The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are battling it
out for the American League pennant. But for the Red Sox, the Texas
Rangers before them and all the others who come up against the Yankees, it
is much more than a team they battle. It is also a matter of heritage, a
Part of the Yankee mystique is the Curse of the Bambino,
the Subway Series, the Five O'Clock Lightning, Murderer's Row and the
Bronx Bombers. It is the Springfield Rifle, the Big Cat, the Bull, the
Scooter, Yogi, Goofy, the Goose, Moose, Old Reliable, Donnie Baseball,
Iron Horse, Sultan of Swat, Ellie, Slick, King Kong, Bulldog, the Yankee
Clipper and Joltin' Joe, the Pride of the Yankees, Mr. October and Mr.
The mystique is also The Oklahoma Kid and the Commerce
Comet, Sailor Bob, the Almighty Tired Man, Billy Ball, Blind Ryne, the
Count, Puff, Pepi, the Battle of Broadway, Superchief…
October is big time Yankee mystique time. It is Reggie
Jackson hitting home runs into the chilly nights, the Babe blasting the
ball, Mickey Mantle ripping the tape-measure shots, Don Larsen soft
tossing the perfect game.
The mystique is Casey Stengel racking up the English
language and other teams, Joe McCarthy pushing all the right buttons,
DiMag hitting in 56 straight, Bucky hitting the tin in Fenway, Chris
Chambliss hitting it out off Littell.
There are all those pennants and world championships, the
standing-room only crowds, the Ballantine Blasts, the White Owl Wallops,
the Southern voice of Mel Allen exclaiming, "How about that?"
and the New York accents of Phil Rizzuto shouting "HOLY COW!"
There are the lines that have been passed down from
generation to generation, also part of the mystique:
Casey Stengel: "If I'da known I was going to live this
long, I woulda taken better care of myself."
Roger Maris: "If all I am entitled to is an asterisk -
that will be all right with me."
Lou Gehrig: "I consider myself the luckiest man on the
face of the earth."
Col. Jacob Ruppert: "Yankee Stadium was a mistake, not
mine but the Giants."
It is players from other teams coming into Yankee Stadium
and being awed and intrigued by the monuments and plaques. They stroll out
before a game and gawk.
It is the sound of the cultured voice of Bob Sheppard, the
public address announcer who has been on the scene since April of 1951 -
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Yankee
It is Buck Showalter acknowledging: "Every kid growing
up has dreamed of lining up at Yankee Stadium and having Bob Sheppard
announce his name."
There is also George Steinbrenner, also part of the
mystique, Omnipresent, vocal, always hovering about, and the ultimate
There is the famed opera singer and Yankee Stadium national
anthem singer Robert Merrill who became a Yankee fan when he was eight
years old and saw Babe Ruth play.
There is Frank Sinatra singing: "...If you can make it
there, you'll make it anywhere... " That too is a part of the scene,
a part of the mystique.
HARVEY FROMMER is the author of the definitive New York
Yankee Encyclopedia (Macmillan)
# # #
You can reach
Harvey Frommer at:
About the Author:
Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and
"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was
Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times,
Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath,
The Sporting News, among other publications.
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Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz Frommer are the authors of
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in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
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