Publishers Weekly, 2003-03-17 It is a testament to the depth of New York Yankee history that a sportswriter, albeit a very good one, can profile 18 people connected to the team's past and deliver an absorbing story that traces much of the team's story through the eyes of the men who were there. Madden's goal, to capture as much of the team's past as possible, led him to Marius Russo, one of the last players alive to play with Yankee legend Lou Gehrig. The chapter on Russo, as well as on other Yankee old-timers Tommy Byrne and Charlie Silvera, are especially enjoyable since they shed light on the pre- WWII Yankees, while bringing attention to three players who are not generally known by most fans. Madden (coauthor of Zim) writes with affection about each player, with an understanding of each one's place in Yankee lore. His choice to include Arlene Howard, widow of Elston Howard, the first African-American to play for the Yankees, is inspired, as it allows Madden to bring to life the difficulties Howard had in breaking the Yankee color line. One weakness: since many of the profiles are of men who were part of either Stengel's Yankees or the Bronx Zoo teams of the mid-1970s, Madden must repeat the highlights of those years in several different chapters. But this is a minor quibble, and Yankee fans will enjoy the perspective of what it was like to be young and a Yankee in a number of different eras. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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