Synopses & Reviews
It happens every spring. Ron Guidry, one of the Yankees most beloved pitchers, arrives at the airport in Tampa to pick up the Hall of Fame catcher turned national treasure, Yogi Berra. Berra slips into that old familiar #8. Guidry drives him to the ballpark. They watch the young players. They talk shop. They eat dinner together at night. They trade stories about the greats they have met along the way. And the next day they do the same thing all over again.
Driving Mr. Yogi is the story of baseballs odd couple and the uniquely poignant - and at times hilarious - bond they share. It began in 1999 when Berra was reunited with the Yankees after a fourteen-year hiatus, the result of being unceremoniously fired as Yankees skipper by the Boss. Finally invited back into the fold, Berra could go to spring training again, that rite of passage every former ballplayer cherishes. Guidry befriended “Mr. Yogi,” who was at first a little lost among all the new faces in pinstripes. After all, Mr. Yogi had been a fixture in the clubhouse back when Guidry was pitching in the House that Ruth Built. Guidry encouraged Mr. Yogi to share his insights; he saw the importance of those young stars benefiting from the catching legends encyclopedic knowledge of the game, just as Guidry had in his own playing days. And in Mr. Yogi, Guidry found not just an elder companion or a source of amusement - he found a lifelong friend.
At turns tender, at turns laugh-out-loud funny, and teeming with unforgettable baseball yarns that span more than fifty years, Driving Mr. Yogi is a universal story about the importance of wisdom being passed from one generation to the next, as well as a reminder that time is what we make of it and compassion never gets old.
"Ron Guidry got to know Yogi Berra, the beloved baseball legend and notable quotable, in 1977, when he was a curious young ace pitcher for the New York Yankees and Berra was a venerable coach with answers. When Berra joined the Yankees as a spring training instructor in 2000, Guidry volunteered to pick up Berra, eventually becoming his valet and companion during their monthlong stay in Florida. That annual arrangement has bloomed into a deep friendship. Guidry calls Berra his best friend, and as his former mentor approaches 90, Guidry has become a guardian and protector. Berra cares for Guidry, though he's loath to say that. 'He doesn't want to be treated like a superstar or a celebrity,' says Kevin McLaughlin, a Berra family friend. 'He wants his friends to bust his balls. He loves it. And nobody does it better than .' Araton (When the Garden Was Eden) deftly and tenderly traces the odd couple's rapport, which involves an assist from late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, whose apology to an angry Berra ended his long exile from the venerable organization. More than a portrait of two unlikely pals, Araton has fashioned a tribute to the days when teams could be considered families, rather than a collection of constantly changing faces. The book should soothe the soul of the most cynical sports fan. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Harkens back to an era when ball players were teammates because of the uniform they wore, not the games they played. Driving Mr. Yogi is as sweet as the unlikely friendship between Berra and his designated chauffeur Ron "Gator" Guidry who, along with author Harvey Araton, handles this precious baseball cargo with requisite TLC."and#8212;Jane Leavy, bestselling author of The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax "Hop in, sit back and enjoy the ride with Yogi and Gator. With grace and humor, Harvey Araton makes certain it will put a smile on your face."and#8212;Tom Verducci, bestselling author (with Joe Torre) of The Yankee Years "In Driving Mr. Yogi, one of America's finest sportswriters writes about the magical relationship. Any baseball fan would love to be at spring training, sun shining, smell of mowed grass in the air, and just listen to the stories of those two wonderful men. Harvey Araton lets us do just that."and#8212;Joe Posnanski, author of The Machine and The Soul of Baseball "How would you like to hang out with Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry during spring training? Funny and sweet, Driving Mr. Yogi transports you there."and#8212;Jim Bouton, former major league player and author of Ball Four "Among the most thoughtful journalists of his time, Harvey Araton delivers one of baseball's greatest stories never told in thisand#160;poetic tribute to the relationship shared by Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry. A must read for anyone who cares about baseball, loyalty, and love."and#8212;Ian O'Connor, New York Times bestselling author of The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter and Arnie and Jack "Spending time with Yogi Berra is a unique pleasure, as Ron Guidry, a special guy himself, can attest. Now thanks to Harvey Araton's delightful book you, too, can get to know one of the world's great treasures and revel in a remarkable relationship."and#8212;Tim McCarver, sportscaster, Fox Sports
