The Bookshelf Review: The Little Book of Yankees Evil

January 27, 2014 · 8 comments Brook Zelcer and Jelena Aleksich. Self-published, $17. (

A little book gets a little review.

Zelcer, a New Jersey school teacher, compiles a list of almost 50 crimes and misdemeanors perpetrated by the hated (by some) franchise, either as an organization (when it “steals the design for the famous interlocking NY logo from a police medal) or individual (Ben Chapman going full anti-Semite on the Senators’ Buddy Myer — and Yankees fans — in 1933).

Each event is given a appropriately amusing headline and is accompanied by Aleksich’s catchy infographics-style artwork (art, again? Oy.)

I’m no Yankee fan, by any means, but the Mets are no angels either when it comes down to it. They’ve had their share of racial issues (George Foster) and anti-social behavior (Vince Coleman, Bret Saberhagn, David Cone).

And it’s probably not a New York thing either. I bet a Chicago Cubs devotee could do a similar book about the White Sox (or vice versa). Goodness knows here’s enough political corruption to go around.

Nevertheless, Yankees Evil is a fun and hip offering.

As is becoming the case more and more over the past few years, Zelcer also has a blog associated with his book. At least for the time being. As you might know by visiting my blog for 501 Baseball Books, these things take a lot of care and feeding, but there are only so many hours in the day.


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  • Kevin Glew

    Thanks for the review, Ron. I always enjoy reading your insight.

  • Jeff Brown

    The crazy thing was Myer wasn’t Jewish. Looking forward to picking up the book. I haven’t engaged in any Yankee bashing lately. 😉

  • Ron_Kaplan

    I’m curious where you come by that information, Jeff. Myer is listed in several books as being Jewish, including The Baseball Talmud, Jews and Baseball (Vol. 1), The Big Book of Jewish Baseball, Great Jews in Sports etc.

  • Jeff Brown

    I read a book recently on the ’33 Senators that goes into great detail about the Yankees hatred for Myer. I’ll dig it out tonight and verify, but I kind of recall that they mentioned he was often mistaken as being Jewish, but wasn’t. Also, Wikipedia says he wasn’t Jewish.
    I read so many baseball books during the season that sometimes I get information confused and that could be the case here, but I’ll be glad to verify it later.

  • Jeff Brown

    A quick Google search comes up with a big…maybe. SABR says he was Jewish on his father’s side, While the website “Jew Or Not Jew” lists him as a borderline Jew (for whatever that’s worth).
    I have always been fascinated by baseball’s connection with immigrants (be it Italians, Irish, German, Eastern European Jews, etc…) and tend to gravitate towards reading about their experiences and how most all of their parents thought their sons shouldn’t be wasting their time playing a game.
    The Senators book is called “The Wrecking Crew of ’33” and like I said, I’ll be glad to reread the section on Myer tonight and let you know what it says.

  • Ron_Kaplan

    James writes “Actually Myer may not have been Jewish…” and does not offer a citation for that newspaper item.

    Remember, Myer was playing at a time when there was a lot of anti-Semitism and may wanted to downplay his identity. Strict Jewish law has always dictated that the mother has to be Jewish in order for a child to be so, but a broader acceptance has shifted that attitude for some. According to my sources, as long as one parent is Jewish, and the person does not practice another religion, he may be considered Jewish.

    Otherwise all of those other books — not to mention the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 1992 — are wrong.

  • Jeff Brown

    You are 100% correct. Harry Johnson a longtime ump who wrote “Standing the Gaff” was Jewish, but know one knew until he was near death (he requested a Rabbi on his death bed). He said it was hard enough being an ump with all the verbal abuse from the fans, but if they knew he was Jewish it would’ve been even worse.

    But that aside, I found an online version of the “The Wrecking Crew of ’33” by Gary A. Sarnoff and it talks about Chapman and Myer. He says that Chapman was certainly an anti-semite (among many other things!) and mistook Buddy for being Jewish. Sarnoff sights that Myer’s one tie to Judaism was one great-great-great grandfather. I’ll see if he cites any reference to that claim. If not, I met Gary last year at the Washington Baseball Historical Society’s Winter Meeting. If he’s there again this year I’ll ask him for clarification.

    As always, enjoy your website and take on baseball.

  • Ron_Kaplan

    Thanks, Jeff.

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