‘Now Pitching For the Yankees’ – Sample Marty Appel’s New Book!

Anyone who read Pinstripe Empire will know that Marty Appel is NOT a baseball egghead or stuffy scholar.

He writes like a real fan. This is someone who has been front and center for countless moments in Yankees history. Nevertheless, he doesn’t write down to readers. He warms up his baseball time machine and takes us along to relive his adventures.

That’s why I’m yelling STOP THE PRESSES here at the blog for the chance to bring you news of Marty’s newest: Now Pitching for the Yankees.

Why tell you about the book, when I can show you? Here’s an excerpt from his newest work. Click the link and hear about the brave man who ended Oscar Gamble’s afro.

Fans of any team will love Marty’s latest. Ever imagined what being a team spokesman is like? He shares all. Even if this year’s club is struggling, this Yankees book is a can’t-miss winner.

Coming Monday (at last)! Who connected off Phil Niekro and Satchel Paige?

‘Pinstripe Empire’ Author Marty Appel Shares His New York Yankee Heritage

All that’s missing from the great Pinstripe Empire book is more of author Marty Appel. Ever the historian, Marty left himself out of his team history. However, the story of how an eager college kid could become part of a fabled franchise is worth another book. In today’s blog, Marty shares that story:

Q: You got your first Yankees job with a letter to public relations director Bob Fishel. We love good baseball letters. What did you write — and did you write other teams?

A: As I recall, it was just a one-pager explaining that I was editor of my college newspaper, a great baseball fan, had won a Yankees Scorecard contest the year before, and I was seeking a summer doing pretty much doing anything. I didn’t use the word intern. It was the only team I wrote to.

 
Q: I’ve read that you started in the front office by handling Mickey Mantle’s fan mail?

A: That was true; technically it was fan mail for the team, but Mick’s was 95% of it. This was 1968 – people didn’t realize we had a second “future Hall of Famer” on the roster, so Bobby Cox, our third baseman, got very little. Most of the letters just asked for an autographed baseball, and few included SASEs. The Yankees paid the postage, and most people got printed material back – a signature on a picture of Mick, folded.

Q: Did you collect autographs as a kid? Did you ever send fan mail?

A: I was never an autograph collector, although that first summer I worked there, I did get a few of people I came to know well. Ruben Amaro, Rocky Colavito, Horace Clarke, Ralph Houk, Frank Crosetti…..but I’m still not much of a collector.

Q: During your PR stint, fans and collectors saw you recognize ALL the members of the organization in publications and otherwise. What other fan-friendly measures are you proudest of?

A: I think I did recognize that people like Bob Sheppard and Pete Sheehy were important figures – I put Pete in the team photo, I put Bob in the yearbook. I did some other little things that still exist in baseball over my time in the game. For instance, media guides that show players year-by-year records – I put All Star Games as showing where played, as opposed to saying, “American, American, American, American….” under team. And for post-season series, I put “opponent” rather than “New York, New York, New York, New York,” to make it easier to say, “oh, THAT series.” Some of it has reverted back to old ways, but it was a nice innovation when I did it. One thing I never managed to make standard was my attempt to list “Raised” where it says Place of Birth, and Residence. A lot of guys were born in a city, moved at age 3, and their real hometowns are never shown. If fans knew where guys grew up, went to high school, etc., it would add new interest geographically.

Q: Did you see fan mail and the hobby market change during your work with the Yankees?

A: Fan mail never waned until this current age of electronic mail, and of course, mail being forwarded to “services” offering items for sale. It was always high in the ’70s and ’80s. It would increase as star players came in. Bobby Murcer got a lot of mail when he arrived.

One thing that sort of faded during my time there was “fan clubs.” SPORT Magazine used to list some you could join. I was in the Bobby Richardson Fan Club when I was young. Membership cards, newsletters, exclusive photos. It probably cost $3 a year, although I don’t remember for sure. Those were fun.

Q: Were you ever on a card, even by accident? When collectors find you, do they ask for autographs on things besides your books?

A: Occasionally I would be in the background of a photo as a team spokesman. I’m in a few of the shots at Catfish Hunter’s signing. Recently someone sent me a photo from a Baseball Writers’ Dinner Journal which had a picture of Ron Blomberg, me, and our wives seated at a table. I was happy to sign, but I am always a little bemused by why anyone would want my signature. In a book, I do understand that; I’ve gotten authors to sign books. I’m always happy to sign those; proud, in fact.

Q: For your latest book, how did you work with current and former Yankees?

8. Pinstripe wasn’t meant as an oral history, so I didn’t set out to get long form interviews. If there was an event that I was writing about, and I could find a player involved in that event, call him and get a fresh quote, that would be a mission for the day. But at 620 pages, it was long enough without adding interviews. Finding long buried quotes was good too, like many from people who were on the field for Babe Ruth’s “called shot.” I snuck in a few gems though. Roy White gave me the name of the street gang he was a member of in Compton, California. I said, “street gang? You? What were you, the recording secretary?”

Q: I met Hank Bauer at a Portland card show in the late 1980s. I asked him questions about clubhouse dynamics at a reception. The next day, the show organizer said Bauer was worried I was writing a book! Did you have former Yankees worried about what you knew — and might share?

