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New York Yankee September Pasts (From Vault)

TALKIN' YANKEES: Quips, Quotes, Asides, Philosophy and More (Part I)

Harvey Frommer

They are baseball's greatest franchise, a team of legends, ghosts, marker moments, odd characters. So much has been written about them and the talk stream stretches out through many decades. Herewith, a small sampling of some of the more memorable observations, enjoy.

Mantle Maris 1960On the Yankees

"I would rather beat the Yankees regularly than pitch a no-hit game." - Bob Feller

"It was a death struggle every day being a Yankee ­ you either won or you lost. There was no second place. Half of us were nuts by the end of a season." - Jerry Coleman

"When I was a player and we would play the Yankees in spring training, even though the game didn't mean anything, it was a special day." - Joe Torre

"I wish I'd never see them again. I wish they'd disappear from the league." Pedro Martinez, Boston Red Sox

"Hating the Yankees is as American as pizza pie and cheating on your income tax." - Columnist Mike Royko

"Hating the Yankees isn't part of my act. It is one of those exquisite times when life and art are in perfect conjunction." - Bill Veeck

"Going north from spring training, we'd pass through small towns and people would be out there early in the morning as the train went by, waving to us. I don't know how they got the word ­ but we'd be having our breakfast in the diner and they'd be there." - Jerry Coleman

"You kind of took it for granted around the Yankees that there was always going to be baseball in October." - Whitey Ford

"This isn't just a ball club! This is Murderers Row!" ­ sportswriter Arthur Robinson, 1927

"There has never been anything like it. Even as these lines are batted out on the office typewriter, youths dash out of the AP and UP ticker room every two or three minutes shouting, 'Ruth hit one! Gehrig hit another one!' " - sportswriter Paul Gallico

"I was known as a Yankee killer. My best year against them was 1953. I beat them five times and shut them out four times. You just played a little harder against them." - Mel Parnell

"Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel." - Joe E. Lewis

"Rooting for the Yankees is like owning a yacht." - Jimmy Cannon

"The majority of American males put themselves to sleep by striking out the batting order of the New York Yankees." - James Thurber

"They have, what, 26 World Series titles? But that doesn't mean they are going to beat us. We deserve to be here as much as they do. I'm not trying to get Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig or Mickey Mantle out. I'm trying to get the Yankees' lineup out today." - Curt Schilling of Arizona, before Game One, 2001 World Series

"Somebody told me that we beat the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth! I still don't believe it!" - Mark Grace, 2001 World Series

"When my Yankee career is over I'll play anywhere, but I'm positive that I'll never find a team quite like the Yankees." -Bernie Williams

"These are your Yankees. They leave their hearts on the field for you." - Joe Torre

Yankee Stadium

"When I come here, it's like standing on hallowed ground." ­Cal Ripken

"It was so large and the fans there were so rabid. It was amazing for me to go out there and stand on the mound and look around and realize that was the place that Ruth built." -Bob Feller

"Most guys won't admit it, but it can be an intimidating thing your first few times there. All the lore of the stadium and the mystique can be difficult to deal with." - Al Leiter

"It is the most magical ballpark ever built. Playing there as a Yankee was like being in the Marines, the feeling that you were in a special ballpark, special town, special uniform, special history." ­ Phil Linz

"When I went to the American League as an umpire, I had never been to a major league ballpark . This was 1963. You went out of the umpire's dressing room and down the hallway and up the ramp and stepped out onto the field. Here's this kid from Little Rock, Arkansas standing in New York City in Yankee Stadium. It was a pretty incredible thing." - Bill Valentine

"I loved Yankee Stadium because I was left-handed. I usually faced mostly right-handed hitting teams there. The fence in centerfield was 461 feet away, and left centerfield was 457 feet. As long as you kept the hitters from hitting the ball down the line, it was a great park to pitch in." - Whitey Ford

"Being from New York, it meant a lot for me to play in my hometown. I knew every nook and cranny there, and we had the fans behind us. Back then, you had the monuments in the outfield and that was unbelievable." - Phil Rizzuto

"The cathedral of baseball." - David Cone

"Baseball heaven." - Randy Johnson

"The stadium is a part of the Yankees and the Yankees are a part of the stadium. That will never change." - Chuck Knoblauch

"I was in the right place at the right time." -- Mel Allen

Ed Barrow

"You ought to know that you're making a mistake." ­ to Red Sox owner Harry Frazee on the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees

Yogi BerraYogi Berra

"Congratulations on breaking my record last night. I always thought the record would stand until it was broken." ­to Johnny Bench who broke his record for career home runs by a catcher.

"I didn't say the things I said "

"The other teams could make trouble for us if they win."

"If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else."

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"He must have made that before he died." --on a Steve McQueen movie, 1982

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."

"It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."

"The future ain't what it used to be."

"A home opener is always exciting, no matter if it's home or on the road."

"I take a two hour nap between 1PM and 3PM."

"90% of the putts that are short don't go in."

"Baseball is 90-percent mental. The other half is physical."

"You have to give 100 percent in the first half of the game. If that isn't enough, in the second half, you have to give what is left."

"Nobody goes there any more. It's too crowded."

"It gets late out there early," referring to the bad sun conditions in left field at the stadium.

"He is a big clog in their machine."

"I've been with the Yankees 17 years, watching games and learning. You can see a lot by observing."

"Baseball is the champ of them all. Like somebody said, the pay is good and the hours are short."

"All pitchers are liars and crybabies."

"Bill Dickey learned me all his experience."

"I want to thank you for making this day necessary." -- to fans in hometown St. Louis for giving him a day in 1947 at Sportsmen's Park.

"I've known this guy so long. Can't he spell my name right?" -- after receiving a check that said "Pay to the order of Bearer"

"I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house."

"If the people don't want to come out to the ballpark, nobody's going to stop them."

"Pair off in threes."

"The other teams could make trouble for us if they win." -- as Yankee manager

"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours."

"We have very deep depth!"

"It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much."

When asked what time it is -- "Do you mean now?"

When asked what he would do if he found a million dollars - "If the guy was poor, I'd give it back"

When asked by a waitress how many pieces she should cut his pizza into -- "Four. I don't think I could eat eight."

When asked why the Yankees lost the 1960 series to Pittsburgh-- "We made too many wrong mistakes."

When told by Yankee manager Bucky Harris to think about what was being pitched to him -- "Think? How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?"

When told Ernest Hemmingway was a great writer -- "Yeah, for what paper?"

When asked what his cap size was at the beginning of spring training -- "I don't know, I'm not in shape.""

"It's deja vu all over again."

"It ain't over until it's over."

On Yogi Berra

"You can't compare me to my father, our similarities are different." - Dale Berra

"They say he's funny. Well, he has a lovely wife and family, a beautiful home, money in the bank, and he plays golf with millionaires. What's funny about that?" - Casey Stengel

"He'd fall in a sewer and come up with a gold watch." - Casey Stengel

"Where he was especially dangerous was in the final two innings. You couldn't pitch to him. He had no weaknesses. He was the most dangerous hitter ever." ­Jerry Coleman

"Not only was he lucky, he was never wrong." ­ Whitey Ford

"Yogi's face is his fortune." Mike Stanley

About the author

2012 marks Harvey Frommer's 37th consecutive year of writing sports books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 41 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history was published in 2008. Frommer's newest work is REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION (Abrams).


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Get autographed, discounted copies of books directly from the author @ He is available for speaking engagements. FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.


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