Jeff Pearlman

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Tom Verducci and The Yankee Years

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So, having finally cleared my life of Roger Clemens, I sat down on my toilet today and began reading “The Yankee Years” by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci.

Well, really by Tom Verducci.

In a word: Killer.

I worked with Tom during my time at Sports Illustrated. He was the No. 1 baseball writer, and I picked up the scraps. He’s a pretty quiet guy—not guarded, but keeps to himself; doesn’t hover with the other writers too often; seeks out his own angles and almost never follows the mob. I paid attention to his work as much as humanly possible, and learned some valuable lessons. He’s a tremendous writer—for my money, the best baseball scribe of my lifetime.

I’m probably 60 pages into “The Yankee Years,” and what blows me away is how Tom structured the narrative. Or, to be more exact, how he didn’t structure the narrative. I can’t figure the damn thing out—it’s not chronological, it doesn’t go player to player or divide its chapters by, say, inning numbers or uniform numbers or anything cheap like that. Yet somehow, against all reason, the book flows beautifully. It really does. All of my books have been chronological (more or less), with pit stops for side stories and notes. But the structure is pretty basic. So if I’m Styx, playing the same chords in every song, Tom is, mmm, Dylan. Just wonderful.

Big thumbs up.

  • Ronner18

    I finished this book last Sunday, and I agree, this book has no chronological order. The thing that puzzled me is what did Joe say? because I think 90% of this book is all Tom, taken from interviews through out the year. I think the A-Rod story was blown way out of proportion by the NY media. If anything they take more swipes at Carl Pavano. I couldn’t agree more about Carl, because I batted against the whiner in 1993 during the CT State tournament.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life