Those NY Yankees You Never Heard Of
Kenneth Hogan loves the Yankees and knew that if he was to write a book about them it had to be unique, insightful and original. As a result, the Breezy Point author and retired firefighter penned his latest book about the Yankees from the perspective of players that never quite made it big and spent minimal time with the team.
However, he hoped these players would provide for the average person a sense of what it felt like to wear a Yankee uniform. These players all got a taste of something special just to have it taken right back from them.
In the book titled, “Batting 10th for the Yankees: Recollections of 30 Yankees You May Not Remember,” Hogan interviewed 30 former Yankee players that donned the pinstripes during the 1940s through the championship years of the late 1990s and 2000.
One thing all these players had in common, regardless of the time era in which they played, was that their tenure with the Yankees was short and has faded from most people’s memories just as fast as they were sent back to the minors.
“I came to realize how many great players there are that simply don’t get a chance.” Hogan said. “It’s an honor to wear the pinstripes but for some I talked to it was a curse in some ways.”
For example, a player such as Zeke Bella, who received 10 at bats over five games in September of 1957 for the Yankees. Bella spent 12 years in the minor league system, mostly in the Yankees organization. In each of those 12 years, however, he never once hit below a .300 batting average, a statistic good enough to qualify for most major league teams, just not for the Yankees.
The book, presented in question and answer format with player stats and photos, took Hogan more than two years to research and conduct interviews; something Hogan says wasn’t always easy.
“Finding the players wasn’t always easy. I started with an initial list of 60 players that was dwindled down to 30 when the book was complete,” he said.
Using extensive research conducted prior to the interviews, Hogan wanted to tailor his questions specific to the particular player and his experiences. For a handful of guys who got just a brief taste of pinstripe glory, Hogan felt they all remained humble and grateful for the opportunity, even though it was brief, to play for the Yankees.
“Silence filled the phone line when speaking to several players,” he said. “I could tell some of them began to choke up when asked what it was like to put on a Yankee uniform.”
Hogan’s compilation can be purchased at The Gift Is Love, located on Beach 116 Street. This is Hogan’s fourth published book and third about baseball.