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The Yankee Mystique

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 mystique.

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. May.

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 Stadium."

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 hands-on owner.

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)

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

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.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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