Frequently Asked Questions About “The Yankees Index”
How can I purchase the book?
You can find it at TriumphBooks.com or other common online outlets where books are sold. It will also be available in bookstores (both chain and independent) throughout the tri-state area.
How did you come to write a Yankees book?
I had previously proofread and fact-checked books for Tim Kurkjian, Buster Olney and Jayson Stark. Jayson put me in touch with management at Triumph Books, and I told them I would like to write a baseball book someday. They promised to get back in touch.
They kept their promise. I heard from them about 9 months later. They were looking for someone to write a stat/history-based book on the Yankees. I expressed interest and we were able to make a deal.
How long did it take you to do?
I started writing in February 2015 and finished about 10 days ahead of the deadline at the end of September. It took a little while to get going, but I established a writing routine of doing about 90 minutes of work per day if I was working, and anywhere from that long to 6 hours if I wasn’t.
The fun part was looking up tidbits in the newspapers and doing interviews with players and others close to the team. The most challenging part was transcribing those interviews.
How did you decide where to start?
The first chapter I did was on Ron Guidry. That was my “audition,” which thankfully was quickly approved. I did Guidry because I wanted to do something that wasn’t Ruth, DiMaggio or Mattingly, but was still important.
Once I got started, I made a list of everything that I thought should be in the book. The original list probably numbered close to 100. I made it a point to include things that people might not know about, like Slow Joe Doyle’s shutout record. I went page by page through the Elias Book of Baseball Records to try to find things like that.
And then I just picked off the subjects that interested me on that particular day. Some days I was in the mood for Babe Ruth. Some, I was in the mood to call a player.
Who was your favorite interview?
Every interview was fun in its own way, but my two favorites were Dr. Bobby Brown and Aaron Small.
Bobby Brown is 90, but if you talked to him, you’d think he was 60. He was super-sharp and every story he told about the 1950s Yankees checked out. I’d heard him speak at a SABR convention and he was awesome. He was just as good when I got him.
Aaron Small was very humbled by the idea that I wanted to do a chapter on him in a book that was mostly about megastar players like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle and Jeter. He was so nice and his story is so interesting and remarkable.
The most nervous I was for an interview was for Don Mattingly, who I got for about 10 minutes. Funny anecdote: I was driving on a highway when he called. I never talk on the phone when I’m driving, so I pushed the speakerphone button and screamed out: “Mr. Mattingly, Mr. Mattingly….please, please please hold on. I’m pulling off an exit and I’ll be about 30 seconds.”
I thought he was going to hang up, but he didn’t. He said “Sure. Not a problem at all.”
It’s good to know Don Mattingly is a courteous human.
What makes your book distinct?
The official historian of MLB, John Thorn, gave me a great answer for that: It’s a book of new takes on old tales. Just about every Yankees story has been told in some way, shape or form. This book does it a little differently. It uses a combination of numbers and words to illustrate greatness and provide historical context. I also dug up some perspectives that haven’t been shared often.
Additionally, this is a very reader-friendly book: There are a lot of charts, graphs and visuals to complement the writing.
I also think it makes for great bathroom reading. You can read the chapters in whatever order you wish. They’re all short.
How did you decide what to include and what to cut?
I started by writing about just about everything on my list. The book was intended to have a 65,000 word count. My first draft was 85,000 words. So I looked over what I had and cut things that were of lesser significance. But I didn’t eliminate them. I turned them into the short blurbs you’ll see at the end of a lot of chapters.
Are you a Yankees fan?
I am not. But I like baseball, I like stories, I like numbers, and I respect the Yankees history and tradition.
Do you have advice for anyone writing a book?
A couple things:
1) Don’t do it for the money
2)Write about a topic you’re passionate about
3)Come up with either a gameplan or outline that you can stick to over however long you have to write it.
Do you plan to write another book?
I do. The only thing I’ll say is that I think it will be a Mets book.