The Franchise: New York Yankees:
A Curated History of the Bronx Bombers”
The publishing info:
Released July 12, 2022
The publishers website
At Skylight Books
At Diesel Books
“The Franchise: Boston Red Sox:
A Curated History of the Sox”
The publishing info:
Released July 12, 2022
The publishers website
At Skylight Books
At Diesel Books
The reviews in 90 feet or less
In a 2015 piece for Forbes.com, writer Steven Rosenbaum invites distressed readers to “embrace your Curated Life,” calling it a conscious shift from being controlled by “the speed of social connectedness to being in control.”
The suggested plan of attack:
1. Take a personal “rhythm” inventory: Introvert or extrovert? Morning person or night owl? Multi-tasker or “fierce focus”?
2. Right Size your tools to your life. Delete two thirds of your phone aps. Anything that causes distractions.
3. Filter your friends. Don’t unfriend, just dial them back.
4. Get offline – and explore Real World Experiences.
5. Realize you are what you Tweet and Eat.
The sideways look we have at this moment: If we had been offline, we’d likely never have discovered this story. Google the reference: Sword; double-edged.
“We’re living in a time of digital abundance, which is wonderful. It promises to give us a new way to explore, connect, share, and learn. But it needs to be harnessed to make your life better, otherwise it threatens to turn is into hamsters in a wheel of information. So, embrace The Curated Life, and share with me the tools and techniques you’ve found that give you the ability to engage meaningfully in the world around you. I’d like to hear what works for you.”
Hand me the talking stick.
Our tools for occasional survival in a rough-and-tumble world first often us to silencing the phone, TV and desktop module, going through the stacks of books we’ve collected over the years, grabbing one for the moment, find a shaded spot outside or a spot on the nearby beachfront, a few hours of solitude, and simply disappearing.
During that recent process, the exercise pointing us toward the best way to a curated world of Yankees and Red Sox history was met with some resistance.
If the thought was it might make our lives better, worse or indifferent, the reality is it didn’t bring any more pleasure, disdain or lack of interest, but at least we added to our understanding. But really, our thought the whole time was wondering if that hamster does, at the end of the day, find some joy and fulfillment on an apparatus we have come to represent despair and being stuck.
The MLB master schedule calls for another three-game series between these two titans in Boston this weekend — first on the MLB Network, then over to, the Fox Network on Saturday, then capping it off with the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Fun Bunch, where Alex Rodriguez gets to hang out with Derek Jeter and cross promote all they can on the ESPN2 feed.
These are not the dates on the schedule where the Red Sox’s Marketing Department has to beg ticket-buyers with a Nathan Evaldi “Light Up” Gnome, a Xander Bogaerts Arm Sleeve or a Pedro Martinez Funko POP! promotion (those are actual giveaways that have or will take place this month and next at Fenway Park).
We don’t quite have BST-NYY Rival Fatigue. But we do honor history. The media tells us, for good reason, the Yankees-Red Sox will remain a very important and compelling part of this season, as they were in the beginning, are now and forever shall be. Amen.
Next year, there’s a step back to where a new CBA rule makes the MLB calender tilt to make sure every team plays every team at some point — a “balanced schedule,” with more inter-league contests. That means teams play five fewer games against division opponents, and that space goes to playing at least one series against every team in the other league. Teams will also continue to play their “rival” inter-league team four times, twice at each ballpark.
Does that mean, instead of 19 Red Sox-Yankees meetings, it’ll shrink to … gasp … only 14?
Curate on that for a moment.
To curate — as something most often associated with someone working at a museum, art gallery or BBQ joint — means to thoughtfully and purposefully gather, filter and discern a collection of pictures, music, art, etc., to be viewed and examined.
What Triumph Books has started here is a deep-fried method to find another way to sell another box of Cracker Jacks — present an historical summation in a tight and breezy format, picking an author – curator — who has some sort of tie/experience to the franchise, and maybe summarize it without the aid of photos, hyperlinks or other forms of distraction.
This would be a challenge even to the likes of John Updike, David Halberstam or Larry “Bud” Mellman.
This may not be creating new material or perspectives or Google-searched aggregation. But it is a smart repackaging technique that, when one is trying to decompress from information overload, someone with some knowledge, dedication and background can do all that heavy off-lifting for you. And your Curated Life becomes more attainable.
The two tasked here with making these come to life have some juice, but name recognition is regional, as one may expect. But there has to be a trust in who’s throwing this shindig, and digging the reader out of some misery that loves company.
Sean McAdam, on the Red Soxs’ book, is a beat writer and columnist for BostonSportsJournal.com, and covered the team for the Providence Journal, Boston Herald and Comcast SportsNet New England. He has time to promote this on the team’s radio home. He also did a book, “Boston: America’s Best Sports Town” in 2018 for Press Box Books with many swell ratings by readers on Amazon. Current posts on Amazon about this book are lukewarm.
He writes in the intro that his indoctrination to the team was as an 8 year old during the 1967 Impossible Dream season, going to Fenway Park the day after Tony Conigliaro’s beaning and watching the home team outlast the California Angels, 12-11.
“I’ve covered them for 33 years … and counting,” he writes, “or most of my ‘adult’ life. As a fan first and later as a reporter, I’ve seen the Red Sox be everything but bad to great … They’ve been both confounding and compelling, but seldom have they been uninteresting.”
His breakdown of the Red Sox history goes: Three chapters about their history (Fenway Park, the Yawkey Era and the Henry Era), the media (bios on broadcasters Ned Martin and Jerry Remy and scribe Peter Gammons), the rivalry with the Yankees (three chapters), the Icons (Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz), the Aces (Roger Clemens, Pedro Guerrero), seasons that “just missed” (1967, 1975 and 1986), the “Golden Age” (chapters on 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2018) and other “transformative figures” (Dick O’Connell, Theo Epstein and Terry Francona).
To be Fenway frank, it’s nice, swift and clean. Very digestible. No heart burn.
Mark Feinsand, who has 16 years covering the team for MLB.com and the New York Daily News, then went back to MLB for other assignments, is charged with the Yankee history. He also wrote “The New York Yankees Fans’ Bucket List” in 2007 for Triumph Books and “Mission 27: A New Boss, A New Ballpark and One Last Ring for the Yankees’ Core Four” in 2019, both for Triumph. Is a known commodity for the publisher.
Feinsand’s reader reviews on Amazon.com for “The Franchise” are generally positive, without much commentary on why.
Feinsand has no introduction for his book before tackling chapters on “The Architects” (seven chapters on team ownership), “The Legends” (lumping Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle into a “Mount Rushmore” chapter, then more on Yogi Berra), the “Core Four,” (including Mariano Riviera), “The Captains” (Gehrig, Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter), “The Game-Winners” (famous moments), “The Acquisitions” (Roger Maris, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Paul O’Neill, Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui), and “The Rivalries” (against the Red Sox Royals, Orioles, Mets and Rays — but not the Dodgers and all those World Series?
Forwards seem to be as important to impress the audience, as well as hopefully give this credence. Joe Torre does the Yankees’ version, and we’re assuming David Ortiz’s forward for the Red Sox version was constructed with help by those who did his recent Hall of Fame induction speech. It got the job done.
As for photos? None.
Just words. Lots of ’em. And generic-type covers as well. It’s a reader, not a look-and-see experience.
Maybe the objective here is that we should just lock these two books in a room and let them duke it out, page by page. The Yankees’ come with far more artillery and a puffed-out chest, but the Red Sox remain scrappy adversaries. Think Paul Revere-type reverence to a Donald Trump world of Wall Street sweepers.
The crossover is to see how each writes about the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry from their own vantage points. Feinsand covers it in seven pages and seems fine just moving on. McAdam has an entire section devoted to it, with three chapters encompassing pages 79 to 109.
