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Ex-Yankees slugger Ron Blomberg’s new book ‘The Captain & Me’ chronicles close friendship with Thurman Munson

NY Daily News

He was supposed to be the Yankees’ next big star, a strapping, golden-haired slugger out of Atlanta blessed with a sweet lefty swing, the gift of gab and a laid-back Southern charm that instantly endeared him to a tough New York crowd.

Ron Blomberg was baseball’s overall No. 1 pick in the 1967 amateur draft, and frustrated Bombers fans were pulling for the power-hitting outfielder to lead the team back to their rightful place atop the American League after years of bad baseball in the Bronx.

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How I became the Yankees’ Jewish star (and made friends with Thurman Munson along the way)

The Forward

This essay has been excerpted from “The Captain & Me: On and Off The Field with Thurman Munson” by Ron Blomberg with Dan Epstein and is printed with the permission of Triumph Books..

I was lucky to get drafted when I did. If the Yankees hadn’t been so bad in 1966, they wouldn’t have had the No. 1 pick for the ’67 draft, and some other team might have drafted me before them. I didn’t want to sign with any other team. If the Yankees hadn’t drafted me, I probably would have gone to UCLA and played basketball for John Wooden, or played football for Bear Bryant at Alabama.

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What to Read This Spring: ‘The Captain & Me’ Review

The Wall Street Journal

I recently threw out a question to my baseball-fan Facebook friends: What was your age of peak fandom? The answers averaged out to 11, which seemed about right.

I started following the New York Yankees in 1961, when I was 7. Roger Maris set the single-season home-run record that year and the Yanks won the World Series, as they did in 1962. They won the pennant the next two years as well, but lost the Series both times, which seemed only sporting.

But then, in ’65, when I hit the magic mark of 11, the bottom fell out. In three successive years, the Yanks finished sixth, tenth and ninth in the (then) 10-team American League. However, as most fans would agree, hardship forges fandom. Who has a great year every year, other than Alabama football and UConn women’s basketball? You need down years (or decades) to really bond with a team.

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