The Kansas City A’s & The Wrong Half of the Yankees
(Maple Street Press, 2007).
During the second half of the 1950s, folks derisively referred to the Kansas City A’s as a “farm team” of the New York Yankees. Trades between the two—often lopsided—were commonplace, and it seemed every time the Yankees needed that one final piece for yet another pennant run, the A’s filled the gap.
While most knew that A’s owner Arnold Johnson was somewhat affiliated with Yankee owners Dan Topping and Del Webb through his joint ownership of Yankee Stadium, The Kansas City A’s and the Wrong Half of the Yankees digs into the deeper business entanglements among the three. In addition to the questionable trades and his earlier purchase of “The House that Ruth Built,” Johnson’s purchase of the then–Philadelphia A’s shows signs of Yankees clout.
Through periodicals, letters, conversations with contemporary players and executives, and an analysis of player records, author Jeff Katz has compiled a chronological account of how, through the hands of a friend and business partner, the Yankees controlled two of the eight American League teams during the second half of the 1950s.
"THE WRONG HALF OF THE YANKEES will show you that long before “Star Wars” and before Lucchino’s generation was old enough to realize it, a propeller-driven “Evil Empire” was already controlling the baseball universe. Dig in and let Jeff Katz be your guide." Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald
“Monumental Shots,” a short piece on statues at baseball parks.
Play It Again
Two pieces: one a “what if?” history on Sandy Koufax, another, a few thoguhts on Tom Seaver.
"The best piece in Bresnahan's collection is a six-page cross between short story and speculative history, written by Jeff Katz. Katz imagines a Sandy Koufax, patched up good as new by 21st-century surgical techniques. Alter-Sandy pitches on well into the 1970s, and ends up altering not only his own destiny but that of several of the other great what-ifs of the game. Only in Katz's prose do any of the distinguished panelists have much fun with what should have been a much more entertaining task: to imagine futures that stray from reality but not plausibility. It's harder than it looks, but Katz pulls it off with brio." - lection (Tim Morris, University of Texas)