Friday, July 17, 2009

Book Review: The Yankee Years by Joe Torre

I recently finished the book The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci. The book chronicled Torres 12 years in New York as manager of the Yankees. The Yankees under Torre won 1249 games, including the postseason, during that 12 year span. The Yankees appeeared in the postseason each of the 12 years that Torre managed them, including 6 American League Pennents and 4 World Series Championships. Wow! Talk about a resume. I have never been a huge fan of the Yankees, but I thought it was a great read. It was ver insightful about those Yankee teams and its players. I thought that Torre and Verducci didn't hold back much and communicated exactly how Torre felt about certain players. For example:
Torre loved players like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera .
On Jeter: "Jeter's talent and confidence helped make him a great player right out of the box. It was his humility and desire to win above all else that made him a great teammate and a manager's dream."

On Rivera: "Rivera, like Jeter, fit perfectly in the Yankees' clubhouse culture, another superstar characterized by quiet humility and confidence who defined himself by how many games the team won, not his individual statistics."
On Tino: "Martinez, for instance, was habitually hard on himself. The slightest slump, even a hitless game, would prompt the first baseman to grow angry with himself."

Torre also shared his feelings about some other Yankee players like Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodrigues, Carl Pavano and Randy Johnson.
On Sheffield: "He was a team player. He finished a couple of games at third base for me, when we had to take guys out and move people around. He was willing to do anything."
On A-Rod: Chapter 8. The Issues of Alex
"Alex monopolized all the attention." "When it comes to a key situation, he can't seem to get himself to concern himself with getting the job done, instead of how it looks." "Alex, do me a favor: at least go get a cup of coffee by yourself, instead of sending somebody to get you a cup of coffee.
On Pavano: " His Yankee teammates wrote him off as a guy who milked any physical ailment as an excuse not to have to pitch. The players all hated him. It was no secret."
On Johnson: "He was, in fact, a sensitive, hyperaware person, who...was uncomfortable with the constant critisism and noise that came with playing in New York."

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