Books: Damn Yankees

SUMMER OF '49

by David Halberstam

Morrow; 304 pages; $21.95

Even casual baseball fans know the drears of the Boston Red Sox, those goats of fate, a team usually long on talent but short on luck and even minimal strategy from the dugout. The New York Yankees are another legend: power at bat, awesome pitching, managerial smarts to spare.

David Halberstam's engaging account of the 1949 season proves both these mythic profiles to be absolutely accurate. That year the pennant race between the two teams came down to the very last game. Of course the Sox lost it. They had done...

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