Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Recent Read Number 18

" The Stranger chuckled, "My name is Applegate,but that's of no importance" he said. "What's important right now at the moment is that punk baseball team you've been rooting for all these years." "
NOTE: This review may contain SPOILERS.
Since my transition time between reading a book and finally getting around to reviewing it is super long and getting longer this will be the next to the last "A Recent Read" review. Future book reviews I will just use the book title. To date I've been reviewing the books in the order that I read them, but I need to crank out a super late review for a book I got from a giveaway and it is far from the "next" book in my recently read queue. On to this book's review.

The Year The Yankees Lost The Pennant by Douglas Wallop

The Year The Yankees Lost The Pennant was written in the mid 1950s when the New York Yankees were all but unstoppable and were the Kings of the baseball diamond. It was first published in 1954. The story is the typical "Faustian bargain" of making a deal with the devil. In this case middle-aged Joe Boyd a diehard Washington Senators fan is tired of seeing his beloved Senators in the basement during the pennant race. One summer evening he meets a Mr. Applegate (aka: the Devil) they talk baseball, The Senators. They agree the team needs a super slugger and a great fielder they end up making a deal that will get the Senators into the pennant race. Applegate turns frumpy middle-aged Joe Boyd into young studly Joe Hardy the super player that the Senators need to pull them from the division cellar and put them on top of those "Damn Yankees".

Yes this is the book that inspired the Broadway musical "Damn Yankees".  The musical keeps the basic gist of the story and leaves out a character or two. One of the characters left out of the musical that I enjoyed reading in the book was a pitcher for the Senators who begins to suspect the truth about young Joe Hardy and tries to expose Joe as a fraud of some kind but fails.

The musical also doesn't really tell you that Lola is not just one of Applegate's subordinates for the fun of it. She had also made a deal with him to get a man to truly fall in love with her.

In 1955 when the musical "Damn Yankees" opened on Broadway a special paper flyer/wrapper (with actress Gwen Verdon in a baseball jersey, stockings, high-heels and not much else) like a cigar band was placed on the book's dust jacket. I think these were only produced in May 1955 for the musical's opening (I haven't found any good specific reliable info on this rare gem). Due to the rarity of this advertisement on the dustcover, which in themselves are somewhat of a rarity now, the copies with it on the cover are very expensive. I would love to get a copy of it, but I don't think I ever will due to the price.

Some of the later printings of the book have updated the year the story takes place from 1958 to 1964.

The Year The Yankees Lost The Pennant by Douglas Wallop 1954 W.W. Norton & Company Inc 250 pages. - *****

No comments: