compelling... fascinating reading...and Joe Torre was billed as the author. What an utter disappointment and loss of credibility those book reviewers have suffered in my opinion.
This book is appallingly bad. It was not written by Joe Torre. Mr. Verducci adds quotes from him from time to time but they are not well integrated with the material, but only seem to have been added because Mr. Torre's name is on the book. Mr. Verducci doesn't write particularly well, although he goes on and on and on. The entire 512 pages are more like reading sports news clips patched together without much thought beyond catchy chapter titles. There is no real theme to the book, no insight or chronicle, much less an appealing portrait, of Mr. Torre. I know no more about him after having read this than I knew before...and I have to admit that the choice of quotes does nothing to give a favorable impression of Mr. Torre. I've always had a sense of him as thoughtful and wise but this book certainly didn't paint him as either...but I suspect that's the result of sticking in a quote on a topic instead of actually exploring the issues being discussed. The book was far from compelling--I only finished it--and it was the hardest read I've ever had--because I couldn't believe that all those reviewers had it so wrong. I kept hoping that the next page would bring a glimmer of what they promised but it never did. One of the chapters is titled "Broken Trust" and frankly, that's how I feel about this book--the reviewers, the publisher (Doubleday), Mr. Torre and Mr. Verducci have all broken the trust with readers. I hope they are at least enjoying some laughs on the way to the bank.
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on May 3, 2017
I was amazed at how hard Joe Torre had to fight for his job after the 2003 season. After only going 3 years without winning a World Series, Yankees management looked to make him a scapegoat. The Yankees made some horrible personnel decisions, especially with pitchers, and Torre's Yankees continued to win. Joe Torre should have been allowed to manage for as long as he wanted.
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on July 28, 2009
A Red Sox fan my entire life, I resisted this title at first for obvious reasons. My respect for Joe Torre as a manager and great 'baseball man' eventually changed my mind and I was delighted to find this an excellent, first-hand account of the game. While the press coverage of this book only seemed to talk about his relationship with Steinbrenner, A-rod, and steroids - thankfully Torre and Verducci gave these topics their due but focused on Torre's coaching insights.

Even though re-hashing the Yankees' titles in the 90's and their consistent defeat of the Red Sox in several playoff series was difficult to read, Torre's anecdotes and stories about key games, the Sox rivalry, and the central personalities on both sides truly make you feel like you're there re-living every moment of these amazing baseball moments. By the end of the book, the reader not only gains an appreciation for Joe Torre's career as a manager with the Yankees, but also has a greater understanding of the transition American baseball has experienced in the last decade - the careful balance between individual all-stars and the team concept; performance-enhancing drugs and their legacy; the evolution of statistics and the emergence of sabermetrics' role in scouting and the assessment of player talent; and the media's tremendous influence on fans' perception of individuals, teams, and the league itself.

While my favorite moment was Torre's insider account of the 2004 ALCS (again, for obvious reasons), the entire book was as captivating as his unique insight into those seven games. The Yankee Years is a must-read for any baseball fan, be they for the Yankees, the Red Sox, or any other team.
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on October 19, 2016
My husband and I got the audiotape and listed to it on our roadtrip from Texas to California. (Yah, long trip!)
Despite my disdain for sports in general, I really enjoyed listening to this audio book.
It was super interesting and had a lot of history and tidbits on the players that makes you feel like you're part of the team.

We enjoyed it so much that we ended up buying it a gift for my brother and he loved it too .
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on January 10, 2017
Great read for any Yankee fan.
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on July 25, 2012
I'm a long time MLB NY Yankees fan. I wanted to learn more about Joe Torre and the years he managed the Yankees.

The writer and researcher Tom Verducci with Joe Torre's input have wrote a good book about Joe Torre and the twelve years with the NY Yankees. The book has some GREAT color pictures! The book read well. A few parts were a little dry in regards to some the exact play by play by players I never heard of. However,95% of the book was good.

