If you’ve read almost any of my book reviews (something I am way behind on given the pile of books on my nightstand waiting to be read), you know that the great folks at the University of Nebraska Press provide me with many of these tomes that while away the hours. One of the best series they do is the SABR series of biographies tied to specific teams.
The first year, they did the 1970 Orioles and the 1947 Dodgers. In 2013, they did two more teams. The first was the 1964 Cardinals, which was a treat. The second went back to New York in 1947, but this time focusing on a different one of the squads that called the Big Apple home.
Bridging Two Dynasties: The 1947 New York Yankees is an exceptional piece of work, exactly what you’ve come to expect if you’ve read the rest of this series. There were no significant expectations of the 1947 team, as it came after three straight years of the pinstripers being out of the World Series. While ’48 would also be an also-ran year, this club foreshadowed another strong run by the most decorated team in baseball history, as many of the players here participated in the next five teams, which all won the World Series.
As always, you get the rundown of everyone that put on the uniform that year. Whether it’s the names you know, like Joe DiMaggio or Yogi Berra, guys you don’t, like Ted Sepkowski or Aaron Robinson, or names you know from elsewhere, like announcers Russ Hodges (most famous for “The Giants Win The Pennant”) or Mel Allen (most famous to my generation for This Week In Baseball).
These aren’t necessarily glowing hagiographies. DiMaggio’s coldness and pride are touched upon, as well as the fact Allen was hard to work with. On the whole, though, these players, owners, and other related folks are present well and in the most favorable light.
There are also some side essays in here, which as seen before, can start to seem repetitive. For instance, the 1947 World Series, Bill Bevens, and Bill Bevens’s Almost World Series No-Hitter are three consecutive chapters close to the end of the book and, not surprisingly, all have some similar material in them. Other essays include looking at Allie Reynolds and Vic Rachi and the part they played in the dynasty to come as well as attendance at Yankee Stadium that season.
I also always enjoy the segments that list out every game played, with a short recap and where the team stood in the standings after that day. I still wish that they’d go back to the form used in the Orioles book and make the lead sentence of each paragraph the headline of the game story from the next day’s paper, but this recap method works as well.
If you are a Yankee fan, a fan of the glory years of baseball, or a fan of this series, Bridging Two Dynasties will serve your library well. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to start looking for room for the 2014 additions to this series!