Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review of "The Men Who Made the Yankees"

When asked by the author if I would be interested in reviewing this book, I was a little hesitant at first as I usually don't read about baseball teams in the early days of the game.  However, I decided to accept his offer and I was glad I did.  I enjoyed this quick read on the mostly humble beginnings of the franchise we know as the New York Yankees.  Here is my review of this book.

“The Men Who Made the Yankees: The Odyssey of the World’s Greatest Baseball Team From Baltimore to the Bronx” by W. Nikola-Lisa

Baseball, history, Yankees

July 2, 2014

144 pages

4 of 5 stars (very good)

The origin of the New York Yankees is a story that is not often told as it has very humble beginnings and the franchise was lacking stability in not only the ownership, but also retaining its best players and even its home ball park.  It wasn’t until Babe Ruth was bought in 1920 and Yankee Stadium was erected in 1923 did they become the iconic sports team they are known as today.  This book by W. Nikola-Lisa describes those early days of not only the franchise, but also tells of the origins of early professional baseball leagues as a backdrop to the beginning of the Yankee empire.

The writing is compact as Nikola-Lisa does not describe the origins of the leagues (National League, American League, American Association, and Federal League to name a few) in great detail.  However, there is enough information in the book that readers who may not be familiar with the early history of professional baseball will enjoy learning some new information.

There are a lot of people who are an integral part of the story, from the founder of the American League, Ban Johnson, to John McGraw to the various owners of the Yankees.  At times it was hard to keep all of these people straight but the book does a good job of describing the importance of each man as he relates to the franchise.  There are sidebar stories that are just as informative as the main book.  Of course, the longest dissection is that of Babe Ruth and how he came to the Yankees.  Most people know of the story of how he was sold so the Red Sox owner could bankroll a show.  Nikola-Lisa explains that there was a lot more to the transaction than that. 

I enjoyed reading this short but informative book.  Readers who are looking for a more thorough dissertation of the early history of the team should pass on this, but for those who were like me and just wanted to learn a little bit about that time in baseball history, this should be put on the list of books to be read.

I wish to thank Mr. Nikola-Lisa for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I skim?

Pace of the book: 
For a short book, it is actually a slow read as there was a lot of information and people with whom I was not familiar.  As a result, I slowed down from my usual reading pace in order to fully learn about the story.

Do I recommend? 
Baseball history buffs will enjoy this book, as will Yankee fans who want to learn a little more about the early history of the franchise.  It doesn’t dig too deep, but tells enough to give a good history lesson.

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