andldquo;MAGICBIRD, BIRDMAGIC really should be the titled andldquo;When the Game was Mineandrdquo; because that is how they went after each other on the court. In When the Game Was Ours you will enjoy an exhilarating ride down one of the most competitive rivalries ever.andrdquo;
andquot;Finallyandmdash;a book that tells the story of Magic and Larry from their vantage point. When the Game Was Ours took me inside their fascinating rivalry with new insights and revealing details about two men who evolved from bitter competitors into lifelong friends.andquot;
andquot;At long last the great book on Bird and Magicandmdash;their own account, told from behind the scenes, inside huddles, confidential phone conversations, backseats of cars, and most importantly, from their inner hearts. Their book is alive with truthandmdash;it's a story of brilliance, brilliantly told with the help of prize-winning writer Jackie MacMullan.andquot;
andmdash;Sally Jenkins, author of The Real All Americans, Funny Cide, and Itandrsquo;s Not About the Bike with Lance Armstrong
andquot;When The Game Was Ours is the ultimate insiders' account of the rivalry, the friendship, the tension and the bond between Bird and Magic that launched the modern NBA. A real treat for all hoops fans.andquot;
andmdash;Tom Verducci, author with Joe Torre of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Yankee Years
andquot;You know that game where you pick a certain number of characters for your favorite dinner party of all time? (The one where you picked Gandhi, Babe Ruth, Li'l Wayne and, who was it, Jenna Jameson?) I just spent a couple of nights with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in the lyrical When The Game Was Ours and they should be in the mix. They're funny, frank, anecdotal and just plain interesting. This book is terrific.andquot;
andmdash;Leigh Montville, bestselling author of Ted Williams and The Big Bam
andquot;Unprecedented insight and commentary from the stars themselves on their unique relationship, a compelling mixture of bitter rivalry and mutual admiration... Offers a captivating look at the NBAandrsquo;s greatest era.andquot; -- Kirkus Reviews
andquot;Highly entertaining . . . A thrill-packed, lively and moving dual memoir.andquot; -- Shelf Awareness
andquot;A terrific read.andquot; -- Sports Illustrated
andquot;Spectacular.andquot; -- Dan Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe
andquot;An unbelievable read.andquot; -- Improper Bostonian
andquot;You have to read this book!andquot; -- Conan O'Brien
andquot;A must-have for any basketball fan.andquot; -- Jimmy Kimmel
andquot;A winner...Deftly explores the relationship between the former NBA superstars that started at arm's length [and] became a lasting friendship.andquot; -- USA Today
andquot;Greatness commands our attention . . . uplifting . . . If ever there was a two-man Dream Team, they were it.andquot; -- New York Times Book Review
andquot;In MacMullanandrsquo;s capable hands, the tale is re-energized . . . a wonderful waltz down memory lane . . . A compelling and enjoyable read, every bit as entertaining as watching Magic and Bird battling on the parquet.andquot; andndash; Boston Globe
andquot;Fascinating . . .The former Boston Globe reporter and columnist masterfully weav[es] the recollections of the two protagonists with those of dozens of observers . . .The book is at its most powerful when it hews close to its premise: the evolution of perhaps sports' greatest rivalry . . . The game of basketball has never been better than when it was theirs.andquot; -- Washington Post
Narrative of the friendship that's developed between Ron Guidry and Yogi Berra as a result of Berra's annual trips to Florida for Yankees spring training.
“Funny, revealing, and surprising . . . anything that brings new Yogi Berra stories is a good book." —MLB.com
Driving Mr. Yogi is the story of how a unique friendship between a pitcher and catcher is renewed every year. It began in 1999, when Yogi Berra was reunited with the Yankees after a long self-exile, the result of being unceremoniously fired by George Steinbrenner fourteen years before. A reconciliation between Berra and the Boss meant that Berra would attend spring training again. Guidry befriended “Mr. Yogi” instantly. After all, Berra had been a mentor in the clubhouse back when Guidry was pitching for the Yankees. Guidry knew the young players would benefit greatly from Mr. Yogi's encyclopedic knowledge of the game, just as Guidry had during his playing days, so he encouraged Berra to share his insights.
