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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

RIP Yogi Berra...

(Please see a special editor's note at the end of this piece) 

A new American League manager in the 1950s had opportunity to chat with legendary New York Yankees skipper Casey Stengel and ask him what was necessary to put together a great starting lineup. Stengel's reply: "I never play without my man." After musing about that cryptic statement for a while the new manager realized that Casey's lineup always included Yogi Berra.

Perhaps the greatest catcher in major league history, Lawrence Peter Berra died September 22 at age 90, exactly sixty-nine years to the day he made his debut with the Yankees. Though a three time American League Most Valuable Player, Yogi played often during his career in the shadow of other pinstripe greats such as Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Phil Rizzuto (with whom Berra was once a business partner in a bowling alley).

Realizing the potential of the St. Louis native, Casey Stengel brought back ex-Yankee catching great Bill Dickey to refine Yogi's performance behind the plate. In the late 1950s, Berra would play in the outfield, quietly yielding the first string catcher position to Elston Howard, the first African-American Bronx Bomber.
Yogi Berra was considered by many the most dangerous hitter on the Yankees. Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Joe Black, who faced the Yankees in the World Series, stated he preferred facing Mantle instead of Berra in a pressure situation. Reason? Yogi was known as a "bad ball" hitter, going after that which lingered close inside or way outside the strike zone. When asked his approach to such pitches Berra replied: "To me they looked good."

The highlight of Yogi Berra's catching career was handing the only perfect game in World Series history hurled in 1956 by Don Larsen. The sight of Berra jumping into Larsen's arms after the final strikeout is an indelible image of baseball in the 1950s. Fast forward nearly forty-three years later. On July 18, 1999, "Yogi Berra Day" was held at Yankee Stadium with Larsen and Berra reuniting to throw out the first pitch of that day's game. Yankee hurler David Cone then proceeded to produce a perfect game against the Montreal Expos. To this day, diehard fans of the Yankees are convinced Yogi had "blessed" the ball."

Image result for yogi berra  Image result for yogi berra

Berra played on fourteen pennant winning teams and ten World Champions. As a manager (Yankees in 1963, Mets in the "You Gotta Believe" season of 1973) he won pennants in both leagues. Elected in 1972 to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Yogi began his acceptance speech in classic fashion: "First, I would like to thank everybody who made this day necessary."

Once upon a time many of the best baseball players in America were also the sport's good will ambassadors. As a player, coach, manager and citizen few fit the bill better than Yogi Berra.

Merrick Library salutes his memory and offers the following books about both Yogi and the Yankees:

Berra, Yogi. When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!: inspiration and Wisdom From One of Baseball's Greatest Heroes
Berra, Yogi. Yogi: It Ain't Over.
Ford, Whitey. Few and Chosen: Defining Yankee Greatness Across the Eras.
Murcer, Bobby.Yankee for Life: My 40-Year Journey in Pinstripes.
New York Times. Sultans of Swat: The Four Great Sluggers of the New York Yankees. (Yogi Berra wrote the introduction to this history)
Paper, Lewis J. Perfect: Don Larsen's Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made It Happen.
Posada, Jorge. The Journey Home: My Life in Pinstripes. (Posada was mentored by Berra)'
Stout, Glenn. Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball.
Thorn, John. The Glory Days: New York Baseball 1947-1957.

This post was written by Bob Ludemann a librarian extraordinaire during his 30 year tenure at the Merrick Library. Bob retired this week and while we were sad to see him go, this Blog rues the day even more. Bob's tribute posts have been true gems and I can hardly think of anyone else who could offer such flair, style and grace to the subject at hand.
All the best Bob--we thank you so very much. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

A mix of DVDs available today and this week...!

Last Tango in Halifax Season 3"Last Tango in Halifax: The Complete Season Three: - Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid return as Alan and Celia, reunited and married after a mistake estranged them for fifty years - or was it an error?

Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort"Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort" - family owned and operated for over a century, it is a vivid reminder how the Borscht Belt deeply affected the entertainment, sports and vacation industries in America for all time.

