Archive for May 2015

“Ruppert and Huggins were the principal figures in the transition of the Yankees from an afterthought on the New York baseball scene to the nation’s greatest sports dynasty of the twentieth century.”  -Marty Appel

From the team’s inception in 1903, the New York Yankees were a floundering group that played as second-class citizens to the New York Giants. With four winning seasons to date, the team was purchased in 1915 by Jacob Ruppert and his partner, Cap “Til” Huston. Three years later, when Ruppert hired Miller Huggins as manager, the unlikely partnership of the two figures began, one that set into motion the Yankees’ run as the dominant baseball franchise of the 1920s and the rest of the twentieth century, capturing six American League pennants with Huggins at the helm and four more during Ruppert’s lifetime.
The Yankees’ success was driven by Ruppert’s executive style and enduring financial commitment, combined with Huggins’s philosophy of continual improvement and personnel development. While Ruppert and Huggins had more than a little help from one of baseball’s greats, Babe Ruth, their close relationship has been overlooked in the Yankees’ rise to dominance. Though both were small of stature, the two men nonetheless became giants of the game with unassailable mutual trust and loyalty.
The Colonel and Hug tells the story of how these two men transformed the Yankees. It also tells the larger story about baseball primarily in the tumultuous period from 1918 to 1929 -- with the end of the Deadball Era and the rise of the Lively Ball Era, a gambling scandal, and the collapse of baseball’s governing structure -- and the significant role the Yankees played in it all.

On a Thursday evening in May, Steve Steinberg took us back in time.  Listen in to our Clubhouse conversation...

Steve Steinberg is a baseball historian and coauthor (with Lyle Spatz) of “1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York.”

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The Mayor of Cooperstown, an author, and a former options trader walked into a Clubhouse...

The never-before-told, behind-the-scenes story of the exciting and memorable 1981 baseball season.  The year of Fernando Valenzuela, Pete Rose, the last Yankees-Dodgers World Series -- and the mid-season players’ strike that cut the heart out of the American summer.

Sourcing extensive interviews with almost all of the major participants in the strike, Split Season 1981: Fernandomania, The Bronx Zoo, and The Strike That Saved Baseball returns us to the on- and off-field drama of an unforgettable baseball year.

On a spring evening, Jeff Katz -- the Mayor of Cooperstown, author, former options trader -- walked into the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse.  We had a star-studded, standing-room-only crowd.  Listen in to our Clubhouse conversation...

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“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” Billy Martin said.  He was in second grade.

Billy Martin is a story of contrasts. He was the “other” second baseman in New York in the 1950s, playing nearly every fall opposite Brooklyn’s Jackie Robinson. He spent sixteen seasons managing in the big leagues and is considered by anyone who knows the sport to have been a true baseball genius, a field manager without peer. Yet he’s remembered more for his habit of kicking dirt at umpires, for being hired and fired by George Steinbrenner five separate times, for his rabble-rousing and public brawls on the field and off. He was combative, fiery, intimidating, bombastic, and yet endearing and beloved by the everyday fan. He was hard on his players and even harder on himself.  But he knew how to turn around a losing team like no one else. And how to entertain us every step of the way.

Drawing on exhaustive interviews with friends, family, teammates, players, and countless adversaries -- and his own time covering Martin as a young sportswriter -- Bill Pennington paints an indelible portrait of a man who never backed down for the game he loved. From his upbringing in a broken home surrounded by a shantytown to his days on the Yankees in the 1950s, where he found success as a scrappy clutch player, through sixteen years of managing, including his legendary, often fraught tenure at the helm of the Yankees, Billy Martin made sure no one ever ignored him. And indeed no one could. He was the hero, the antihero, and the alter ego -- or some combination of all three -- for his short sixty-one years among us.

Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius by Bill Pennington

Bill Pennington is an award-winning sportswriter for “The New York Times.”  A former syndicated columnist, Pennington was a beat writer who covered much of Billy Martin's tenure with the New York Yankees. 

Listen in to a special spring evening of inside baseball stories with Bill Pennington in the Clubhouse...

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Pitching through four decades in the Major Leagues, Jim Kaat won 283 games with the Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals.  After his playing days, Jim went on to win seven Emmy Awards for his work as a broadcaster for the New York Yankees.  Since joining MLB Network, Jim has been nominated for three national Emmys.

As a ballplayer and broadcaster, Jim had a prime seat to watch it all unfold.  In If These Walls Could Talk, he provides a closer look at the Yankees.  Via multiple interviews conducted with current and past Yankees, readers will meet the players, coaches and management, and share in their moments of victory and defeat.

During our special event with Jim Kaat, he discussed his childhood baseball memories, favorite piece of memorabilia, matching up in the World Series against Sandy Koufax, the best ballplayers of his era, the ballplayers of today, Sabermetrics, Billy Martin, George Steinbrenner, Pete Rose, Stephen Strasburg, pitch counts, and his broadcasting career. 

Listen in to our fascinating evening with Jim Kaat, when the Clubhouse walls talked...

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