Soon, an offhand batting tip from Mr. Yogi turned Nick Swisher’s season around. Stories about handling a hitter like Ted Williams or catching Don Larsen’s perfect game captured their imaginations. And in Yogi, Guidry found not just an elder companion or source of amusement — he found a best friend.
At turns tender and laugh-out-loud funny, and teeming with unforgettable baseball yarns that span more than fifty years, Driving Mr. Yogi is a universal story about the importance of wisdom being passed from one generation to the next, as well as a reminder that time is what we make of it and compassion never gets old.
“A refreshing change from the normal diet of sports books out there . . . A warm, sentimental look at a baseball icon." —Tampa Tribune
A compelling, up-close-and-personal portrait of basketballand#8217;s most inimitable duo. It is also a rollicking ride through professional basketballand#8217;s best times, the golden age of hoops for the boomer generation.and#160;
A riveting portrait of two legendary players whose fierce rivalry came to define one of the most exciting periods of professional basketball
In Celtic green was Larry Bird, the hick from French Lick with laser-beam focus, relentless determination, and a deadly jump shotand#8212;a player who demanded excellence from everyone around him and whose caustic wit left opponents quaking in their high-tops. Magic Johnson was Mr. Showtime: young, indomitable, a magnetic personality with all the right moves, he was a pied piper in purple and gold and he burned with an inextinguishable desire to win. Their uncommonly competitive relationship came to symbolize the most thrilling rivalry in the NBAand#8212;East vs. West, physical vs. finesse, old school vs. Showtime, even white vs. black. Each pushed the other to greatness, and together Bird and Johnson collected eight NBA Championships and six MVP awards, helping to save a floundering NBA. When the Game Was Ours chronicles an electric era in sports history, revealing for the first time the inner workings of two players dead set on besting each other.
From the moment these two players took the court on opposing sides, they engaged in a fierce physical and psychological battle. Their uncommonly competitive relationship came to symbolize the most compelling rivalry in the NBA. These were the basketball epics of the 1980s and#8212; Celtics vs Lakers, East vs West, physical vs finesse, Old School vs Showtime, even white vs black. Each pushed the other to greatness and#8212; together Bird and Johnson collectedand#160;eight NBA Championships, six MVP awards and helped save the floundering NBA at its most critical time.and#160;When it started they were bitter rivals, but along the way they became lifelong friends.and#160;and#160;
With intimate, fly-on-the-wall detail, When the Game Was Ours transports readers to this electric era of basketball and reveals for the first time the inner workings of two players dead set on besting one another.and#160;From the heady days of trading championships to the darker days of injury and illness, we come to understand Larryand#8217;s obsessive devotion to winning and how his demons drove him on the court. We hear him talk with candor about playing through chronic pain and its truly exacting toll.and#160;In Magic we see a young, invincible star struggle with the sting of defeat, not just as a player but as a team leader.and#160; We are there the moment he learns heand#8217;s contracted HIV and hear in his own words how that devastating news impacted his relationships in basketball and beyond.and#160;But always, in both cases, we see them prevail.
A compelling, up-close-and-personal portrait of basketballand#8217;s most inimitable duo, When the Game Was Ours is a reevaluation of three decades in counterpoint.and#160;It is also a rollicking ride through professional basketballand#8217;s best times.
About the Author
Larry Bird, in his 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics, claimed 3 NBA titles, 3 MVP awards, and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998. In 1992, as part of the andldquo;Dream Teamandrdquo; he brought home an Olympic gold medal. He served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000. In 2003, he assumed the role of president of basketball operations for the Pacers, which he currently still holds.
Earvin andldquo;Magicandrdquo; Johnson, Jr., in his 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, claimed 5 NBA titles, 3 MVP awards and was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2002. He also won an Olympic gold medal as part of the 1992 andldquo;Dream Team.andrdquo; Currently, he is the Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises and Vice President and part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jackie MacMullan is a nationally recognized sports columnist, who spent three decades at the Boston Globe and covered the NBA for Sports Illustrated in the late 1990s. She is a frequent correspondent for ESPN, CNNSI and local Boston television networks. She is also a regular contestant (and the only female one) on ESPN's Around the Horn.
Table of Contents
The Late Showand#160;30
It Takes a Clubhouseand#160;113
Frog Legs and Friendsand#160;142
A Yankeeand#8217;s Callingand#160;171