Tracing the careers of four instrumental players who turned around the Yankees ball club, this book shares behind-the-scenes stories from their early days together in the minors through the 2012 season, and follows them on their majestic ride to the top of the baseball world. At a time when the New York Yankees were in free fall, having failed to win a World Series in 17 years and had not played in one in 14 years—the Bronx Bombers’ longest drought since before the days of Babe Ruth—along came four young players whose powerful impact returned the franchise to its former glory. They were a diverse group from different parts of the globe: Mariano Rivera, a right-handed pitcher from Panama, who was destined to become the all-time record holder in saves and baseball’s greatest closer; Derek Jeter, a shortstop raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, who would become the first Yankee to accumulate 3,000 hits; Jorge Posada, an infielder-turned-catcher from Puerto Rico, who would hit more home runs than any Yankees catcher except the legendary Hall of Famer Yogi Berra; and Andy Pettitte, a left-handed pitcher born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who would win more postseason games than any player in baseball history. Together they formed the “Core Four,” and would go on to play as teammates for 13 seasons during which time they would help the Yankees advance to the postseason 12 times, win the American League pennant seven times, and take home five World Series trophies. This book follows these phenoms from the minor leagues to the present, detailing their significant contributions to a winning major league franchise.
Phil Pepe is the author of more than 50 books on sports, including Few and Chosen Yankees: Defining Yankee Greatness Across the Eras, The Yankees: An Authorized History of the New York Yankees, as well as a biography of Yogi Berra, and collaborations with New York Yankee legends Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, and Whitey Ford. He is a former Yankees beat writer for the New York Daily News and a past president of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He lives in Englewood, New Jersey.
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