Marty Appel is the author of 24 books, the latest of which, Pinstripe Empire, is widely recognized as the definitive history of the New York Yankees. His biography of Mike “King” Kelly, Slide, Kelly, Slide, won the Casey Award as baseball book of the year for 1996. The long time public relations director and television producer of the Yankees began his career answering Mickey Mantle’s fan mail in 1968, and then became the youngest PR Director in baseball. His new biography of Casey Stengel will be published by Doubleday in March.
The story of Thurman Munson’s rookie season with the New York Yankees—1970—is significant because not only did it lead to his being the first catcher in American League history to win the Rookie of the Year Award (and only Johnny Bench had done it in the National League), but because of what was to come with his career.
More than half a century has passed, and the World Series records of New York Yankees infielder Bobby Richardson continue to hold fast.
These are amazing not only for longevity, but for being serious offensive marks for a player better noted for defense.
Imagine the founding fathers of baseball seated around a wooden table drinking a little stout, mapping out a playing field, and getting around to the equipment to be used.
It’s the most famous asterisk that never was.
In the hall of fame for punctuation marks, it has its own wing.
In the annals of baseball history, it’s a one-word identification for Roger Maris and the 1961 season.
It has been quite a run for the Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant—College Player of the Year, Minor League Player of the Year, National League Rookie of the Year, a home run in the All-Star Game, a World Series ring, and an MVP Award.
He didn’t have his picture on the 2017 Who’s Who in Baseball, which might have been expected.
Before there was an MLB Network, before there was ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, before local stations were able to run highlights from around the Major Leagues, there was the scrappy and much beloved This Week in Baseball.
The highlights and bloopers program was weekly, often running as a pregame show for Saturday afternoon local telecasts on the local station.
The 1970 New York Yankees were in the midst of their long drought between pennants (1964 to 1976 was the actual span), and despite the emerging stardom of Thurman Munson and Bobby Murcer, the team was challenged at the box office, especially since the retirement of Mickey Mantle, which he announced in spring training of 1969.
It was my third season as part of the team’s public relations team, and in the wake of the rival New York Mets’ 1969 world championship win, the challenge was substantial.
Warren Spahn died in 2003 at the age of 82, and his legacy in baseball not only remains strong, but some of his accomplishments may never be matched in our lifetime.
He is, for instance, the winningest left-hander in baseball history (363), a total so high that it remains the most wins by any pitcher in the last 100 years. As we are now in an era where 300 seems fairly unlikely to be achieved, it seems safe to say that we will pass the game on to future generations with that benchmark intact.
You would have liked Frank Scott.
On the list of things we love about baseball, player agents don’t rank very high.
But if you had known Frank Scott, it would have been different. He could charm anyone, except for the old Yankees General Manager George Weiss.
But eventually, even Weiss came around.