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1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New Yorkby Lyle Spatz
Synopses & Reviews
From the teamand#8217;s inception in 1903, the New York Yankees were a floundering group that played as second-class citizens to the New York Giants. With four winning seasons to date, the team was purchased in 1915 by Jacob Ruppert and his partner, Cap and#8220;Tiland#8221; Huston. Three years later, when Ruppert hired Miller Huggins as manager, the unlikely partnership of the two figures began, one that set into motion the Yankeesand#8217; run as the dominant baseball franchise of the 1920s and the rest of the twentieth century, capturing six American League pennants with Huggins at the helm and four more during Ruppertand#8217;s lifetime.
The Yankeesand#8217; success was driven by Ruppertand#8217;s executive style and enduring financial commitment, combined with Hugginsand#8217;s philosophy of continual improvement and personnel development. While Ruppert and Huggins had more than a little help from one of baseballand#8217;s greats, Babe Ruth, their close relationship has been overlooked in the Yankeesand#8217; rise to dominance. Though both were small of stature, the two men nonetheless became giants of the game with unassailable mutual trust and loyalty. The Colonel and Hug tells the story of how these two men transformed the Yankees. It also tells the larger story about baseball primarily in the tumultuous period from 1918 to 1929and#8212;with the end of the Deadball Era and the rise of the Lively Ball Era, a gambling scandal, and the collapse of baseballand#8217;s governing structureand#8212;and the significant role the Yankees played in it all. While the hitting of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig won many games for New York, Ruppert and Huggins institutionalized winning for the Yankees.
The 1936 Yankees, the 1963 Dodgers, the 1975 Reds, the 2010 Giantsand#8212;why do some baseball teams win while others donand#8217;t?
General managers and fans alike have pondered this most important of baseball questions. The Moneyball strategy is not the first example of how new ideas and innovative management have transformed the way teams are assembled. In Pursuit of Pennants examines and analyzes a number of compelling, winning baseball teams over the past hundred-plus years, focusing on their decision making and how they assembled their championship teams.
Whether through scouting, integration, instruction, expansion, free agency, or modernizing their management structure, each winning team and each era had its own version of Moneyball, where front office decisions often made the difference. Mark L. Armour and Daniel R. Levitt show how these teams succeeded and how they relied on talent both on the field and in the front office. While there is no recipe for guaranteed success in a competitive, ever-changing environment, these teams demonstrate how creatively thinking about oneand#8217;s circumstances can often lead to a competitive advantage.
The Philadelphia Athletics dominated the first fourteen years of the American League, winning six pennants through 1914 under the leadership of their founder and manager, Connie Mack. But beginning in 1915, where volume 2 in Norman L. Machtand#8217;s biography picks up the story, Mackand#8217;s teams fell from pennant winners to last place and, in an unprecedented reversal of fortunes, stayed there for seven years. World War I robbed baseball of young players, and Mackand#8217;s rebuilding efforts using green youngsters of limited ability made his teams the objects of public ridicule.
At the age of fifty-nine and in the face of widespread skepticism and seemingly insurmountable odds, Connie Mack reasserted his genius, remade the Aand#8217;s, and rose again to the top, even surpassing his earlier success. Baseball biographer and historian Macht recreates what may be the most remarkable chapter in this larger-than-life story. He shows us the man and his time and the game of baseball in all its nitty-gritty glory of the 1920s, and how Connie Mack built the 1929and#8211;1931 champions of Foxx, Simmons, Cochrane, Grove, Earnshaw, Miller, Haas, Bishop, Dykesand#8212;a team many consider baseballand#8217;s greatest ever.
About the Author
Lyle Spatz is the author of many books, including Bad Bill Dahlen: The Rollicking Life and Times of an Early Baseball Star and Yankees Coming, Yankees Going: New York Yankee Player Transactions, 1903 through 1999. Steve Steinberg is the author of Baseball in St. Louis, 1900and#8211;1925 and numerous articles on early twentieth-century baseball, including feature articles for the annual New York Yankees official yearbooks. Charles C. Alexander is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Ohio University. He is the author of several baseball books, including Spoke: A Biography of Tris Speaker and John McGraw (available in a Bison Books edition).
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