A: Because I had nice personal relationships with almost everyone I spoke to, and because they DID know I was writing a book, I didn’t have any problems such as you describe with Hank Bauer. But I think you wound up better than the guy in the men’s room at the Copa who encountered Bauer there in ’57.

Q: What’s the next baseball book by Marty Appel?

A: Not ready to announce the next book project yet, hopefully soon

Thank you, Marty. Baseball history is a better place with you in it!

Coming Monday: The Tigers lose a “Champ.”

Addicted to Sharpie Pens?

Here’s an increasingly-common collector comment:

“I asked for it to be signed in ballpoint. He signed it in Sharpie. Argh!!!”

You,  the hobbyist, are thinking about what looks good.

The autographer signer? What FEELS good!

On the surface, the act seems crazy. A retiree signing a vintage item with a pen not yet invented when the card was first issued.

Well, I’m guessing that all of us have at least three stories of when a ballpoint pen failed us. It dried up. It wouldn’t write on a certain surface. It froze! After paying a whole nickel for that blasted pen. Wait. It was free. Or, I borrowed it from the bank?

Anyway…

Sharpies have spoiled us. I think the most thoughtful old-timers are embarrased when they’ve carved their name on a card, only to see that the ink pen hasn’t cooperated.

One other difference: Sharpies they have a thick barrel that feels good to arthritic hands of an 80-something. They’re easier to grip.

That’s the biggest reason “sign in ink pen” requests get ignored.

Coming Friday: The Yankee adventures of “Pinstripe Empire” author Marty Appel!

Pinstripe Empire Author Knows The Hobby

Marty Appel is more than an author. He’s part of New York Yankees history.

Therefore, his masterful history of the team is a fascinating story within the story. As I devoured his new Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees From Before The Base to After the Boss (Bloomsbury, $28), I began to discover Appel’s deep roots in the Yankee mythology.

He’s restrained in not writing a “Me and Other Yankees” type book. Remember, coach Yogi Berra depended on Appel, a boy wonder team executive, for daily gossip about the team’s inner workings before each game.

Readers learn that Appel’s long career as the team’s public relations director meant more than paychecks. He tells of a young fan in 1965 who got a letter to the editor published in The Sporting News. “Why is everyone giving up on the Yankees? They always come through in the end. They will be fine.” Appel was that fan.

Appel salutes everyone in Yankees history. He unearthed a 1969 letter from a 1912 batboy (whose mother washed the team‘s uniforms). He writes admiringly of the unknown janitor who salvaged team files when new owners took over in the 1940s, done initially to save the autographs of famous names on endorsed checks.

Although Appel doesn’t write about collecting team memorabilia, he has lots of hobby-related tidbits in his text. He writes of the Yankee Stadium box seat design, noting that curved-back seats bought by collectors after the 1973 renovation dated back to 1946.

Think that’s great? Look for a two-paragraph tribute to Manny’s Baseball Land. If you bought a souvenir outside the ballpark into the 1970s, chances are it originated through Manny’s. On page 394, Appel notes just how cheap Yankee Stadium relics went for in the park’s renovation. Got five empty Winston packs and $5.75? A box seat is yours!

Collectors will love the author’s willingness to capture hobby lore. The reason Yankees fans know the faces of clubhouse man Pete Sheehy (who could forge autographs of Yankee stars when needed) and PA announcer Bob Sheppard was because Appel made sure the men were included in team photos and the yearbook.

He isn’t above raising an eyebrow about team icons. When Mickey Mantle couldn’t find his famed #7 jersey for Old-Timers Day, team exec Appel used some tape to alter Gene Michael’s #17. Appel recounts seeing coach Frank Crosetti climb into the Yankee Stadium stands before games, seeing that concessionaires return foul balls. And, on page 382, Appel tells which Yankees player on a winter caravan tour asks him where to buy good marijuana!

No detail is too small for Appel’s historic eye. He weaves decades together with invisible thread. Do you remember Seinfeld character George Costanza’s front office job with the Yankees? The job wasn’t as made-up as it sounded.Check out page 203. Appel knows who really held the low-level post from generations past.

Along with the yearly summaries of each season, the book tells of the demise of announcer Mel Allen. Appel shares that the announcer answered ALL of his fan mail.

When Babe Ruth visited Cooperstown for his 1939 Hall of Fame enshrinement, Appel resurrected the ideal quote from the legend besieged by signature seekers.

“I didn’t know there were so many people who didn’t have my autograph!”

Appel needed more than 600 pages to document all the wonders he was part of with the Yankees. This book is a noble start. He’s been a student of team history all his life. Read this finely-sculpted love letter to his Bronx Bombers, and you’ll be sure that all-star storyteller Appel is still a fan.

Coming Monday: Thanking a former Yankee on the comeback trail!

Baseball Books: Coming Attractions

As you’ve seen, I’m seeking good books.

Here are three awaiting reviews from me:

The Juju Rules, by Hart Seely (a great look at being a rabid Yankees fan!)

Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees, From Before The Babe To After the Boss, by Marty Appel

Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest For Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, by R.A. Dickey

I’m reading each title for hobby content. Are there autograph insights? How are fans treated? What anecdotes would mean the most to a collector?

Most of all, is the book honest? Is it a fun title to read?

Publishers and publicists: If you have a current baseball title, let me know.

Coming Wednesday: Memories from former Cardinal and Phillie Jim Lindeman

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