Book Review: Yankee Miracles
- Updated: September 17, 2012
The New York Yankees are arguably the most successful and popular professional franchise, not just in Major League Baseball, but in all of sports.
In the new book, Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers, authors Ray Negron and Sally Cook regale readers with lesser-known stories from within the Yankees.
Negron has worked for the Yankees as community adviser for more than 40 years and
has thus had a chance to interact with many of the most-polarizing figures in Yankee history. He actually has a pretty amazing story himself when one learns where he started in the organization and where he is today.Negron is the right person to tell these stories because his story is so incredibly unique that it put him in situations that allowed him to forge relationships that no one else has. Negron did not start his career as a community advisor for the team. Far from it. In fact, he was about as low on the totem pole as one can get considering his career for the Bronx Bombers started as a batboy.
Not to say that batboys don’t go on to do great things. MC Hammer was a batboy with the Oakland Athletics before informing us that we couldn’t touch it. That being said, not many batboys stay within the same organization, become close with the owner and then rise through the ranks to a permanent position for decades.
One of the most astonishing parts of the book is the depiction of owner George Steinbrenner. Especially for those who only witnessed Steinbrenner at the end of his career, he seemed to gain a reputation of a somewhat crazy old man who, at times, got too involved with the team that he should have been letting baseball people manage. While there is some truth to that stereotype, what is also true as depicted in this work is that Steinbrenner was nothing more than an extremely passionate man who didn’t know why anyone would consider losing an acceptable option.
This depiction of Steinbrenner will likely put him in a new light for Yankee lovers and haters alike as it is easy to hate a man whose team beats yours all of the time. However, it’s hard not to respect someone who has many qualities that the majority of fans would want in their owner.
As the book describes, the Yankee brand really grew because of Steinbrenner and his personality. When one considers all of the high-profile players the Yankees had on the field and the even-higher-profile people they have in the stands night in and night out, it’s a wonder why the situation didn’t turn into a circus at times. The reason it didn’t, as pointed out throughout the book, is because of the cuture instilled in the team. That culture dictated that what mattered was winning, but not only that, what mattered really was winning the Yankee way.
Yankee Miracles will not make Yankee fans of people who aren’t already fans of the Bronx Bombers, but it will add perhaps some needed perspective to a team that is so often in the spotlight. Rarely has there been a look inside of the Yankees like the one provided by these two authors. After reading it, this reviewer wonders if Steinbrenner would have been alright with this type of book coming out if he was still alive. While some of the stories could be considered “miracles,” some may also be considered Yankee secrets.
This book is highly recommended for fans of the Yankees. If you don’t fall into that category, it is still an interesting read, but may irk your nerves (you Red Sox fans out there) or simply make you jealous (here’s to you, Cubs fans).
The book will open some eyes and, at times, make those same eyes role. But one thing is for sure, the reader will learn a thing or two.