Appel: The baseball book that changed my life

From SABR member Marty Appel at The National Pastime Museum on November 18, 2015:

If you are a baseball fan, and stay for life, there are childhood impressions that linger. And they are beautiful moments.

For me, it goes back to 1956, the first full season of my fandom. I had become a New York Yankees fan the autumn before. Living in Brooklyn then, I witnessed people dancing in the street after the Dodgers won their first world championship. I decided to take up the cause of the underdog—somehow rooting for the losers felt right—and a Yankees fan in Brooklyn was born. Little did I appreciate the real history between the Yankees and Dodgers, the Yankees having won all five previous World Series showdowns between the two. I suppose you could say my whole life has been a mistake!

In 1956 we moved to Queens. It was the first year I collected Topps baseball cards, and my mother bought me a 1956 Yankees Yearbook at the corner luncheonette. It was the “unofficial” version, published by Jay Publishing, not by the Yankees. It didn’t matter.

On a triangular patch of grass surrounded by benches and pavement, I first felt the joy of opening a pack of cards and finding a Mickey Mantle. This was where 65th Place met 62nd Street (Queens can be confusing). And on one of these benches I read my first baseball book.

The book was called Lou Gehrig: A Quiet Hero. I am sure that I heard Mel Allen talk about Gehrig on the WPIX broadcasts, so I had some familiarity with him. The book was from the Maspeth branch of the New York Public Library. It was well worn and probably the source for countless book reports at P.S. 78.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 18, 2015. Last Updated: November 18, 2015.