October Men: Reggie Jackson, George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, and the Yankees' Miraculous Finish in 1978
Publish Date: 2003-05-01
Author: Roger Kahn
The author of the modern classic The Boys of Summer brings his unparalleled narrative gifts to another unforgettable team
On the morning of October 2nd, 1978, the World Champion New York Yankees found themselves tied for first place with the Boston Red Sox. That day these rousing ball clubs would meet at Fenway Park. Both had won 99 games. Only one would win 100.
By any rational standard the Yankees should have been reaching for their golf clubs. They had feuded, barked, and roared all season, until by mid-July they were fourteen games out of first place. Then came the spectacular self-destruction of Billy Martin: The Yankees' fortunes turned and a fractious band of ballplayers finally became a team. They capped one of the most thrilling comebacks in baseball history by defeating the Red Sox that October afternoon in a game that many still remember as the greatest ever played.
Richly lyrical and raffishly funny, October Men weaves the first in-depth account of the legendary season of '78. Transporting us into the midst of the Bronx menagerie, Kahn reviews New York's colorful baseball history; takes us to the clubhouses and hotel bars where the season's dramatics played out; and introduces us to the outsized October Men: imperious George Steinbrenner; force of nature Reggie Jackson; Bucky Dent, whose three-run homer in the playoff left Boston a wash of tears; and others from Bob Lemon to Thurman Munson.
1978 was a troubled year for America, not just for the Yankees, and the team reflected its ills: alcoholism, broken homes, social unrest and racism. But in rising above turmoil, the October Men became an inspiration for the country. Roger Kahn has rendered their story into a classic of American literature.