|About the Book|
It had already been one of the most remarkable years in baseball history, but the moment Bucky Dents seemingly harmless fly ball cleared the Green Monster at Fenway Park on the afternoon of October 2, the 1978 season became, what some people stillMoreIt had already been one of the most remarkable years in baseball history, but the moment Bucky Dents seemingly harmless fly ball cleared the Green Monster at Fenway Park on the afternoon of October 2, the 1978 season became, what some people still consider today, the most dramatic in the sports glorious lineage.The Yankees were the defending World Series champion, having won the 1977 championship despite a season of titanic bickering, primarily surrounding ego maniac Reggie Jackson, grumpy Thurman Munson, irascible manager Billy Martin, and bombastic owner George Steinbrenner. With diamond-studded rings on their fingers, there was hope that things would quiet down at Yankee Stadium in 1978, but a slow start, coupled with a remarkably sizzling pace set by the Red Sox, had the Bronx burning once again.Meanwhile, over in Boston, the perpetually heartbreaking Red Sox seemed primed to end their supposed curse, and a World Series title - the first since 1918 - appeared imminent. With a stacked lineup led by Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Fred Lynn and Carl Yastrzemski, plus an improved pitching staff that had been bolstered by the additions of Mike Torrez and Dennis Eckersley, the Red Sox roared out of the gate and by the middle of July, the Yankees were 14 games behind their fierce rival.And then the tide began to turn. Steinbrenner fired Martin and replaced him with Bob Lemon, and the Yankees began to click just as the Red Sox began to crack. The Yankees caught and passed Boston in near miraculous fashion, but appropriately, the two teams wound up dead even on the final day of the regular season, necessitating a one-game playoff to determine the American League East division champion.On that never-to-be-forgotten day at Fenway, Dents home run gave the Yankees the lead, and they held off a late charge by the Red Sox to win the game. That kick-started their surge to what became a second consecutive World Series title, and left the Red Sox and their tortured fans wallowing in grief, as well as disbelief.In The Ultimate Season, author Sal Maiorana takes his readers on an exciting day-by-day journey through that amazing baseball epoch, and he has created three fictional characters who tell the story in 21st-century blog style fashion.Zack Lassiter is a 43-year-old New York City-born sports writer who is the AL East correspondent for the weekly magazine, The Baseball Times. Zacks responsibility is covering the divisions seven teams, though in 1978, for obvious reasons, he spent much of his time chronicling the exploits of the Yankees and Red Sox.Maria Martinez is a 19-year-old native of the Bronx, the latest in a long line of Martinez Yankee fans dating back to her grandfather who migrated from Puerto Rico to New York in the early 1920s and became a fan of the Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig Yankees. Maria is a nursing student at New York University as well as a Yankee Stadium vendor who just may be the most passionate Yankee fan in her demographic.Finally, there is Jimmy OReilly, a ruddy-faced, beer-bellied, 58-year-old bartender who is the proprietor of OReillys Pourhouse in the heart of South Boston. Since taking over the joint after the death of his father in 1960, Jimmy has been pouring drinks to his regular band of patrons and extolling the virtues of everything in Boston sports, with a special soft spot for his beloved Red Sox.Through the eyes of Zack, Maria and Jimmy, readers will be transported back to 1978, and thrust right into the middle of all the drama and excitement of a baseball season that captivated a nation at a time when baseball was still this country’s national pastime.