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October Men: Reggie Jackson, George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, and the…
by Roger Kahn
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156029715, Paperback)October Men reads like a night spent in the dugout with a veteran manager during a lopsided game. Roger Kahn sits beside you occasionally narrating the events of each inning as it unfolds while frequently digressing into anecdotes from his lifetime as a baseball writer. The digressions--everything from Yankees's VP Al Rosen's connections to the Las Vegas boxing scene to a brief history of the 1903 New York Highlanders (the "Pleistocene Yankees")--are all interesting, but one frequently loses track of the main reason for being there.
In this case, the main story is the tumultuous 1978 Yankees's season. What makes this particular season an interesting subject for a book is that it is not the story of a group of young heroes who rallied together to make a team that was somehow larger than its parts. Rather, the 1978 Yankees was a team patched together with aging stars (Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage, Catfish Hunter) from other teams, held fast by George Steinbrenner's money, and piloted by the tempestuous Billy Martin. This was a team expected to win a world championship. The story Kahn tries to tell is how this boatload of talent nearly ran aground because of bickering, paranoia, and racism.
Kahn's breadth of knowledge is impressive, and the many insider tales he relates are entertaining; but October Men does not flow effortlessly as a narrative of the 1978 team. If one can excuse the digressions and occasional disjointed transitions, though, there is much pleasure to be had from this prime spectator's seat. --Patrick O'Kelley
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:51 -0400)
Recounts one of the great summers of baseball history, 1978--the year the Yankees won the World Series after a tumultuous season.
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