Perhaps the Yankees’ disappointing end to the season is actually a blessing in disguise. As an English Literature grad and someone who works in the publishing industry, I’m an avid reader, but it’s next to impossible to find time to fit books into my after-work schedule when the Yankees are playing.
Now that the Yankees are sitting at home like the rest of us, suddenly my reading schedule has opened up a little bit. As we stare down the barrel of a relentlessly long offseason—there’s still no news on the CBA front and the rumours tying the Yankees to every big-name free agent have already started circulated—it might be best to unplug and brush up on our Yankee knowledge. The classics are well-known, but here are six relatively recent books that every Yankees fan should read this offseason.
The Bronx Zoom: Inside the New York Yankees’ Most Bizarre Season by Bryan Hoch
We all remember the 2020 season as a disappointment, thanks in part to a solo home run off the bat of Mike Brosseau. Last season, however, was a truly unprecedented one, as a global pandemic and social upheaval bookended what was supposed to be a title-contending season for the Yankees. In The Bronx Zoom, Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch takes us behind the scenes to tell the complete story of the most unprecedented season in MLB history from the team’s perspective.
Mission 27: A New Boss, A New Ballpark, and One Last Ring for the Yankees’ Core Four by Mark Feinsand and Bryan Hoch
Remember when the Yankees didn’t disappoint us in the postseason? Good times, good times.
If you have a hankering to relive the glory days, give Mission 27 a shot. Much like The Bronx Zoom, this book gives us a first-hand look at the Yankees’ historic 2009 campaign through exclusive interviews with Yankees staff and players. Maybe reading it will reignite the title contention thoughts that accompanied the start of last season.
Maris & Mantle: Two Yankees, Baseball Immortality, and the Age of Camelot by Tony Castro
2021 marked 60 years since the iconic battle for home run glory between Yankee legends Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Batting in the heart of the Yankees lineup, Maris and Mantle battled all season long to topple Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record of 60. Maris ultimately broke Babe Ruth’s record by hitting 61 home runs, a new record the stood until Mark McGwire broke it in 1998. In Maris & Mantle, Tony Castro chronicles the history of this heroic duo, from the trade that brought Maris to New York to the legendary 1961 season and more.
If you’re interested in this story, fellow PSA writer Jon Rimmer actually chatted with the author about the book and the history of this legendary duo last month! You can read it here.
The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created by Jane Leavy
From the author of The Last Boy, the critically-acclaimed biography of Mickey Mantle, comes the story of the single most famous baseball player of all-time. At this point, it’s basically impossible to separate the man from the legends that surround him. Through interviews, historical documents, and records, Leavy gives us a glimpse into the 21 days after Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run—a time that has become the stuff of legend to Yankees fans—to break through the mythology and tell the real story of a truly larger-than-life man.
The Baseball 100 by Joe Posnanski
While this one isn’t exclusively about the Yankees, award-winning sportswriter Joe Posnanski has set out to create the magnum opus of baseball writing. In this 800+ page tome — surely that’s enough to last us the full offseason, right? — Posnanski has set out to chart the top 100 players of all-time. Instead of just ranking them by their statics, however, Posnanski tells their stories to bring these legends of the game to life, and tries to answer some of the toughest cross-generational questions facing fans of the game today.
K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches by Tyler Kepner
Another one that isn’t exclusively about the Yankees, K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches tackles the ten major pitches that make up the game with insight from legendary pitchers to fill out the tales. The reason I’m bringing it up here is because Mariano Rivera’s cutter—one of the most lethal pitches in baseball history—features prominently in the last chapter.
It’s going to be a long offseason, folks. Let’s try to stay at least somewhat entertained before everything gets too crazy.