We see Joe Torre hired as the manager of the NY Yankees. He was the owner George Steinbrenner's forth choice. Joe had a below average managing record with no WS experience. The media and fans called him "clueless Joe" as they believed he had no idea of how to win the World Series.

What Joe had was many great players. Finally he had the "big horses... super stars" to be a winner.

We see Joe's management style of honesty,openness and dignity. He wanted to treat all his players and upper management with honesty. He preferred face to face explanations rather than behind someones back. Unfortunately some of the players and management did things behind his back and made deals. We see George Steinbrenner when he was younger as a micro manager using his lieutenants to deliver the bad news and do roundabouts behind Torre's back. Lots of stabbing in the back. Steinbrenner tried to rule by threats and intimidation. Torre had non of it and stood up to him and did not let George intimidate him. Of course there were things Joe had no control of as George had the money to effect trades ect. We see Cashman as the GM working with George and Joe.

After three WS series wins, and spending much much more than any other baseball club Steinbrenner expected the Yankees to win every year. Any thing less was not acceptable. We see the mistakes of getting expensive players who contributed very little to the Yankees and were gone the next year. The core Yankees got older and older and the pitching farm system stunk. Upper management spend millions and millions on throw away bad pitchers. The Yankees did have a few great pitchers and a great closer but they were getting older and less reliable.

Also we see the TV revenue distributed to all the ball clubs helping to partially level the spending field. Also Cleveland who did not have big money to compete with the Yankees developed intelligence software technology to have all baseball players stats available to them. This way they could go after a hidden gem that Yankee scouts knew nothing about.We see the Yankees throwing away millions of dollars on players that did not work out rather than using information gathering technology. Also teams like the Indians would sign 15 Latin country players for a tiny $10,000 bonus a piece. Even if one of them developed into a good player they were well ahead.

INMO the woes of the Yankees after Torres three WSW wins were a large part due to upper managements style of finding players...using the old system of throwing money around vs the newer system of info technology to find hidden gem players. Plus the expensive players getting older and less reliable did not help.

We see Joe getting his forth WS win but the Yankees having problems. Steinbrenner is older and not doing well physically and mentally. He delegates a team of "the voices" to run the Yankees as he is only a shell of his former self. After his contract is over, Joe asks "the voices" and Steinbrenner "Do you want me to manage next year."Joe tells GM Cashman his plan for a two year contract with major give backs in the second year if he doesn't do well. Cashman is supposed to present this to "the voices". He does not and stabs Torre in the back. Joe says no to a one year $5 Million contract as he did not want to be under the micro managing thumb of "the voices" and a lame duck one term manager who would be threatened to be fired all the time.

Joe leaves the Yankees thanking George for the opportunity to manage the Yankees and all the good years he had.

