The Golden Age
by Richard Bak
Arcadia Publishing, 1999 | Buy the book
The toughest part of being a success, composer Irving Berlin once remarked, is that you have to keep on being a success. Nowhere is the pressure to win more intense than in New York, where the citizenry is used to having the best in everything, including baseball. Some might say, especially in baseball. In this they have been fortunate, for not only have the New York Yankees been the most successful franchise in the annals of baseball, they have been the most successful club in the entire history of team sports.
At no time was the Bronx Bombers' domination more pronounced than between 1920 and 1964. During this period, the Yankees captured 29 American League pennants and won 20 World Series, six of them in four-game sweeps. In 11 different seasons, they won 100 or more games, often outdistancing the runner-up by 10, 13, or even 19 games. They annually dominated All-Star Game selections and typically grabbed the lion's share of post-season awards. They did it with a certain mystique that began with the Murderers' Row teams of the 1920s and was passed on to several generations of players.
"There was something special about being a Yankee back in those years," said pitcher Vic Raschi, a major contributor to the team's five straight world championships between 1949 and 1953. "We believed we were the best and that we couldn't lose. It wasn't arrogance, it was pride. We used to go out there each day with every expectation of winning. And when we didn't win, then it was more than just losing a ball game, because it hurt our pride."
On these pages is a visual record of the Yankees' glory years, an unprecedented run that spanned five decades and included some of the most famous names and memorable moments in the game's long history. Meet Ruth, Lou, Lazzeri, Joltin' Joe, Scooter, Yogi, Casey, Roger, The Mick, and Gene Woodling, who defended the Yankees' monopoly in his retirement. "I didn't think it was unfair how good the Yankees were," said the old outfielder. "I thought that was the way it was supposed to be."
From Yankees Baseball: The Golden Age by Richard Bak.
Copyright © 1999, 2000 by Richard Bak. Excerpted with permission.