The Yankee Years Hardcover – Feb 3 2009
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“One of the best books about baseball ever written.”—New York Daily News
"An insightful and non-hagiographic look at a legendary manager and team during one of baseball's most transformational eras."--Boston Globe
"The consummate insider's view of what may be the last great dynasty in baseball history."--Los Angeles Times
"An appealing portrait of a likable, hard-working man. One closes the book with a high regard for Mr. Torre, not least as a manager."--Wall Street Journal
"A lively chronicle. . . . What this book does . . . very persuasively is chart the rise and fall of one of baseball's great dynasties, while showing the care and feeding it took to bring the city of New York four championships in five years." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"A capacious fresh account of [Torre’s] great run in the Bronx.... Verducci has range and ease; he's a shortstop on the page." —The New Yorker
"Compelling. . . . A hybrid of insider reporting [and] autobiography." —The Christian Science Monitor
“Fascinating reading.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[Filled with] many insights, some about human nature, many about the great American game.” —Bloomberg News
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Joe Torre played for the Braves, the Cardinals, and the Mets before managing all three teams. From 1996 to 2007, Torre managed the New York Yankees. He is currently the manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Joe Torre's name comes before Tom Verducci's and there is no doubt as to which of them has the greater cachet (I was always suprised that he was not the first manager that McFarlane Toys put out as an action figure in their quest to have at least one Yankee in each and every series). But "The Yankee Years" is much more Verducci's book; he is the one telling the story and making the arguments, with Torre providing period commentary.Read more ›
The question of trust between Torre and his players, between Torre and management is central to the book, so central in fact it's like a song played over and over again.
Spend your money on some other baseball book.
I admire Joe Torre and as a life-long Dodger fan was thrilled when he came to Chavez Ravine to manage. I wasn't surprised when the Dodgers made the playoffs. It's a big loss for the Yankees, but the miracle is that Torre was willing to put up with the Yankee ownership and leadership so long.
I also live in Boston and usually don't miss a pitch of any Red Sox-Yankee games. I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Yankee Years explores the underlying reasons why the rivalry went from being one that the Yankees comfortably dominated to one that has more recently favored the Red Sox. Just to give you a sense of how seriously people in Boston take the rivalry, I was stopped several times as I walked down the street carrying this book by people belligerently asking me if I was a Yankee fan.
Although the Yankees are the subject here, the book spends a lot of time on the newer ways of picking free agents, the effects of the luxury tax and subsidy to the small-market teams, better ways to develop players, steroids and HGH, and other general baseball subjects. For someone who isn't a Yankee fan, this made the book more interesting. If you are Yankee fan, you probably won't think it's all so great since much of it points out weaknesses in the Yankees.
Although I don't read the New York baseball reports columns, I was surprised to see that the book contained very little information about the Yankees that wasn't covered in Boston.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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 .
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.
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.
On the other hand, this is perhaps one of the most poorly organized and written books I have ever read. Stories are told and retold at various points throughout the book. The repetition adds nothing to the story and only introduces confusion and lack of clarity to the presentation of the issues raised. It also makes the book incredibly tedious to read.
One other tiring aspect of the book is the effusive and fawning praise for various players littered throughout the chapters again and again and again. It would be one thing if the praise were spread out over many players, but it is not. Instead, it is limited to a small number of players and the praise is extolled repetitively throughout the book. Derek Jeter, in particular, is the subject of seemingly uninterrupted idol worship. (This is true for other players as well, but to a much lesser and far less objectionable extent.) Although I am of the opinion that Jeter is a great overall player and a certain first ballot Hall of Famer whom I would love to have playing for my favorite team - and I say this despite being aware of sabermetric analyses that consistently reveal Jeter to be amongst the worst fielding shortstops in baseball, both presently and all-time - the idol worship is over the top.
(Full disclosure: I was born in Boston and am a diehard Red Sox fan who, having spent half of my life in Greater Philadelphia, also roots for the Phillies.)
I don't believe this book was written by Joe Torre, but rather solely by Tom Verducci (based on extensive interviews with Torre), because of the fact it is told from the third person perspective with lots of quotes. (If Joe Torre wrote it, why does he write as if he is someone else and liberally quote himself?) And if this is how Verducci writes - with such shameful disjointedness, repetitiveness, and lack of organization to his topics - I truly don't understand how he could possibly be employed as a professional writer. Any freshman journalism student at a respectable university writes with better organization and clarity than is evident in this book. I am sorry, I simply cannot get past how pitifully poorly this book is written.
Joe Torre's name comes before Tom Verducci's and there is no doubt as to which of them has the greater cachet (I was always suprised that he was not the first manager that McFarlane Toys put out as an action figure in their quest to have at least one Yankee in each and every series). But "The Yankee Years" is much more Verducci's book; he is the one telling the story and making the arguments, with Torre providing period commentary. There is a sense in which the book reads like a documentary, and you can imagine the clips of Torre or any of the players and other baseball people quoted running. In fact, there are portions of the book in which Torre's voice disappears, and that brings into focus the other supporting voices in the story. Representing the "Before" and "After" perspectives are Yankees pitchers David Cone and Mike Mussina, with the attendant irony being that unlike the old Charles Atlas ads, the "Before" period for the Yankeees is the better one where they were winning four championship in five years.
As the years go by and Scott Brosius, Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez and Bernie Williams are repalced by Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, and Johnny Damon the reader is repeatedly reminded that these new players have not produced titles like their predecessors (I would be willing to bet that Brosius, O'Neill and Martinez are mentioned more often in the book after they had retired or left the Yankees than when they played for Torre, and with each mention they take another step towards being on the fabled plateau of Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio). It is not privileged as such, but for me the decision not to resign Andy Pettite is the line of demarcation and it has been all downhill for the Yankees since that point. That being said, despite Torre's refusal to blow his own horn when he speaks in his own voice in this book, Verducci makes an excellent case for Torre's Hall of Fame credentials as a manager, not just because of the seasons with the rings, but with the results he got with teams that should not have made the playoffs. For Steinbrenner and Yankees fans a year without a World Series title is an empty cup even if it is otherwise filled almost to the brim. This is presented as the stark reality of the New York Yankees, and although there is an obvious impulse to think it is not fair, I am reminder that in life nobody promises fair and then you die.
The villain in the piece ends up being Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, in part because George Steinbrenner's deteriorating health becomes an abrogation of the Boss's power. A strong undercurrent of the book is Verducci's indictment of Cashman as the GM, specifically in comparison to a couple of his counterparts, Oakland's Billy Beane and Boston's Theo Epstein. "The Yankees Years" certainly chronicles all of the bad moves Torre has made on the field, but on balance the good moves certainly outweigh. However, by the end you are hard pressed to use up all of the fingers on one hand trying to count the good moves Cashman made as GM, especially given the growing litany of overpriced broken down pitchers the Yankees have signed this century. In a lesser battle, now rendered irrelevant because of his admitting using steroids, A-Rod is seen as not even playing the same ballpark as Derek Jeter, and if there is a new indication of steroid use as a result of this book it is going to tar any player that demands his own trainer. It is unfortunate that Rodriguez's admission has become the unwritten coda to this book, but it should have been the final masterstroke of irony, namely that last season for the first time since before Torre took the helm, the Yankees did not make the playoffs, while Torre's new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, did make it to the postseason. Yankees fans might not want to admit it, but it makes for a better punchline.