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A Legend in the Making


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About the Author

Richard J. Tofel is president and chief operating officer of the new International Freedom Center, a museum of freedom and a cultural center to be built at the site of the World Trade Center. Formerly assistant publisher of the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Tofel is a graduate of Harvard College, the Harvard Law School, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Since the publication of A Legend in the Making, Mr. Tofel has gone on to write Vanishing Point and Sounding the Trumpet, both published by Ivan R. Dee. He lives in Riverdale, New York.


The Yankees will always remain one of the most popular teams. But the author makes the controversial argument that during the 1930s the Yankees were not thought of as the indisputable dynasty that they ultimately became. They had been repeat winners of World Series titles, but so had other great teams. In 1939, the Yankees, led by the young Joe DiMaggio, really etched a place in the history of baseball. This sweet, heavily anecdotal account will circulate well in library communities populated by Yankee fans. On Deck Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Tofel explains his decision to write about the 1939 Yankees by noting that in that year the team "was not yet the franchise we think of. But they were beginning to get there." It was in 1939 that the Yankees won their fourth straight World Series and eighth overall, firmly cementing their position as the winningest team in baseball history. But 1939 brought more than another championship to the Bronx. It was also the year that Lou Gehrig's consecutive game-playing streak came to an end; by mid-season the star first baseman would be diagnosed with ALS now known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Tofel, assistant to the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, follows the '39 season month by month, charting the hot streaks and slumps of individual players and the team as a whole, while also interweaving new developments regarding Gehrig. Tofel does a splendid job of capturing the different personalities of the '39 Yankees, a team that included such legendary players as a young Joe DiMaggio and catcher Bill Dickey and was coached by Joe McCarthy; all three would be elected to the Hall of Fame. And while Tofel is only partially successful in putting the team in the context of the developments of that eventful year, Yankee fans and baseball historians will undoubtedly enjoy this tale of one year in the building of the Yankee dynasty. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Richard J. Tofel's A Legend in the Making wonderfully chronicles the 1939 Yankee team and Lou Gehrig's final days with the world champions. -- Paul Duke * Baltimore Sun *
Captures the heroics of a great team in its prime...wonderfully done. -- Erich Eichman * The Wall Street Journal *
Hallelujah! Finally, a great book about baseball's greatest team. -- Rob Neyer, basball columnist for and co-author of Baseball Dynasties
Meticulously researched...there isn't a nuance of that club that escapes Tofel's notice. -- Ray Robinson, author of Iron Hourse: Lou Gehrig in His Time
A first-rate job...the best book about a single baseball team in a single year that I have ever read. -- Donald Honig
A captivating read from start to finish. -- John Kuenster, editor, Baseball Digest
Tofel has captured both the legendary Yankees...and their era in an immensely readable narrative that brings the players and their world alive. -- Jules Tygiel
Essential reading for any self-respecting Yankee fan. * Bronx Banter *

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