"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Lost Episodes

One Yankeeography you are not likely to ever see is: 1974 and 1975, “The Shea Years.” On the surface those years are not remembered because the Yankees lacked real star power. Not that they didn’t have any stars–Murcer, Catfish, Bonds–but they didn’t have a lot of them. Mostly, they had grinders like White, Munson, Nettles, and Sweet Lou. It wasn’t until Billy Martin took over as skipper mid-way through the ’75 season that the Yankees got some real star power.

Still, they were both interesting seasons. Playing at Shea Stadium cost Murcer his career in New York; ironically–and for different reasons–it would eventually cost his replacement, Elliot Maddux, his career in pinstripes as well. In 1974, “The Band on the Run” Yankees made an entertaining run at the pennant. That was the year Nixon resigned as President and George Steinbrenner was convicted of making illegal campaign contributions. Sparky Lyle played virtually the entire season without having signed a new contract. He could have become Andy Messersmith but he settled on a new deal just as the leaves started to turn.

Though the team took a step back the following year when injuries just killed them, Gabe Paul kept busy building a winner, and the Yankees left the wildnerness of Queens poised for success. Dick Williams, Catfish, the Chambliss trade, oh, there were lots of compelling things about the Shea Stadium Yankees. Anyone out there remember seeing them play in Queens? If so, do tell…

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver