Not that anyone needs an excuse, but the Yankees winning another world championship is fodder for the book mill. There are no less than five publications in the sports magazine section of my local Barnes and Noble hoping to capitalize on the afterglow. They’re pretty much the same: stories about all of the post-season games with lots of pictures, perhaps a few more in-depth pieces.
But given a little more time, expect to see full-length books on the subject. The first to come across my desk is Summers in the Bronx: Attila the Hun and Other Yankee Stories, by Ira Berkow (Triumph)
Summers — mostly individual profiles of players and other Yankees personnel — is a collection of columns from Berkow’s days as a sportswriter for The New York Times and other publications. One that naturally caught my attention is an item on Ron Blomberg early in his career. Having just spent some time with “the Designated Hebrew” at Fantasy Camp, it was amazing to see that he hasn’t changed at all in almost 40 years: he’s just as open and enthusiastic now as he was at his first spring training.
Pretty much any Yankee who ever made an impact during Berkow’s tenure is here, divided by relative position: batters, pitchers, managers, and a handful of opponents (including Sandy Koufax), as well as an homage to The Boss, aka Steinbrenner (including a piece on his portrayal as George Costanza’s boss on Seinfeld). It’s a breezy, nostalgic experience that will no doubt lead to other memories the reader might have of his favorite Yankee moments.
Berkow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2001, was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year.
(By the way, the Attila the Hun bit refers to Steinbrenner’s style of management.)