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Pinstripe Alley Book Review: “The Yankees Index”

A new book by ESPN’s Mark Simon does an excellent job telling the history of the Yankees through some iconic numbers.

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The Yankees Index by Mark Simon of ESPN
Triumph Books

Numbers are intrinsically linked to the history of baseball. Many baseball fans instantly know what another is talking about whenever “.406” or “the 500 club” are cited. Since the Yankees are so important to the game, they have a great deal of numbers with tremendous meaning as well. There are some terrific stories behind all of these numbers, and Mark Simon has a new book out called The Yankees Index that does superb work telling these tales.

Simon was gracious enough to provide me with a copy of the book, and from reading, it is quite evident that he did a wonderful job researching the stories. The most attractive aspect of the book is that it is very easy for the casual fan to read. Sure, some baseball nuts like me might read tomes about Babe Ruth’s run to 60 homers, but Simon knows that this isn’t that kind of book.

Instead, Simon made it mission to tell just about as many stories from Yankees history as possible. None of them are longer than 10 pages, and most of them sit around five to six. Yet there’s some quality information in there, and there’s plenty for baseball fans of all ages to learn. Many of the numbers references are quite well known, like the 1998 Yankees’ 125 combined wins and Lou Gehrig’s 2,130 consecutive games, but others are included for the sole purpose of writing about them.

For instance, there is David Robertson’s 25 straight hitters retired in bases-loaded situations, a stat which fits in perfectly with his “Houdini” nickname. There are also the two pennant-winning walk-off homers, which obviously references Chris Chambliss and Aaron Boone’s unforgettable ALCS winners but gives Simon an opportunity to discuss them.

Counting them up, there are 71 different stories in this book, and for only about $10 on Amazon, that’s a steal. Simon keeps them interesting and engaging, an act that can be tough to balance when there are so many in play. However, Simon pulls it off, and the end product is quite good.

As a special kind of preview for the book, here’s a video that Simon posted yesterday where he impressively recites fun facts from every single Yankees World Series victory. That’s just what he’s reciting from memory! So you can bet that this information combined with his research provides some awesome results.

So go check it out! This book gets the PSA seal of approval, for whatever that’s worth.