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The Tigers and Yankees in '61 (McFarland, 2016)
This is a unique two-team history of the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees in the memorable 1961 season. Starting faster, the Tigers held first place for more than half the season, until the Yankees caught up in late July. After sweeping a climatic three-game series at Yankee Stadium in the first days of September, the Bronx Bombers proceeded to win the pennant for the 11th time in 13 seasons.
The Yankees’ saga is better known, especially the exciting home run duel between Roger Maris, who slugged a record 61 homers, and Mickey Mantle, who was injured and finished with a personal-best 54. Equally important, Whitey Ford produced his best season, going 25-4. Ford was back up by remarkable relief from lefty Luis Arroyo, who went 15-5 out of the bullpen while saving a league-high 29 games.
For the Tigers, outstanding seasons were contributed by the surprising Norm Cash, who led the league with a sizzling .361 mark while slugging 41 homers and producing 132 RBI. Rocky Colavito hit .290 with 45 home runs and 140 RBI. Future Hall-of Famer Al Kaline batted .324 with a team-high 41 doubles while playing an excellent right field. Right-hander Frank Lary, the “Yankee-Killer,” posted a career-high mark of 23-9 with a league-best 22 complete games in ‘61. Lesser-known heroes such as shortstops Chico Fernandez and rookie Dick McAuliffe, relievers Terry Fox and Phil Regan, catchers Dick Brown and Mike Roarke, rookie third baseman Steve Boros, and veteran outfielder Charlie Maxwell all made stellar contributions.
The Tigers and Yankees in ‘61 compares the players, starting with rookie managers Ralph Houk of the Yankees and Bob Scheffing of the Tigers. Readers can enjoy the standout seasons of stars like Mantle and Kaline, Colavito and Maris, Bobby Richardson and Jake Wood, and “unsung heroes” such as the Yankees’ Hector Lopez and the Tigers’ Larry Osborne.
Writing for the journal Nine, Jan Finkel said: Sargent “tells a consistently engrossing story in lively prose.” One reader posted on Amazon: "Thank you Jim Sargent for the best book on the exciting 1961 season!”
Cost on Amazon: $35 paper, $9.99 kindle
Cost from author: $30 postpaid