A 16 year-old boy with a passion for sports and a love for the most decorated team in professional sports history begins a journal. Not a journal about his life but rather one regarding the thing he loves the most – the New York Yankees.
The journal began before the boy ever knew what the 1978 Yankees would even accomplish. It starts in the relative quiet and cold of the off season – November 1977, to be precise.
The Yankees had just won their first World Series Championship since 1962 – the longest drought ever for Yankees (until the 18 year gap between 1978 and 1996, of course.) It was the first time the 16 year-old had seen the Yankees carry a championship banner.
That 1978 season was a special one. It started off well in the off-season with the Yankees aquiring ace relief pitcher Goose Gossage. The Bombers started off decently, but fell 14 games behind the Boston Red Sox by mid-July.
With all hope seeminly lost and the feud between George Steinbrenner, Reggie Jackson and manager Billy Martin bubbling over and consuming the team, Martin suddenly quit – opening the door for Bob Lemon to take over and transform the team into World Series Champions.
They ended up tying the Red Sox in the standings, creating a need for a one game playoff to determine who would represent the AL East in the ALCS. The Yankees managed to win 5-4 – off of a great outing by both Ron Guidry and Gossage plus homers by Reggie Jackson and the famous homer by Bucky Dent.
They then went on to win the ALCS 3-1 against the Kansas City Royals (Note: at that time, the playoffs were best of 5 series) and set up a rematch of the 1977 World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After losing the first two games at Dodger Stadium, the Yankees swept the next four – three at Yankee Stadium and the final one back at Dodger Stadium – to win their second-straight championship and become the first team ever to come back from a 2-0 deficit in the World Series.
The 16 year-old boy was Paul Keck. He got most of his news from the main source of time – newspapers – and from listening to games on the radio and TV. The journal is comprehensive – Keck did not miss a single day that year and recorded every important piece of Yankee information he could find.
For a person who was age 15+ in 1978 (or 45+ now), this book will be great. I would compare it to looking through an old photo album. As you turn the pages, you see old pictures that you forgot about – memories lost through time. A person who followed the Yankees at that time would love this book because it would bring back the same feelings of recalling old memories. In fact, many of the “memories” you can’t find from online sources today.
Someone my age (25), would not appreciate the book as much – I wasn’t born at the time and had no idea of all the little twists and turns that made the 1978 season so unique until I read this book. Unfortunately, I will never be able to get the same things out of this bok that someone older might, but I can relate to it – I was 13 when the yankees won their first World Series of my lifetime – 1996.
I recommend you read it – but understand first what you are getting into. The book is a journal and is simply that. Keck says in his forward that he made very little attempt to change the entries – he wanted to keep it as much like the original journal as possible and I commend him for that. It wouldn’t be the same if he had made alterations.
Being that the book is a journal, you will see blurbs of information, but very little elaboration. You will know what happened, what date it happened but very little insight into why it happened. But don’t fault Keck for that – the point of the book was not to discuss the 1978 season – it was to relive it.
The book is available on Amazon.com for $13.99- search Paul Keck.