Results tagged ‘ Lou Gehrig ’

“Bronx Bombers” brings the Yankees to Broadway

The cast of "Bronx Bombers." (Photo: Joan Marcus)

The cast of “Bronx Bombers.” (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Over the weekend, while the rest of New York was gearing up for a Super Bowl that didn’t quite live up to the hype, I had the pleasure of catching a matinee performance of the new “Bronx Bombers” play at the Circle in the Square theatre. I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the performance very much; moving the Bronx to Broadway is no easy task, but they’ve succeeded.

The play opens in Yogi Berra’s (Peter Scolari) suite at the Boston Sheraton in June 1977, the day after Billy Martin (Keith Nobbs) pulled Reggie Jackson (Francois Battiste) from a nationally televised game against the Red Sox. All of Boston seems to be talking about what happened in the Yankees’ dugout yesterday afternoon, and Yogi is nervously pacing, rattling off the greatest hits from the catalogue of Yogi-isms. He’s hoping he can broker peace between Reggie and Billy before George Steinbrenner gets involved; good luck with that.

Reggie and Billy are at it again. (Photo: James Leynse)

Reggie and Billy are at it again. (Photo: James Leynse)

Thurman Munson (Bill Dawes) is the first player to arrive in the suite, and he’s terrific – the captain is instantly recognizable, cracking wise about his aching knees and sour about his own issues with Reggie. Martin soon enters the room, rage flooding the room in a southern drawl. He’s shading his eyes with dark sunglasses and a cowboy hat, sneaking the occasional airline bottle into his coffee cup. Finally there’s Reggie, dressed head to toe in red polyester swiped from the ’70s. His strut instantly owns the room, fully in the heart of his “magnitude of me” years, months away from hitting the three homers that will cement his legacy in pinstripes.

You’ve become a fly on the wall in the history books. They’ve clearly done a lot of research to incorporate realistic portrayals of the players’ personalities, and if you’re familiar with those back stories, you’ll appreciate many little easter eggs.

The Yankees are falling apart and Yogi is terrified that Steinbrenner will fire Martin, he tells his wife, Carmen (Tracy Shayne). That soon leads Yogi – and us – into a wonderful dream sequence that is a highlight of the play. Forget time and space: imagine if you could have put all of the greatest Yankees legends in the same room. What would they say to each other? How would they interact?

Life is a party for The Babe. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Life is a party for The Babe. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Your imagination runs wild at that possibility, and clearly the writers had a lot of fun with it too.

An all-time lineup joins Yogi and Carmen for dinner — Babe Ruth (C.J. Wilson, playing the fur-coat clad Bambino larger than life), Lou Gehrig (John Wernke, channeling the Iron Horse’s strength and pain), Joe DiMaggio (an aloof, impeccably dressed Chris Henry Coffey), Mickey Mantle (Dawes, spot-on as the muscled-up, hard-living Mick), Elston Howard (Battiste) and even Derek Jeter (Christopher Jackson).

It’s great fun. I won’t spoil the rest for you. If those names mean anything to you, you’ll want to see it for yourself!

“Bronx Bombers” is now in previews at the Circle in the Square Theatre (West 50th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue). For ticket information, visit bronxbombersplay.com or call 212-239-6200 or 800-432-7250. 

 

Jeter & Gehrig: Two captains tied at the top

jeter091010.jpgFrom Anthony DiComo:

They now stand in succession, according to accomplishment: Derek Jeter
and Lou Gehrig up top, followed by Babe Ruth, and then Mickey Mantle.
That is how the Yankees’ all-time hits list reads after Wednesday’s 4-2
win, a game in which Jeter tied Gehrig for the most hits in team
history.

Jeter said Wednesday night that the milestone had been on his mind, and how could it not? It seemed like he was being asked about it every 25 seconds. But now that he’s there:

“It means a lot,” Jeter said. “I’m a Yankees fan, was a Yankees fan
growing up. Coming up through this organization, I know a lot about the
history and what [Gehrig] stood for. Being a captain, he’s probably one
of the classiest people to ever play the game. To be alongside him –
at least for a day in pretty much anything that you can do — to have
your name next to his is quite an accomplishment.”

33g_gehrig.jpgTo consider that Derek Jeter and Lou Gehrig (for at least a day) stand tied at the top of the Yankees’ hit list really is remarkable. One of my favorite interviews in leading up to this milestone was with Jonathan Eig, who wrote the acclaimed 2005 Gehrig biography “Luckiest Man.” Here’s what he had to say about how Gehrig might have felt this morning:

“I think Gehrig would have loved Jeter — personally and
professionally,” Eig said. “Gehrig didn’t have a lot of friends, but I
suspect Jeter’s the kind of guy Lou would have invited home to have
dinner with the folks. And he certainly would have been proud to see
Jeter step in as captain and handle the job so gracefully.”

All-time Yankees hit leaders
No.
Player
Games
Hits
1. Lou Gehrig 2,164 2,721
2. Derek Jeter 2,119 2,721
3. Babe Ruth 2,084 2,518
4. Mickey Mantle 2,401 2,415
5. Bernie Williams 2,076 2,336
6. Joe DiMaggio 1,736 2,214
7. Don Mattingly 1,785 2,153
8. Yogi Berra 2,116 2,148
9. Bill Dickey 1,789 1,969
10. Earle Combs 1,456 1,866

Taking a spin in the wayback machine

Larsen_Perfect_Game.jpgHad some time to think on the 4 train this morning, which is never a good thing …

It’s Old-Timer’s Day here at Yankee Stadium, the 63rd annual edition and the first since the Yankees crossed the street. That’s got everyone in a little bit of a nostalgic mood, and I got to pondering this question — if Doc Brown rolled the DeLorean up to your front door this morning and offered to take you to any one game you’d want to see, where would you go?

Seriously, I gave this a lot of thought for about four subway stops. And here’s what I’ve decided — I couldn’t pick just one game. I’ll break them down by stadiums, because I think that’s the only way you can do it.

If it’s the pre-renovation Yankee Stadium, it’s an extremely tough call, but I think I’m heading to October 1956 to see Don Larsen’s perfect game. I’d love to see Lou Gehrig’s speech, but there’s a certain aura about the 1950s that would be cool to experience.

Post-renovation, I think being in the Stadium for Reggie Jackson’s three homers in 1977 would have been incredible — just the grit and excitement of the ‘Bronx is Burning’ years, seeing the rough Bronx neighborhood and the passion that team inspired. A lot of you were probably there for it, I’d imagine. What a fun team that must have been.  

And as long as we’re talking New York baseball, I caught Game 6 of the 1986 World Series recently on TV and — not even for the Bill Buckner error, but just that whole amazing 10th inning in general — that would get my choice for Shea Stadium games. What say you?

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