The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History is a 300 page book that opens with “Introduction: The Yankee Pedigree” before covering the top 50 players. The introduction covers the Yankee beginnings in Baltimore, the move to New York in 1905, the move to the Polo Grounds in 1915, and the storied success in the following decades. That history is brought forward to the super stars of today in an overview format before covering the author’s decision making process in ranking players.
Three factors weighed into the author’s decision making process. He considered the “Level of Dominance” a player achieved with the team such as batting tiles, pitching awards, or some other offensive or pitching statistic. That same type of information was considered internally to determine how a player ranked among his other Yankee players when factoring in the era the player performed in as clearly, over time, baseball is a very fluid sport with numerous changes in the players and the game itself over the years. Also important was how much the player impacted the team on and off the field and what impact his presence had on the Yankee legacy. It is worth noting that only the period a player was with the Yankees was considered for the above determinations.
By author Robert W. Cohen’s standards he determined that Number one is Babe Ruth with Dave Righetti coming in at number 50. In between are Yankee’s such as Derek Jeter (number 6), Alex Rodriguez (number 12), Rich Gossage (number 36), Sparky Lyle (number 41) and many more. Each chapter covers the players biography while a Yankee as well as informative about the context of the player in history. Each chapter has a career highlights section that covers “Best Season” and “Memorable Moments/Greatest Performances” as well as “Notable Achievements.” The “Notable Achievements” section is in bullet point format and especially suitable for settling trivia arguments.
Starting on page 263 after the top 50 players, the author designates a starting team and pitching staff as well as a second team. Author Robert W. Cohen than goes on to list the next 50 players deserving of honorable mention. That includes such notables as Wally Pipp (number 52), Lou Piniella (Number 60), C.C. Sabathia (number 61), Tommy John (number 76), and Garry Sheffield (number 100). While not as comprehensive in detail as the main part of the book, each player has a listing of their stats with the team under the heading of “Yankee Numbers” as well as their “Notable Achievements.”
Also included is a two page index of common baseball terms, a biography of the source material used in the book and a six page index. An author bio page detailing the author’s baseball credentials and other accomplishments close the book.
While surprisingly void of any photographs at all, there is a wealth of information on the profiled players in The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History. The book is a comprehensive educational resource for fans and non-fans of the Yankees. Those looking for scandalous details won’t find much, if any, in this book. Those looking to find more about the accomplishments of various players and the context of the time they played will find much to savor in this excellently done reference style book.
It should be noted that this is a reprint edition of a book released previously last year through another division of the same publisher. This 2013 edition of the book was done before the recent news regarding Alex Rodriguez came out regarding his use of performance enhancing drugs and other issues.
The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History
Robert W. Cohen
Taylor Trade Publishing (The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.)
Paperback (also available as an e-book)
I received an ARC of this title due to my participation in the “LibraryThing Early Reviewers” group for my use in an objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2013