Book Reviews and Products

Game of My Life
20 Stories of Yankees Baseball
By Dave Buscema (Sports Publishing L.L.C.)
Reviewer: Marc Maturo,; Lifetime member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and writer for The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y.

Dave Buscema, a New York born and bred scribe who has covered the Yankees for the last several years for the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., takes you behind the scenes of some of the greatest moments in franchise history. Buscema does this not in a conventional way but rather through the thoughts and words of 20 players in Yankees lore, from Old Reliable (Tommy Henrich) to the new (Mariano Rivera). Even Brian Doyle gets into the act.

Each player's top moment -- and some are quite surprising, such as Mel Stottlemyre choosing a regular season victory over Vida Blue -- is brought to life through a unique perspective: Going back in time to revisit what formed the player; bringing the moment to life at the time it happened; and finally, dealing with the present-day player and his perspective. While the method is quite interesting, some of the writing is a bit too concise with too many one-sentence paragraphs. But this is a mere quibble and for any Yankeephile it won't amount to a hill of beans.

Buscema draws out the memories of the 20 men in question, memories that make for worthwhile reading because the top moments are not what a fan might automatically choose.

You'll see that Stottlemyre selected his meaningless regular-season win over the very fine Oakland Athletics left-hander Vida Blue. "My boys didn't think I could do it," recounts Stottlemyre.
  • You'll read that the legendary shortstop Phil Rizzuto picks the time he brought home Joe DiMaggio on a suicide squeeze, bunting a high pitch from Cleveland Hall of Famer Bob Lemon.
  • Bobby Richardson, the devout second baseman whose friendship with the wild-living Mickey Mantle was stronger than you might imagine, decides on the only game that made sense to him: His first game as a Yankee.

  • Reggie Jackson, "Mr. October," gets 10 pages of coverage from Buscema, and why not? Jackson, a complicated person on and off the field, has much to offer and comes across more thoughtful than simply the guy who once started a controversy with his line, "I'm the straw that stirs the drink."

    The other moments brought to life come to you courtesy of Don Larsen, Yogi Berra (seven pages), Ron Guidry, Bucky Dent, Graig Nettles, Dave Righetti, Jim Abbott, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, David Cone, and Paul O'Neill. In each and every account, you are likely to uncover something new.

    We give Buscema's effort a line-drive triple.

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