The ConnectionAvailable Tuesday, September 29th:

"The Connection" from France and based on true events - efforts to bring down a major drug ring come to a head in 1975 Marseille - stars Jean Dujardin ("Mobius")

Entourage (DVD)"Entourage" - movie star Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier) and his posse are back as he wants to not only star but direct a film produced by Vincent's former agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven, TV's "Mr. Selfridge") - based on the popular HBO series

FĂ©lix & Meira"Felix and Meira" - from Canada - in the Mile End District of Montreal, lives are about to change as a mourning secular man meets a Hasidic wife (Hadas Yaron, "Fill the Void") - winner of four Whistler Film Festival Awards

I'll See You in My Dreams (DVD)"I'll See You in My Dreams" - bereaved Carol (Blythe Danner) is beginning life again in terms of music, family and romance - all-star supporting cast including Rhea Perlman, Mary Kay Place, Malin Akerman and Sam Elliott
Outlander: Season One - Volume Two
"Outlander: Season One, Volume 2" - the further adventures of Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe, "Son of God"), World War Two combat nurse sent back in time to Scotland in the 1700s where she finds both danger and passion
"Spy" - Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a former teacher turned CIA analyst forced to go undercover and undermine a top arms dealer - also starring Jude Law, Jason Statham and Rose Byrne (Miss McCarthy's co-star in "Bridesmaids") - Note: In the TV sitcom "Mike and Molly," Melissa McCarthy plays a former teacher turned writer.

"Zipper" - federal prosecutor Sam Ellis (Patrick Wilson, "Jack Strong") seems destined for Washington, yet an infidellty has put him on a more destructive road - also starring Lena Headey (TV's "Game of Thrones"), Richard Dretfuss and Dianna Agron (TV's "Glee")

The Farewell Party"The Farewell Party" -  from Israel - a unique, compassionate and unlikely funny story of a group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home who decide to help their terminally ill friend. When rumors of their assistance begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help, and the friends are faced with a life and death dilemma. Starring Ze'ev Revach, Levana Finkelstein and Aliza Rosen. Directed by Tal Granit

Friday, September 25, 2015

"It started as a book! It started as a book, okay Andy?" - Frances McDormand

Producers David Coatesworth, Gary Goetzman, Jane Anderson and Steve Shareshian, 
director Lisa Cholodenko and actors Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins 
pose with their many Emmys for 'Olive Kitteridge.

We had SUCH a great book discussion when we covered 
"Olive Kitteridge" 
it was nice to see Elizabeth Strout 
getting even more validation for her terrific novel. 
As if the 2009 Pulitzer Prize (ahem) wasn't enough.
Read more about Olive's night below.

Books Had A Great Emmys Night, Despite Andy Samberg's Best Efforts

Readers knew how good Olive Kitteridge was before Sunday night. Just sayin'.

Monday, September 21, 2015

New DVDs available 9/22/15...!

Beyond the Mask"Beyond the Mask" - did you know the British East India Trading Company employed hired assassins? One of them, William Reynolds, was cheated out of his job and his plan of revenge may have an effect on a new emerging nation: AMERICA! - cast includes John Rhys-Davies ("Lord of the Rings" Trilogy) and Kara Killmer (TV's "Chicago Fire")

Finding Neighbors"Finding Neighbors" - Michael O'Keefe (TV's "Homeland") stars as Sam, a graphic novelist with writer's block who may find sexual license beyond one fence of his suburban Los Angeles home and friendship behind another

In the Name of My Daughter"In the Name of My Daughter" - from France and based on a controversial true story - it is 1976 in Nice and casino owner Renee LeRoux (Catherine Deneuve) is struggling to keep her establishment afloat while coping with the reappearance of her independent divorcee daughter Agnes

Results"Results" - as if the lives of rival personal trainers and ex-lovers Trevor and Kat are not complicated enough: a new potential client is turning it all upside down! - stars Guy Pearce ("Hateship Loveship"), Cobie Smulders (TV's "How I Met Your Mother"), Kevin Corrigan (TV's "Community") and Giovanni Ribisi ("Selma")

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Happy Sunday...

Football season is upon us whether we like it or not (we do!), 
so let's have a little fun shall we?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Here they aaaaaare... The National Book Award Fiction Longlist!

Image of the book jackets for the 2015 NBA Fiction Longlist

  • Jesse BallA Cure for Suicide 
  • Karen E. BenderRefund: Stories 
  • Bill CleggDid You Ever Have a Family 
  • Angela FlournoyThe Turner House 
  • Lauren GroffFates and Furies 
  • Adam JohnsonFortune Smiles: Stories 
  • T. Geronimo Johnson, Welcome to Braggsville 
  • Edith PearlmanHoneydew 
  • Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life 
  • Nell ZinkMislaid 

  • Finalists announced October 14th
    Ceremony & winners announced November 18th

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2015

    Outta this world...

     Maybe, but I guess 
    we'll all have to find out for ourselves
    on October 2nd 
    (but who's counting?)

    If you didn't read 
    The Martian by Andy Weir 
    you might just want to catch up. 

    Isn't it comforting to know 
    that we have many copies?  

    See you feel better already.