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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Interview With Best-Selling Sports Author Marty Appel

Marty Appel is the author of many books, including most recently the New York Times bestseller Munson. Following his years as the Yankees’ public relations director, he became an Emmy Award–winning television producer and director of Marty Appel Public Relations. Appel lives in New York City and appears frequently on ESPN, HBO, the MLB Network, and the YES Network. His website is www.appelpr.com. Marty was interviewed via email below on his upcoming book:

Marty, what inspired you to write Pinstripe Empire.? As a kid in the '50s, I read Frank Graham's NEW YORK YANKEES, which was the first history of the team.  Almost 70 years have passed since then, and no follow-up has been done.  There have been some beautiful coffee table books, but no true narrative history.  I liked the challenge.   

1.      What is left for fans to discover about a team so rich in history like the New York Yankees? I am always amazed by the small facts Yankee fans enjoy.  When did the national anthem before games begin?  What was the longest running outfield billboard?  What outside vendors went the longest with the team?  What are the legacies of the CBS years?  Who did Jacob Ruppert leave the team to when he died?  So many of these things emerge, and when I found out that Wee Willie Keeler gave hit and run signs by brushing the N for no and the Y for yes on his uniform jersey, I knew there was a lot of long forgotten material here. 

2.      You always provide great anecdotes. How do you go about researching your books? The New York Public Library was great in getting me access to all the old New York newspapers and the full runs of Baseball Magazine, Sporting Life and other sources.  I have a large book collection myself, and it’s a matter of knowing where to hunt.   And hey, can you imagine life without Baseball-Reference.com?

3.      Any advice for a Mets fan like myself? A sleeping giant when they are down, and perhaps now positioned to go forward and plan without the Madoff mess hanging over them.   Terry Collins seems like a really fine manager to me. 

4.      How is sports writing different from other types of writing? I think sports fans bring such a passion with them.  In my neighborhood, growing up, if you said a guy hit .272 and it was .275, you couldn't open your mouth for a year.  That's a tough audience to write for.

5.      How would you handicap the team’s chances this year? If things don't go as planned, they are always poised for mid-season corrections to the roster.   And I read recently that when Kentucky wins the NCAA basketball tournament, the Yankees win the World Series.  Seven straight times.  Pretty good omen if you like those things.

6.      Who are your top 10 Yankees of all time? How about I give your readers a quiz -- go out 20 years from now, 2032, and name the last five Yankees introduced at Old Timers Day. Go backwards from last and start with Jeter and Rivera.    Don't forget Mattingly, Jackson and O'Neill.  It's not easy.  

7.      What advice would you give to someone looking to write a book? Read a lot.  Find a style that seems to mirror your own voice.  That's your comfort level.  Follow that style.  And use spell-check.   


About The Book (Provided By The Publisher):
Love them or hate them, the Yankees are undeniably the world’s most recognizable sports team. Though some would never dare admit it, their history is indelibly intertwined with the history of 20th century America and beyond.

It has been almost 70 years since Frank Graham wrote The New York Yankees and not since then has there been a truly narrative, traditional history of the team. Thankfully historian Marty Appel, the Yankees’ former PR director, definitively updates their storied history in PINSTRIPE EMPIRE: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss (May 8, 2012; Bloomsbury hardcover; ISBN 978-1-60819-492-6; $28.00; 640 pages).  

While the book hits every important historical milestone in the team's history, it is the backstage anecdotes and the personalities of players, managers and executives that make the story great reading. The reader is in the clubhouse as the team finally celebrates its first championship – and in the dugout at Fenway Park when they learn their manager, Miller Huggins, has died. There is Bob Shawkey's bitterness over being fired as manager after one season, and the romp upending tradition produced by Larry MacPhail as his three-year reign as owner ends with a punch-out.  There is the day scout Tom Greenwade first laid eyes on Mickey Mantle. There is Gene Michael pondering trading Mariano Rivera for Felix Fermin to play shortstop instead of Derek Jeter. And all the while in the background is New York City – a character in its own right in the story of this colorful team’s history. 

With a touching special introduction by Frank Graham, Jr., a foreword by Yogi Berra, and an introduction by Bernie Williams, PINSTRIPE EMPIRE is a welcome addition to sports literature.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s leading book publicity firm. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person

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