Read into that as you may, Rudy May.
Feinsand goes soft and doesn’t get around to until Part 6, and then gets to the agreed-upon point where things first really got nasty — June 21, 1967 in the Bronx. Yankees pitcher Thad Tillotson, who only appeared in 50 games over his two-year MLB career, hit Red Sox third baseman Joe Foy in the head; Red Sox ace Jim Lonborg retaliated in the bottom of the inning, hitting Tillotson in the back of the shoulder.
McAdam, who plants The Rivalry in Part 3 and dedicated three chapters alone to games against the Yankees, adds to that 1967 game narrative that somehow Sox shortstop Rico Petrocelli and Yankees first baseman Joe Pepitone – from the same New York neighborhood but having attended rival high schools – were the principals. And before long, both dugouts and bullpens emptied and “among the dozen or so cops coming into the field to restore order was Petrocelli’s brothers.”
It wasn’t until the Yankees had Thurman Munson in 1970 and the Red Sox had Carlton Fisk starting in ’71 that, “from that point, the rivalry was real,” writes Feinsand. Both focus on the Aug. 1, 1973 game when Munson barreled into Fisk trying to score on a botched suicide squeeze attempt.
“The two men exchanged blows as a full-scale brawl ensued – a sight that would be commonplace whenever the Yankees and Red Sox met throughout the rest of the decade,” wrote Feinsand.
Adds McAdams: “Gene Michael, the batter at the time (who missed the bunt), joined in. Bill Lee, who fancied himself as an iconoclast, joked to Sports Illustrated that watching Michael and Munson was like watching ‘two hookers fighting on 45th Street.’”
Whatever that might look like …
How it goes in the scorebook
A deep-enough sac fly scores two. But who wins to move up in the standings?
The purpose here again is to launch a series, and for some, have it look nice as it sits on the home office shelf.
And if writing this review, more fans of the Red Sox and Yankees click on it, all the better for the world’s economy.
But at a time when it’s more difficult for entice a younger generation of readers to seek out, explore and actually buy a book on a preferred topic, and publishers are juggling price points, page count and how to tap more into nostalgia, this seems more to fill a need of when someone realizes: “Hey, it’s dad’s (special day) coming up, and he likes baseball, and he loves (this team) … Let’s buy this for him.”
Will it succeed? The fanatics of those teams will have to decide if the writing and research carries out the mission. Because visually, it’s not going to win over younger fans. Back in the day, we would call these “(Fill In The Team Name) Reader” and fill it with essays by somewhat famous scribes.
Another way to understand the process is skim how both books are described in the blurs on Amazon (see if you can find a common thread):
Book A: “In The Franchise: Boston Red Sox, take a more profound and unique journey into the history of the team. This thoughtful and engaging collection of essays captures the astute fans’ history of the franchise, going beyond well-worn narratives of yesteryear to uncover the less-discussed moments, decisions, people, and settings that fostered the team’s iconic identity. Through wheeling and dealing, mythmaking and community building, explore where the organization has been, how it got to prominence in the modern major league landscape, and how it’ll continue to evolve and stay in contention for generations to come. Red Sox fans in the know will enjoy this personal, local, in-depth look at baseball history.”
Book B: “In The Franchise: New York Yankees, take a more profound and unique journey into the history of the baseball’s most successful team. This thoughtful and engaging collection of essays captures the astute fans’ history of the franchise, going beyond well-worn narratives of yesteryear to uncover the less-discussed moments, decisions, people, and settings that fostered the Yankees’ iconic identity. Through wheeling and dealing, mythmaking and community building, explore where the organization has been, how it got to prominence in the modern major league landscape, and how it’ll continue to evolve and stay in contention for generations to come. Yankees fans in the know will enjoy this personal, local, in-depth look at baseball history.”
The bookjackets are almost exactly the same as well. They then use the backside for celebrity-driven blurbs to endorse the content, whether or not they actually read it.
The formula isn’t that much different than any other attempts at repackaging history, but with a focus more on the top franchises (with the most likely of book buyers), it’s a noble effort.
And maybe there are more to come on the Cardinals, Cubs, Mets, Giants, Tigers, Pirates … Dodgers and Angels?
What about the Dodgers “Franchise” in the works?
Our Dodgers history lessons over the years have tended to be bigger and bulky, and include:
== “The Dodgers: From Coast to Coast — The Official Visual History of the Dodgers” (2012, SkyBox Press/Abrams Books, $40, 256 pages), copyrights owned by the team, created by the team’s director of publications Jorge L. Martin, team historian Mark Langill and editorial assistant Cary Osborne. Forward by Tommy Lasorda and introduction by Vin Scully. We contributed a chapter on the Dodgers’ legendary infield of Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey.
== “The Dodgers Encyclopedia” by William F. McNeal (2012, Sports Publishing, $25, 544 pages).
== “The Dodgers: 120 Years of Baseball” by Glenn Stout (2004, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $45, 446 pages).
== “True Blue: The Dramatic History of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Told by the Men Who Lived It,” by Steve Delsohn (2002, Harper Perennial, $14.99, 320 pages).
To Triumph’s point, all of these are either oversized, outdated, or perhaps both. But the size matters — it includes more compelling real estate for photos, documents, charts, etc.
Triumph has an updated versions of Jon Weisman’s very readable and enjoyable “100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” (2021, $16.95, 368 pages), so it already has a possible go-to author and a stash of history it could repurpose. See how we acknowledged it as we reviewed it recently in a Day 26 wrapup of Dodgers-related books over the last couple of years.
One of them is this current compilation that seems to fit into this “Franchise” theme: “Dodgers! An Informal History from Flatbush to Chavez Ravine,” by Jim Alexander (McFarland, $49.95, 412 pages, released July 15). Alexander has the chops and compass to make this work, having been on the Dodgers’ beat for a dozen years and, as the main columnist now for the Southern California News Group (Orange County Register, L.A. Daily News, Riverside Press-Enterprise, etc.), he still writes about them frequently, as they are often newsworthy and need some context. Starting his coverage in 1978, he was around some of the most notable scribes in L.A. Growing up, he was a fan of Duke Snider, Alexander writes that a majority of the book comes from his reporting, columns and stories, with other sources duly noted (including on page 104, an interview we did with Tommy Lasorda that extracted some of his thoughts about using profanity.) It is also not a strict chronological narrative, starting with Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series Game 1 homer and closing with that 2020 World Series run. The price may cause one to flinch, but the work speaks for itself — a friendly, well-composed and trusted piece of curated history worthy of its own place on the shelf among the Dodgers’ history books of yore.
You can look it up: More to ponder
== Guessing as to more directions this series is going …
== What do you think of this 2006 book’s idea: “Babylon By Bus: Or The True Story Of Two friends who gave up their valuable franchise selling “Yankees Suck” T-shirts at Fenway to find meaning & adventure in Iraq” by Ray Lemoine.
Take this theme on another learning curveball
Who might be considered “The Franchise” player of each MLB team in its entire?
In other words, who was it’s greatest asset.
On MLB.com, one author has deemed Babe Ruth fitting the bill for the Yankees and Ted Williams for the Red Sox.
So what if Ruth had stuck around in Beantown?
For the Los Angeles contingency:
DODGERS: Sandy Koufax
Can you decide between Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax? The greatest of the greats extend their on-field dominance and define the legacy of their franchise. Both Robinson and Koufax did for the Dodgers. Both are revered for their impact on the sport, but Jackie was a social icon and Sandy was a model for his franchise’s pitching heritage. Robinson excelled despite the incomprehensible burden of breaking down racial barriers. Koufax compiled unapproachable statistics that obscured the toughness and unselfishness necessary to pitch in constant pain. In a photo finish, it’s Koufax.
Our response: Who had a statue built in their honor first and placed outside Dodger Stadium first?
ANGELS: Mike Trout
Trout is already the club’s best player ever and its all-time leader in WAR by a sizable margin. The three-time AL MVP and eight-time All-Star has racked up 76.1 WAR, which is over 20 WAR more than the next-highest Angels position player or pitcher, according to Baseball Reference. Left-hander Chuck Finley is second with 51.8 WAR, while the second-highest position player is Jim Fregosi with 46 WAR. Trout could end up with more total WAR with the Angels than Fregosi and Finley combined.
Our response: When Trout’s No. 27 is retired, will it represent him, or Vladimir Guerrero, already in the Baseball Hall of Fame wearing an Angels’ cap, based on his six seasons with the franchise?
== Going into the 2022 season, who would be considered “The Franchise” (most important) player on each MLB current roster?
This post on Bleacher Report decides it is Gerrit Cole for the Yankees and Rafael Devers for the Red Sox. Not Aaron Judge or Xander Bogaerts? The argument is that one can become a free agent and the other can opt out of his contract at the end of 2022. So why is that a tipping point?
Again, for the L.A. contingency:
DODGERS: Mookie Betts
There’s no shortage of stars in Los Angeles, but there’s only one who’s signed all the way through 2032. Courtesy of a bothersome right hip, Betts had his ups and downs in 2021. Yet, he still made his fifth All-Star team and tacked on a strong postseason performance. Health permitting, the 29-year-old should have a few more years left as one of the best—if not the best—players in all of baseball.
Our response: Maybe if Clayton Kershaw arrived in a trade from Boston, he’d be more appreciated.
ANGELS: Mike Trout
This is the one that made us say, “Oof.” But we ultimately sided with Trout over fellow MVP Shohei Ohtani for two reasons. For one, Trout has three MVPs to Ohtani’s one. For two, Ohtani is slated for free agency after 2023, while Trout’s contract runs through 2030. As he’s now 30 years old with just 477 games to his name over the past five seasons, the only question is how Trout will hold up physically.
Our response: Look up the definition of “costovertebral dysfunction.”
== A “franchise” player would also seem to be one who spent his entire time with a franchise, right? It helps.
Here is an ongoing list of every major league player who spent their entire career (at least 10 seasons) with one franchise (and as of May 2022, 185 players have completed the feat).
The breakout of who has done it for the Red Sox and Yankees (while we’re still on this subject):
Red Sox: Carl Yastrzemski (23), Ted Williams (19), Jim Rice (16), Jason Varitek (15), Bobby Doerr (14), Dustin Pedroia (14), Rico Petrocelli (13), Bob Stanley (13), Mike Greenwell (12), Bob Montgomery (10), Mel Parnell (10), Bill Carrigan (10, Boston Americans/Red Sox, 1906, ’08-’16).
Yankees: Derek Jeter (20), Mariano Rivera (19), Mickey Mantle (18), Lou Gehrig (17), Jorge Posada (17), Frank Crosetti (17), Bill Dickey (17), Whitey Ford (16), Bernie Williams (16), Roy White (15), Don Mattingly (14), Ron Guidry (14), Joe DiMaggio (13), Phil Rizzuto (13), Earl Combs (12), Bobby Richardson (12), Thurman Munson (11), Tommy Henrich (11), Mel Stottlemyer (11), Spud Chander (11), Arndt Jorgens (11), Joe Collins (10), Jake Gibbs (10), Gil McDougald (10), Red Rolfe (10).
For comparison sake:
Dodgers: Bill Russell (18), Pee Wee Reese (16), Carl Furillo (15), Jim Gilliam (14), Don Drysdale (14), Mike Scioscia (13), Otto Miller (13, Brooklyn Superbas and Robins, 1910-to-’22), Sandy Koufax (12), Carl Erskine (12), Andre Ethier (12), Jackie Robinson (10), Roy Campanella (10) and Nap Rucker (10, Brooklyn Superbas and Robins, 1907-16).
The list also notes: While Campanella and Robinson each only played for a single team within Major League Baseball (hence their inclusion in the list), each also played for other teams now considered major-league within Negro League Baseball.
Campanella had eight seasons with the Washington Elite Giants, Baltimore Elite Giants and one game with the Philadelphia Stars (from age 15 to 23, covering 1937 to ’45, before he joined Brooklyn at age 26 in 1948, increasing his lifetime average from .278 to .283 with 17 more homers and 159 more RBIs) and would have joined the team in L.A. had not it been for his car accident in January, 1958.
Robinson was with the Kansas City Monarchs one season (34 games, in 1945 at age 26, enough to bumps his previous all-Dodgers’ .311 lifetime average to .313).
Also keep in mind:
*Gil Hodges would have tied (and passed) Reese, having spent his first 16 seasons with the Dodgers, but his final two were with the New York Mets in ’62 and (barely) in ’63.
*Duke Snider would have done the same — 16 years with the Dodgers, then one back with the New York Mets (as their ’63 All Star rep) and one odd final season as a San Francisco Giant at age 37 (where one of his four homers that season was against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Saturday afternoon, May 2, 1964, a two-run shot in the top of the ninth with Willie McCovey aboard off Joe Moeller that tied the game 4-4 and sent it into extra innings).
*Steve Garvey had 14 straight to start his career (then five in San Diego, from ’83-to-’87, long enough to get his number retired).
*Eric Karros had 12 straight years with the Dodgers to start his career (and become the all-time L.A. Dodgers home run leader) before going to the Chicago Cubs and Oakland in ’03 and ’04.
*Mike Piazza logged 16 years in the big leagues, and more came with the New York Mets (eight) than with the Dodgers (seven), plus Florida, San Diego and Oakland). Had he stayed the whole time, he could have matched Reese, as could have Karros.
But Garvey could have topped them all.
(Note: Clayton Kershaw is currently in his 15th season with the franchise. Austin Barnes is in his eighth straight year.)
Angels: Tim Salmon (14), Gary DiSarcina (12) and Scot Shields (10).
(Note: Mike Trout is currently in his 12th straight season with the franchise.)
== There are more than a couple dozen players who’ve played for both the Yankees and Red Sox. This MLB.com story only touches on some of the bigger names.
We think we’ve found nine players who suited up for at least four years on both sides during their career.
They would be alphabetically:
= Wade Boggs: Boston from 1982-92 (11 years), New York from 1993-97 (five years).
= Roger Clemens: Boston from 1984-1996 (13 years), New York from 1999-2003, and 2007 (six years).
= Johnny Damon: Boston from 2002 to 2005 (four years), New York from 2006-2009 (four years).
= Jacoby Ellsbury: Boston from 2007 to 2012 (seven years), New York from 2014 to 2017 (four years).
= Sparky Lyle: Boston from 1967 to 1971 (five years), New York from 1972 to 1978 (seven years).
= Herb Pennock: Boston from 1915-1922 and 1934 (eight years), New York from 1923 to 1933 (11 years)
= Red Ruffing: Boston from 1924 to 1930 (seven years), New York from 1930 to 1946 (15 years). And …
= Babe Ruth: Boston from 1914 to 1919 (six years), New York from 1920 to 1934 (15 years).
= There is one more, who falls in here alphabetically with the rest. But we left the name off because he is solid piece of trivia not easy to come up with unless you’ve got a sense of the game from the early ’90s through 2000:
The answer is among the replies. Our hint: In his 15-year MLB career, with 187 career homers, 73 came for Boston (chopped up between ’96-2000) and 72 of them came for the Yankees (1992-95, with his only career All-Star appearance in that last season, and he then came back in ’97).