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Pinstriped glory, the greatest moments in Yankee history part four: The ’98 Yankees’ magnificent season

There are a few things about the Yankees that I’m very stubborn about, things that no matter how hard you debate with me I’ll just never change my mind on. For instance, Joe DiMaggio is the greatest baseball player the world has ever seen, if I ever have a son, I want him to grow up to be the man Lou Gehrig was, and the 1927 team is the greatest that baseball will ever see. However, while I am of the mindset the ’27 team is the greatest, there will never be a season more impressive than 1998. The team won 114 games in the regular season while losing only 48. They won the AL East by a mind boggling 22 games and went 11-2 in the playoffs sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series for the club’s 24th overall championship. Their win total regular season and postseason combined was 125 which is still a major league record to this day.

"The Baby Bombers": A short review of Bryan Hoch's new book

Living in northern NJ, it’s not uncommon to be snowed in. Last Wednesday was another one of those days as Mother Nature dropped close to twenty inches of snow. Knowing that I was likely going to be snowed in all day, I made the decision to go out and buy Bryan Hoch’s ‘The Baby Bombers,’ before the storm hit. 

I’ve never been a big reader. I don’t hate reading, it just hasn’t been at the top of my list of favorite things. There was only one other book I was able to read start to finish in the span of a few days. That book was Joe Torre’s ‘The Yankee Years.’ Hoch’s new book now joins that list. I couldn’t put it down. It was incredibly fascinating.
Photo via Amazon
 For example,  picture life without Didi Gregorius. It’s hard to imagine, right? Well it was something Cashman was on the fence about if it meant trading Shane Greene. He obviously needed to find a shortstop following Jeter’s retirement but was the price of Greene worth it?
“Though the Yankees were reluctant to part with Greene, cognizant of the inflated value of starting pitching in the open market, Cashman decided that Gregorius was worth the
gamble.” (Hoch 17)

If it weren’t for the great reviews from the people Cashman trusted most, which Hoch also talks
about, it is very possible that Didi doesn’t become a Yankee. Luckily for all of us, he did end up landing in pinstripes.

It also takes you through the development of a lot of these guys through the years, not just as a
player, but as a person too. The one guy that developed most from his younger days is Gary Sanchez. Sanchez is very likeable. After all, many of his teammates have raved about him in the past. He works hard and is devoted to the game. However, that was far from always the case.
In 2011, after manager of Class-A Charleston wrote in John Ryan Murphy over Sanchez for the second consecutive game, a young Sanchez made his extreme displeasure well known.
“Sanchez declined to enter the game as a replacement, and when a coach asked him to warm up a pitcher in the bullpen, he had refused to do so.” (Hoch 51)
Hoch doesn’t leave anything out when telling their stories. Just like he examines the low points, he also dissects different angles of their career highlights, such as Judge participating in the Home Run Derby.
Judge stated last week that he most likely will not participate in another Home Run Derby. With this announcement, the question arose (but not for the first time) weather or not the derby may have played a factor in his fall off during the second half (The shoulder possibly being another factor) and Hoch’s even dives into that. 
Photo via Sports Illustrated
Hoch notes that there have been numerous studies done over the years over the “Home Run Derby Curse,” regarding whether or not the derby has something to do with a given player’s poor second half. Hoch explains that according to the studies which have been done, there seems to be no definitive correlation, however, the general explanation given by groups that have performed these studies doesn’t really sell you on their verdict either.
“There is no definitive link and that the expected regression of players after their above average first halves seems to be a reasonable explanation.” (Hoch 179)
These are just a few of the many interesting tidbits in this book. It dives into nearly every detail of your favorite Yankees, especially the likes of Judge, Sanchez, Severino, and Bird. It takes you on their journey from childhood all the way to the magical 2017 season that ensued. It is truly a must read for any Yankees fan. I strongly recommend it.