Remembering Yankee Stadium -- An Oral and Narrative History of the House that Ruth Built -- 1923-2008 --by Harvey Frommer, foreward by Bob Sheppard, Stewart Tabori & Chang '08, coffee table format, $45, 224 pages, printed on glossy stock with scores of color and b&w images, ISBN #1584797169. Index, stadiumology.
I've been wrestling with this question for more than an hour -- maybe you can help me with it. There's no question that any serious baseball fan should buy this book, but it's not the kind of book you stuff under the Christmas wrapping paper and pick up in mid-February. No, it needs to be perused on the day of the gift, hopefully by 3 or maybe 4 generations of fanatics. Maybe give it on Thanksgiving?
Harvey Frommer, who has written 40 years books on various sports, now says goodbye to Yankee Stadium in the flashiest way. In this lavish, photo-centric work, he strums the memories of fans in a panorama stretching from Jacob Ruppert to Mariano Rivera. What could I possibly care about this book? ask Red Sox fans. Be forewarned -- the cast of characters includes such folks as Dennis Eckersley, Dewey Evans, Bill Lee, and Mel Parnell. You want to make sure a Yankee fan doesn't slander one of your own.
Not to say this is a picture book -- it isn't. Frommer wants to give you enough narrative for Red Sox fans to foam at the mouth but also to honor such undeniable greats as Lou Gehrig. Here are some of the Yankee Stadium memories he chronicles:
Babe Ruth's 1919 purchase from the Red Sox and his historic first home run in 1923 in the new Yankee Stadium; Joe DiMaggio's 1941 iconic consecutive game hitting record of 56; Roger Maris's breaking of Ruth's home run record in 1961; Reggie Jackson's three home runs in a row in the 1977 World Series; and the 2006 groundbreaking for the new Yankee Stadium.
See you next April, across the street.