Tony Lazzeri: Yankees Legend and Baseball Pioneer

Univ. of Nebraska. Apr. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781496216755. $34.95. SPORTS
Well-known Joe DiMaggio biographer Baldassaro has scored a gem with this biography of baseball star Tony Lazzeri (1903–46). Almost a decade ago, while researching DiMaggio, Baldassaro (emeritus, Italian, Univ. of Wisconsin–Milwaukee) found scattered references to Lazzeri, but few books devoted to the athlete’s life and career. Lazzeri, Yankees second baseman for more than a decade, from the mid-1920s through the late 1930s, has often been overlooked and even misrepresented in the folklore surrounding the New York Yankees’ famed “Murderers’ Row” lineup that featured baseball icons Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. After much painstaking research, including scanning numerous newspapers from the time period, Baldassaro has assembled a well-written, thought-provoking work that portrays Lazzeri, who lived with epilepsy, in a new light: as a highly intelligent and strong, yet low-key athlete, and a San Francisco–born, Italian American baseball pioneer and mentor to many players, including DiMaggio.
VERDICT This book adds much new detail and perspective to the history and development of baseball. It is a must-read for baseball fans, particularly fans of the New York Yankees. It belongs in all public libraries, and libraries with a local connection to the subject.
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