THE MAGNIFICENT SEASONS: How the Jets, Mets and Knicks Made Sports History and Uplifted a City and the Country

Art Shamsky, Author, Barry Zeman, Author, Barry T. Zemen, With with Barry Zeman. St. Martin's/Dunne $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-33358-4

In 1968–1970, New York fans were treated to an amazing, extended sports season, as the football Jets, baseball Mets and basketball Knicks all won championships during one glorious "harmonic convergence." Only the Knicks had enjoyed anything close to previous glory; the Mets were reliable failures, and the Jets were similarly mediocre. Shamsky, who played for the Mets during their "Amazin' " year, goes beyond the normal jocular jock anecdotes, reminding readers of the lift this trio of wins meant to a New York beleaguered by political upheaval and financial difficulties and grappling with the larger issues of racial unrest and the Vietnam War. He pins a hero to each team, explaining how, for example, Jets legend Joe Namath's swagger and swinging style made waves. The Knicks had a proud but battered leader, Willis Reed, who played with badly aching knees to propel the team into the NBA finals. Then there were the Mets. The lovable losers became cult favorites thanks to their penchant for poor play. But after Gil Hodges, a former Brooklyn Dodger star, took over as manager, they surprised everyone and took the championship. Although Shamsky's prose is clumsy at times, it accurately portrays the sense of what these teams, and those seasons, meant to New York. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
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Paperback - 266 pages - 978-0-312-33253-2
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