The book had kind of a sad ending with Torre being stabbed in the back by unsupportive GM Cashman and the unappreciative "the voices". A good book, learning about the Yankees in the Torre years through Joe Torre's eyes. 4 stars
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on January 25, 2012
Books can e written on baseball at many different levels, from a listing of the rules and explaining each one to the philosophy behind the game and how it came to be called "America's Game." The book by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci falls closely behind "The Philosophy o Baseball", it is not a review of Torre, his wins and losses nor is it really a study of his philosophy on managing a ball club; it is more a study of clubhouse politics and beliefs and the personalities involved. Torre must have talked to Verducci and given him many insights into the players and their foibles and abilities but he must also have done the same for some of the managers and in particular for the major owner, George Steinbrenner. Torre lived and managed the Yankees through three major turning points of what baseball meant and to whom it was given to be great enough for them to affect baseball. These turning points were the influence of drugs, particularly the anabolic steroids, but so many players it would take many pages to list them all. McGuire's and Sosa's challenging run to determine who would hit the greatest number of home runs in a season fascinated so many fans the club owners turned a deaf ear to the hints of steroid use and abuse as they watched the fans money roll in.
The second turning point came with the Red Sox and their study of the statistics for the players, getting away from the reliance on scouting reports and batting averages, or, for pitchers, on earned run average, instead of pitches tossed per game. The third change was the emphasis by the players themselves on their statistic, how this should affect their pay and how high this pay shpuld go depending on these same statistics.This third turning point destroyed the Yankees since their greatness was founded on club unity; if the first man could not do what was needed the next man would step up and take his place. Torre was not a good enough manager to maintain this philosophy among his players, he inherited a club a club forged in this manner but as the older players succumbed to age and retirement the new players coming in were slaves to their belief in their statistics and could not be weaned from the one system to the older and better one, nor was Torre equipped to manage correctly under the new one developing. In the book Torre always spoke of trust between management and the players, methinks he did protest too much and it is only his word about trust, no one to verify it, that exists. He did speak of many players he managed but I failed to see where he showed too much trust in any of them. But the book was interesting anyhow, and George Steinbrenner was well defined. He supposedly trusted Brian Cashman but was devastated when Cashman kept his mouth closed when Torre was let go.Where was the trust? Did it exist with anyone?
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on April 11, 2014
During the late 1980's Joe Torre did the 'color' on Angel telecasts with the late play-by-play man Bob Starr. I gained an appreciation for Joe Torre's insight and honesty. He is a real human being. Or more to the point what a real human should be like.
And like Pete Carroll at USC, Joe Torre got a torrent of criticism when he was employed by the Dynasty.
He was "a loser" the critics said. I read the mean spirited critical remarks. They did not jive with the man on those years of airtime.
I learned to trust my insights.
I could not put this book down. Tom Verducci's narration gives the right perspective and objectivity against Torre's real time thinking.
It brought back pleasant summer evenings with Joe at ease with Bob Starr. There is a thinking man here at work.
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on September 24, 2012
How can you describe what it takes to make the playoffs for 12 straight years, yet experience a gradual regression to the mean in terms of world championships? How do you handle the expectations that such success brings about while continuing to draw out the best effort from the group you have that particular year? This stunning book captures all of that, while showing how it all happened as baseball itself was changing radically to a mutual fund manager's view of risk-reward in the wake of a disgraceful scandal involving performance enhancing drugs. One could argue until the cows come home if Torre was ultimately fired because he had become an exhausted anachronism of a different time or because the Yankee hierarchy was so dysfunctional it would rather blame someone rather than acknowledge its own shortcomings. Verducci and Torre obviously make the case for the latter, but the reader should make up his/her own mind. In any case, the year to year challenges are aptly captured, and if nothing else, portray a manager who survived longer than anyone under Steinbrenner largely because of his unshakeable demeanor, his tactful honesty, and his down-to-earth common sense.
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on August 6, 2009
After completing reading The Yankee Years (Kindle Edition), I have to say I was left disappointed. While there are several interesting, fun, or insightful anecdotes about the Yankees organization, the majority of the book is spoiled by an endless stream of statistics, constant reiteration, and overall, juvenile writing.

I picked up this book to read the behind-the-scenes stories and going-ons of the Yankee organization. Instead, I got a fairly reiterative summary of the post-seasons under Joe Torre. Though there were some stories about things going on in the club house, or the front office, much of the book read as post-game summaries.

Overall, I'd say I was disappointed by the book. Frankly, I felt that little, if any, of the book was actually written by Torre; instead he seems to have merely contributed a good portion of the quotes in the book. For those of us who remember "The Yankee Years" under Torre, there is only a handful of interesting additions and insight in this book that we didn't experience first hand, while watching the games. And for those little gems of story telling, that you wouldn't get unless you were in the clubhouse, I wouldn't say it is worth slogging through awkward sentence structure, repetitive statistics, and bland writing in the rest of the book to get to them.

I'd skip this one.
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